What have you done, you monster? You freak? The miracle of life presented you with perpetually growing nails, and you couldn’t stop your self-cannibalizing urges until you had nothing but ten bloody stumps. What once grew into clean, orderly fingertips has become a grotesque ruin of your own doing. You know it’s disgusting, that you should stop, that the pleasure and purpose is long gone. But all you really want is one more bite.

Secretly, you’d do some depraved shit for a minute with a perfectly long nail. That’s because you have no self-control, and your fingers are visual reminders. You’ve bitten your nails so much that you’re now in cuticle debt, settling with just tearing slivers of flesh instead. It’s not even an enjoyable, but for a week now you’ve just gnawed off your own tender skin. The only thing saving your toes is a complete lack of flexibility.

There is no stopping this habit. The only way you’ll ever have regular looking nails is if your arms are physically restrained from your mouth. Or someone knocks all your teeth out. Or you’re placed in a medically induced coma. But even if a miracle occurs and you manage to momentarily have fingers that look like they weren’t mauled by a small rodent, it wouldn’t last long. Maybe a week tops. Deep down you know the truth: All it takes is one idle moment and you’ll munch those nails all the way down. By the end of the night, you’ll look at your ragged hangnails while you chew on the remnants the way a villainous cowboy munches on a toothpick.

You’ve devolved. You were once a fully functional human, but now you live in constant fear that someone will ask you to open a can. They’ll watch in disgust as you struggle to dig one of your fleshy digits under the tab. They’ll see a person who winces in pain whenever they tap a table too hard. They’ll know that you’re trying your hardest to not jam your fingers in your mouth at that very moment.

At best you’re a tyrant. In ancient Rome, the senate had a name for what you’re attempting. Damnatio Memoriae. They would try to erase their foes from history, striking their names off the record and deface any statues. The goal of all of this was to forever delete an individual from memory, hoping that future generations would never even knew their enemies existed. This is what you’re doing to your index finger. And it’s wrong.

But honestly, you don’t even know another way. Whenever you try and imagine what your hands would look like if you didn’t bite them, the closest you can get is the bad dude from Big Trouble in Little China. Maybe it’s time to try and stop, to give your fingers a break, to see if you can go a week without chewing your fingers apart. It’s not like it could get any worse.

– Ian "Salmon Season" Golding (@iggolding)

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