It’s Not The “New Normal:” It’s A Time To Stop Chewing My Fingernails For Good!


Years and brown hair ago I used to have a cheesy mustache similar to that which porn actors from every decade used to sport.

I want to be clear:  I have never been a porn actor.

I had a nervous habit of plucking that mustache until it would have bald spots in it that would then require me to shave it off — and grow it back again.

It was a vicious cycle.

Of course, at the height of my cigarette smoking days I also consumed four packs of them a day until I mercifully found myself fortunate to kick the habit almost 21 years ago.

It’s been a quarter of a century since I had a mustache.  And, while the current state of our quarantine has me threatening a reprisal of the hideous spot of hair above my upper lip, I am determined to resist the urge to have a repeat performance of that chapter of my life.

And then there are my fingernails.

I am admitting publicly for the first time ever that I chew my fingernails.

That is, up until the COVID-19 virus interrupted my content nail chomping life!

It’s been a horrible habit of mine since as long as I can remember.

Probably the same habit of when I would grunt for no reason and annoy my Mother so much she would say “Erich, you’re grunting again.”

I still do that today.  Especially when I am anxious and nervous.

With COVID-19 I also do it more often.  I do it to test out whether I have a sore throat.

And, if I think I have one I grunt even more.  Which, of course — you guessed it — makes my throat hurt and then causes me to think I have been infected with COVID-19.

I’m the guy who reads the side effects label on over-the-counter drugs and invariably gets them.

Before a pill even gets into my mouth I am drowsy or irritable or nervous or itchy or have a stomach ache or convinced I may be having a seizure.

It’s not the most pleasant side of my otherwise completely in control of myself personality.

Well, except for the chewing of my fingernails.

I have been terrified to chew them and as if to mock me they are growing like the beanstalk Jack so unexpectedly grew into the sky.

I look at them longingly.  They look perfect for chewing.  I know I shouldn’t.  I know I can’t.

For now.

I am learning how to trim my fingernails with a clipper.  Clearly a skill I should have learned years ago.

In fact, as I type right now my fingernails are hitting the keyboard before the tips of my finger and causing me an additional level of stress I don’t need in my life right now.

The other day I delivered some masks to a friend and jokingly told him to wash his hands and not touch his face.

His response, “…hardest part of this is that I have discovered that I LOVE to touch my face….because I do it all the time without thinking about it.”

My problem exactly when it comes to my fingernail chewing.

Except I knew I LOVED to chew my fingernails!

Now I can’t.

Yes, I know there are posts about what the first thing people are going to do when this vile interruption of our life is over with.

Some are going to eat so much at every restaurant they like until they burst.  Some are going to go hug everybody they know.  Others are going to find a crowded store and shop until they drop.

Not me.

I’m going to pour myself a drink.  Turn up some soothing music. Turn down the lights.

And slowly and lovingly chew every single fingernail until it’s down to the nub.

Don’t judge me.



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