Hello. My name is Murray and I am an addict.
I bite my nails. Actually, just one nail. The one on my left pinky.
I used to bite all my nails. For the first 28 years of my life I was a constant nail biter. My parents threatened to put hot peppers on my nails to discourage the habit. Even after reaching adulthood, even after marriage, I persisted in the pernicious practice.
But the first day on the job at the company where I would work for the next 32 years, I stopped cold turkey. I had gone to lunch with a few of my new co-workers and felt self-conscious they would think lesser of me if they saw my fingers. It’s now 37 years later, and only in the last several weeks has my smallest digit become tasty again.
That’s not quite right. I don’t have a craving for fingernail. I started biting the nail again because I didn’t have my trusty nail clipper with me and I needed to trim it. One bite led to another and before I knew it I had eaten away half my nail. Each time the nail begins to grow back I wind up picking at it and eating it again. I’ve tried wrapping it in band-aids but they fall off, exposing the delicate, delectable nail.
If this all sounds crazy, it is. It’s an addiction, after all, with no equivalent of Alcoholics Anonymous, Odyssey House or 12-step program to counsel me through my compulsion, though I did just google Nail Biters Anonymous and sure enough, other desperate souls have publicly humiliated themselves by revealing their nasty habit.
I’m confident one of these days I will overcome it. I did, after all, do it once before, for all 10 digits. Until then, if you see me, please don’t stare at my left pinky.
There’s Hope for America: Gilda and I went to Croton Point Park to sit along the Hudson River Saturday afternoon. There was a large gathering of Pakistani families, many of the women dressed in traditional garb.
A hundred yards away from their parents, some two dozen boys played football. No, I do not mean football as Pakistanis normally call soccer. I mean American football. They were playing an intense game of two-hand touch football.
Take that, those of you who predict soccer will supplant the great American sport.
No Lines: One of the pleasures of retirement is my ability to shop stores such as Costco during the week when lines are shorter than on weekends. But two weeks ago, as we were making our way up to Maine for a week-long family vacation, Gilda and I had to stop at the Nashua, NH, Costco Saturday afternoon during peak shopping hours to stock up on supplies.
The parking lot was pretty full, yet when the time came to check out, we were pleasantly surprised to find two registers completely devoid of customers and just one or two shoppers deep at the other lanes. It was obvious we were not in Westchester.
Freak of Nature: My ophthalmologist basically told me I am a freak of nature. He had no explanation as to why my long distance vision is as good without glasses as with corrective lenses, as I reported to you in mid-July.
He did caution me, however, that if a policeman stopped me I better have my eyeglasses handy.
Another Sign of Our Enlightened Time: Back at Costco in New Rochelle I read the following on a Puma long sleeved, light weight Tee Shirt care label: “Wash this when dirty.”