Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Tao of Broken, Extremely Long Fingernails

On Saturday the BBC brought us this vertiginous story:

An American woman listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the world's longest fingernails has had them broken off in a car crash.

Lee Redmond from Salt Lake City, Utah, had not cut her nails since 1979. Their combined length was more than 28ft (8.5m), with the longest nail - on her right thumb - measuring 2ft 11in (89cm), Guinness said.

….Her nails were "damaged beyond repair", according to the Guinness World Records website. The organisation said she had been a "fantastic ambassador" for them, and that her nails had been "a fundamental part of her life and unique character".

What is your reaction to the story of the lady who was, until very recently, Lee Redmond, Fingernail World Record Holder from Utah, and is now just plain Lee Redmond from Utah?

Select one or more from the following:

A) A burst of cruel laughter
B) A wave of sympathy, possibly accompanied by a sense of guilt for your initial reaction (A)
C) A gloomy philosophical reverie about what it means to be a human and the quest for meaning and identity in a vast, anonymous universe
D) A calm acceptance of the implacability of fate

My analysis would be as follows:

A is a natural human reaction, so don’t worry about it… unless you didn’t subsequently make it to B, in which case you are probably a psychopath. If you went straight from A to C then you are a narcissist and if straight from A to D then you might well be an Elberry, which is unusual.

The healthiest sequence would therefore be A then B then C. Making that last leap from C to D will require years of Zen training.

The final stage E is, of course, Enlightenment. For this lesson we thank you, former world record fingernail lady.


Kev said...

I'm inclined to be relieved on her behalf. I would think maintaining such a record for so long must feel like being trapped by it, stuck in something you had started years ago with your reasons for beginning lost in the mists of time but too committed and defined by it to be able to quit. You could choose to see this story as that of a women liberated and restored the use of her hands after 30 years.

Brit said...

I like the cut of your jib, Kev.

Anonymous said...

I always knew I was a narcissist. But I find it hard to feel sympathy for 65-year-old women who insist on dressing like they're still sixteen.

Anonymous said...

i was too beat for A. To quote from LA Confidential: "What's the matter, Wendell, you're not your usual cruel self."

i went straight to shaking my head at the things people get up to.

i seem to recall that, back in the day, Chinese high-ranking bureaucrats had long fingernails, too long to actually use their hands for anything - it was a sign of status, saying "we do not do manual work, as you can see from the length of our hideous fucking fingernails."

Katie M. said...

I just went straight to (C). But then that's my usual reaction to most everything. Sigh.

What were we talking about again?

Brit said...

Your guess is as good as mine, Katie M.

Hey Skipper said...

I'm trying to figure out where on your list an eyebrow arched in amazement and "WTF?" fit.

Kev wins the thread.