For some unfathomable reason, I have recently been plagued by a hangnail epidemic. And I can’t figure out what’s causing it.
Up until recently, hangnails were extremely rare occurrences for me. And yet just this past week I’ve had three of them, two on the fingers of one hand and one on a finger on the other.
What’s up with that? My nail clipping technique hasn’t changed in decades and I diligently keep my fingernails neatly trimmed because I hate when they get long enough to clack against the keys on my laptop’s keyboard or when they get frayed as I pull up my zipper after taking a leak. (Sorry. Is that TMI?)
Pesky little tears
What the hell is a hangnail anyway? Why do these nail strands separate themselves from the main nail bed? Are they akin to rebellious teenagers who break all the behavioral norms just to spite their parents? Didn’t I do a good job raising my fingernails?
I Googled “hangnail” to learn that hangnails are not even nails. Nope. One site described them “as pesky little skin tears.” They manifest themselves when a sliver of skin splits away from the nail bed. And they can be very annoying and often quite painful when they snag on something. Pesky indeed.
The worst thing you can do, according to hangnail experts, is to pull them off with your teeth, which is exactly how I decided to deal with two of mine. It hurt like hell and blood was involved. I couldn’t grab the third with my teeth so I borrowed a pair of my wife’s tweezers and yanked it out that way. More pain and more blood.
Most experts agree that the best way to get rid of hangnails is to soak them in warm water for five minutes and then use cuticle scissors to cut them as close to the base of the hangnail as possible.
Well fuck that. That’s way too much work. And what the hell are “cuticle scissors”? I think I’ll continue to use my teeth to chew the damn hangnail off, despite the pain and blood.
After all, why did God give us teeth if not to chew off our goddam hangnails?