Chew on this: fingernails more important than you think

By Ted Blankenship | December 3, 2019

If you’re like me, you’re tired of impeachment talk, the 2020 election and even more unpleasant stuff going on in Washington. So I thought it would be nice to talk about something of interest to everyone with hands – fingernails. 

Don’t laugh. Well, you can chuckle a little if you like, but fingernails are important. They separate primates (that includes us humans) from the other mammals. The mammals include cats and dogs, cows and sheep and other animals big and small, some of which have claws. It goes without saying that horses and cows don’t actually have claws. That’s why they don’t climb trees. 

They have hooves, but they’re made of the same material as claws and fingernails, namely keratin, a fibrous protein that is most of the material that makes up hair, nails, feathers, horns, claws, hooves and the outer layer of skin. 

Without this stuff, you wouldn’t be able to hold yourself together because you wouldn’t have any skin. But on the bright side, you wouldn’t have to worry about going bald because even if you had hair, you’d have no skin to hold it on your head. 

You may wonder how I came up with this subject. 

Well, I bought some stuff at a store the other day and as I was checking out, I noticed the young cashier’s nails. Her fingers were dazzling pieces of tiny art. 

Long, pointy and a glittery red, blue, green, and some colors I’m not familiar with, they appeared fragile enough to break off immediately if she were to punch even one key on the cash register. 

I used a credit card. I didn’t want to ruin a nail by handing her real money. 

Fancy nails aren’t new. The Incas painted eagles on theirs, and even then it was old stuff. Nail polish originated in China as early as 3000 BC. The ingredients included beeswax, egg whites, gelatin and vegetable dyes. 

Today, some nail polishes have food in them. Nails Inc. recently came up with a brand of polish with kale in it. They claim it will smooth and brighten nails. 

I have a selling point for them that I’ll be happy to part with for nothing: “Buy our polish with kale in it. You’ll never bite your nails again.”

All in all, our fingernails are pretty handy. They’re good for scratching chigger bites, digging for clams if you know where there are any, they protect the ends of our fingers, and they help us pick thing off (like bugs) and to hold onto things we pick up. 

I hate to tell you, though, that the tips of your fingers are covered by something dead. Your nails grow under the skin and what emerges to form your nails is actually dead. 

That’s not a problem, but the acrylic nails that make a fashion statement can be hazardous to your health—they’re flammable. Get them too close to a cigarette and they can catch fire and the wearer can sustain a serious burn. 

So, if you want to make a statement with designer nails, you may want to keep a fire extinguisher handy. 

Contact Ted Blankenship at