A few years back I opened a Christmas present from my mom. It was one of those smaller gifts that all the men on the same level branch of the family tree get one of. I’m pretty sure my sister’s then-husband had already opened his, but the truth is that nobody ever really noticed or cared much about what that guy was doing so by the time I started tearing into the wrapping paper the element of surprise was still very much intact. I noted the shape and flexibility of the gift before I dug in so I wasn’t surprised to find a soft cover book inside. What did surprise me was the kind of book it was. “Uncle John’s Ahh-Inspiring Bathroom Reader. Huh. Thanks?” is pretty close to my reply. In my mind I’m thinking “Why would my mom think I need something like this to read when I’m taking a dump? I’m a little more cultured than this…Mom, when I crap I read Smithsonian Magazine”.
Well, the book sat around and collected dust for a while and then, one fateful day, I was hit with that urge. That time when your body is telling you it’s time to find some porcelain and find it now. The book must have been near me because when the urge hits like this it’s time to grab whatever is nearby and just run like hell.
So I found myself sitting on the terlet with this book in my hands and I was amazed at how perfectly the item fit the need. I mean this book was jam packed with trivia galore. It had brief news stories, quirky stories, the history of items and words and phrases. It is hundreds of pages of mostly useless, usually fascinating information broken down into 2-5 minute reading time chunks. Brilliant! Soon enough I was collecting as many of these books as I could get my hands on…unfortunately because of the retail prices I buy them all used and usually at thrift stores at that. Now I have an impressive collection and a head full of more forgotten trivia than you could imagine.
So one of the recurring themes is a section Uncle John does on the origin of phrases. I have a phrase that I’ve never really understood the meaning of, maybe some of you know. People often say “I know that like the back of my hand.” The only use for that phrase I have ever really found is changing it to “I know that like I know the palm of my hand” to get a cheap laugh every now and then. Why would someone know the back of their hand intimately? The only way I can really see the entire thing is by extending my arm out and flaying my fingers like a woman who has just painted her nails. It’s a little too effeminate a pose for me.
So that got me to thinking…what’s up with the back of my hand and how does it relate to anything?
Now, we all have our body parts that annoy us. For me, my hands have never been one (or two) of those. I have always wished my ears weren’t so big and that my teeth were straighter and that my belly was thinner, but I’ve always been cool with my mitts…I’m hoping this little study doesn’t ruin that for me.
One thing that affects my hands is that I bite my finger nails. I have done this since I was very young and I’m nearly certain that the teeth I use to bite them are actually worn flat because of it. I don’t bite my nails because I’m nervous, I just do it out of habit…that and an OCD compulsion to do it once they reach a certain length. Let’s examine my fingers one by one:
Also, I have hairy feet, but that’s another story…