Mar 1, 2013

Fat and fingernails

I begin -- weakly but necessarily  -- with two disclaimers.

The first part of this report is based wholly on a Fox News item, so a certain little journalistic two-step is required, to wit: I believe I have never before performed such a questionable act, and I pledge not to repeat the offense.

The second part is less immoral but still academically suspect. It is snippet of my personal life which happened prior to the invention of the internet. It can not be documented, hence is outside the realm of scholarly,  peer-reviewed history. In other words, you'll just have to trust me on this one, Sidney.


Fox jumped on the story of a little  Massachusetts school kid whose parents received a letter from his school. The lad failed to study for his Body Mass Index test and was found officially obese which, manifestly, he is not.

The report explained that the local school blamed the silly fat letter on  mandate from Mass Bureau of Nutrition, Body Mass, Child Traumatizaton, and Parental Guilt. Both mother and son reacted calmly to the teevee questions, much more so than appropriate. While one rather objects to an elementary kid saying "bull shit,"  these are the times that try kids' souls, and I, at least, would have forgiven him  the vulgarity and applauded his concise expression of absolute truth.

The mother -- who mostly opined that the BMI was not a great metric for determining appropriate weight  --  should have said it, of course, like my very own sainted mother almost did long ago.


The state sent around a public health nurse to examine all the tykes in the realm, including my fellow kindergarten matriculants at Carpenter school. I passed handily -- clean ears, no head lice, no unnatural suppurations of disgusting bodily fluids.

Except for my fingernails. Mom always trimmed them. (Even in those days the family consensus was that I was not to be trusted with dangerous instruments.) She clipped them in a curve following the natural line of the finger tips. The nurse was horrified. and entered a sharp remark on the take-home health form (cc: school files; state Bureau of Meddling files; and, for all I know, Harry S. Truman.) It said that responsible mothers trimmed nails straight across.

You must understand that my mom's reaction to utter nonsense was nearly always a resigned sigh. "Hell" was not in her vocabulary; "heck" and darn" were suspect. But this one got to her and I recall pretty well: "If she doesn't like the way I cut your fingernails she can just kiss my (pause) A-double-Ess." 

Well said, Mom.


1 comment:

Lisa said...

I can hear her saying that: Angry, but whispering the letters out, scandalized at herself. Made my day.