Wednesday, February 10, 2010


'I've broken my thump', wrote Sylvester, the German recording engineer, from his skiing holiday.

This is my oddball right thumb; some people call this deformity 'hammer thumb'. It makes playing guitar delicately difficult, or clumsily crap.
I met another woman with a thumb like this on a Community Leadership course: we became friends and she told me these big toe-like thumbs are the result of poor nutrition in the womb.
The thumb on the left hand is similar, though not so bad; both thumbs are seriously double-jointed. I used to draw on the left thumb, making it into a nun with a cowl and a puzzled expression on its nail-face; Climb Ev'ry Mountain, I thought.

Once, a Nun came to school to do work experience when I was in the fifth form.
She asked me to pin a chart up on the blackboard with drawing pins. Blackboards are made of hard wood which is resistant to pins, and it took a huge amount of effort to shove the pin into the wood; my thumb locked and then suddenly flipped into double-jointed mode, and the drawing-pin rapidly reversed itself and embedded itself in the pad of the offending digit.
'F*CK', I yelled at max teenage volume.
The Nun stiffened and her pale eyelashes quivered.
After a moment of silent shock, she carried on with the lesson as though nothing at all had happened; scared, the class followed suit.I wouldn't have believed it myself, but the little bead of blood on my thumb told me otherwise after I'd sloped back to my desk.
Last thing of all about thumbs? Well, I'm just watching Nigel Slater's cookery show on BBC 1, and I could swear I spotted a couple of human thumbs in the Allotment Supper they were all tucking into.
I wonder if they noticed?


frayedattheedge said...

I can't play the guitar with normal thumbs!!

Brother Tobias said...

It doesn't look that unlike mine. Perhaps we're genetically linked by a McDougall or Lyon thumb. I need to go and look at other people's thumbs and see if I'm different.

Anonymous said...

both of mine are like that!