If Only We Had 42 Cuticles

April 24, 2009 by Jen

I have a feeling that the answer to all of life’s riddles (I can hear someone spontaneously bursting out with a “42”! but you’re wrong so keep reading) is somehow mysteriously imbued in the skin that acts as a picture frame for your fingernails. 
Also known as your cuticles.
How do I know this?  Well, let me enlighten you.
Start a difficult conversation. Get in a fight. Give someone a lecture. Watch a movie or play that asks tough questions. Sit in church and listen to a sermon. Now look around – how many people are studying their hand as if in art class, forming a sign language “a” except looser, or in extreme cases, inching that hand closer and closer to their mouth to surreptitiously gnaw on it?
They have discovered the secret: the answer to all of life’s riddles is there, right in your cuticles. 
And somehow this answer can only be internalized only by intense staring, like basilisk eyes except not deadly, or by ingestion. That must be why we chew our cuticles and (in a misplaced and misinformed effort) our fingernails. 
It’s sort of like the connection in Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass between a child and his/her daemon (soul?). Affect one, you affect the other. Get rid of that dangling cuticle, and the guilt triggered by the words your pastor is reading will go away. Smooth that ragged edge of a nail, and your parents will be proud of you. Stare at the half moon shape long enough, and you will have worth. 
When you think about it that way, all the world needs is more manicures and pedicures. Turns out the folks at AIG had it right. It’s all so simple, really.
Or is it?

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