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Jewish Journal

The Finger

by Ilana Angel

February 27, 2012 | 5:13 pm

Our hands are truly miraculous, and like most of the miracles that make up the human body, I take them, and all the things they do for me, for granted.  Fingers are very special and so, in honor of fingers, and the hands they are attached to, I would like to share a few stories with you in the form of a blog.

—I broke a nail.  Normally not a big deal, but I broke it so low on my nail bed that I thought I would pass out from the pain.  I was truly amazed by how much it hurt.  The throbbing was instant and the piece of my nail that hung there mocking me for an hour was almost too much to handle.

I felt nauseous, dizzy, and thought I would faint.  It took 45 minutes for me to cut off the nail because each time I got close to cutting it, I would panic and was unable to do it.  I finally clipped the broken piece off and it took a solid 3 days for it to stop hurting enough for me to put a band-aid on it.

I have had a child, and when I was younger spent a prolonged period of time in the hospital, and I cannot remember those things hurting as much as this.  Granted I have a low threshold for pain, but this was intense.  Who knew that breaking a nail would knock me out more than having a baby?

—I am a fan of flipping the bird.  I kept a tally for one week and I presented my middle finger to complete strangers a total of 5 times, all of which were while in the car. Interesting to note that of the 5 times I did it, only one of my recipients actually saw it.  That’s nice, but not satisfying.  If someone flips me the bird while I am driving, I always smile.  Not to make fun of them, but because I understand that the simple act of giving someone the finger makes you feel better.  I smile as a “good for you”.  Not sure how I would feel if it happened outside my car, but flipping the bird while driving is okay by me.

—I like clapping.  It can be joyous, or a show of sarcasm, both of which I like.  I was sitting in a meeting last week and read an email while I was listening to the speaker.  Before I could stop myself, I found myself clapping as I read great news from a friend, and the meeting suddenly stopped.  A client was talking about her upcoming massive move, and as she was talking about how stressed out she was, I started to clap.  While awkward, it was very funny.  Clapping is a great thing and we should do it more often.  While I need to time it a bit better, spontaneous clapping is fun.

—I am a very touchy feely person.  I like to hug, hold hands, and believe in the power of touch.  How we express ourselves through touch is telling. I used to love to hold hands with my son. We would walk hand in hand all the time. As he got older that became less often. He is now 16 and it never happens.  He is much taller than me and I find myself taking his arm on occasion.  It is a lovely thing and has replaced our hand holding.  If we are walking at night he will always stand on the street side of the sidewalk and take my arm to guide or support me.  It’s a gesture that I value very much.

We were out and about this weekend in downtown LA, and as we went to cross the street, my son reached his hand back and took mine as we ran across the street together.  He never gave it any thought I’m sure, but it was such a wonderful thing that it took all my strength not to cry. It was not about holding his hand, as much as it was that he took control to protect me.  He would have done it with his girlfriend, wife, or child, and it was a lovely glimpse into the man he has become.  I treasure the moment and to be honest, holding his hand was wonderful.

—I’m not one to eat with my hands.  I have even been known to cut a slice of pizza on occasion.  I’m not sure why, but even before I became a vegetatian, I was never a finger licking kind of girl. This weekend I met a young lady who reminded me that sometimes you’ve just got let things go.  While out for breakfast I met a girl named Kelsey.  She was almost 2 and delicious.  She was out with her mom and sister, and she was eating eggs with her hands.  By eating of course I mean she was decorating the floor and her hair with egg.  It was hilarious.

She was at the table next to mine and I was watching this little girl while her mother looked in shock, trying to catch as much egg as she could.  At one point I asked Kelsey if she was loving her eggs and she responded by reaching across and offering me some with her fingers.  I leaned over and pretended to take a bite.  I told her they were the best eggs I ever had and she was beaming as if she herself had made the eggs.  Watching Kelsey eat with her hands reminded me that sometimes you’ve got to let loose and enjoy your food.  No fork, just fingers.

—I’m a huge fan of making the peace sign with my fingers.  I do it several times everyday.  If I am crossing a street and someone stops, I flash a peace sign.  If someone lets me into traffic, or I let someone else in, I flash a peace sign.  It is nice, matters to people, and has better results than flipping the bird.  I gave a peace sign to a woman driving the other day.  She smiled and waved thank you.  As she pulled in front of me I saw she had a yellow ribbon bumper sticker and I smiled.  We get so caught up in living our lives, that we forget there are people risking their lives.  Flash a peace sign today. You will feel good.

I like my fingers.  They happen to be short and not particularly elegant, but they are wonderful.  They show love, frustration, joy, impatience, and peace.  The feed me, and allow me to comfort.  Look at your hands.  Their prints define you and how you use them defines you also.  What a remarkable tool they are.

When I was young I knew a kid who was born with no hands, and I find myself thinking about him today.  As I look in amazement at my hands, and feel profound gratitude for these 10 fingers that do so much, I am holding them together, saying a prayer of thanks, and keeping the faith.

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