Cuticle

Cuticle (n) the epidermis that surrounds the edges of the fingernail or toenail.

Being healthy is a good thing.

There’s nothing particularly insightful in that statement. But may I follow with this thought?

Being worried about your health is the Suck Master of Life.

This is why I am careful not to watch too many shows on Discovery Channel or programs about bizarre medical procedures—because in no time at all, I am perfectly capable of sprouting some of the symptoms, with actual visual evidence.

I’m not normally paranoid but am willing to be flexible.

In other words, I can go pretty nuts wondering if I’m nuts.

I can get a queasy stomach just thinking about indigestion.

And I can sprout a headache at the mere mention of a brain tumor.

Yet, knowing this about myself, I accidentally watched a program on the danger signs of disease that can be found in our cuticles and fingernails.

  • What happens when they’re yellow?
  • Should we run to the doctor if they’re brittle?
  • Do white spots on your nails mean you have a calcium deficiency?

After all, human beings and other primates are the only animals who have nails.

Watching this particular documentary, I learned that men’s nails grow faster than women’s. Worse, the nail on one finger grow at a different speed than another. (It’s a little unnerving to realize that even my fingernails are competitive with each other.)

It was reassuring to learn that typing is good for your nails—except that I don’t do typing anymore. I have someone who takes my dictation and achieves the job in one-tenth the time.

Water is very helpful for healthy nails, and cuticles are there because they protect the tips of our fingers from infection.

One of the things that made me giggle was that they had a two-minute expose about the danger of cutting your nails in the dark.

Yet, when it was all said and done—and I calmed down my internal gag reflex—I realized one thing:

My nails probably won’t kill me.

And, as Kelly Clarkson once said, what doesn’t kill you helps you open packages.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Acrophobia

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter AAcrophobia: (n.) extreme or irrational fear of heights

It has to be that scene in the movie, Cliffhanger.

THAT particular vision–a woman suspended in mid-air, thousands of feet above the earth, only prevented from falling by a hand extended to her, as the glove on her fingers gradually begins to slip away and you realize she is about to tumble to her death.

If you are able to watch that scene without turning away, you might be free of acrophobia. Matter of fact, it would be an excellent way to diagnose the condition.

That was when I realized that I must be a bit acrophobic. For me, that little piece of the movie was unwatchable. It’s not so much that I’m afraid of falling or even hitting the rocks below. Certainly my body would grant me the mercy of a heart attack before I reached the “stoneful” end. It’s just the idea of having to prepare for my upcoming plummet by pausing for a moment to think about it, terrorizing myself.

I don’t like to stand too near the edge of a cliff. Now, I don’t remember feeling this way as a youngster, even though growing up in Ohio, there were not many a precipice. But somewhere along the line I became leery, and even queasy, about gazing off the edge of some high-mounted place, to the tiny confines below.

I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of whatsoever. I just don’t like to be around people who want to flaunt their “bravery on the edge.” You know what I mean–those folks who stand on one foot on the ledge of a building. Or the guy who walks across the rope over the Grand Canyon, while praying. I’m sure I would be praying, too, but I think I would like to put my supplications to less of a test.

Acrophobia is real. But I do recall, if I am not incorrect, that there are two fears we are born with: the fear of abandonment and a fear of falling.

So maybe those people who DON’T have acrophobia are aliens … and should be taken to Area 51 for further study.