Friday, October 14, 2011
Years ago when I started doing surgery in Winnipeg I remember sitting across at lunch from a very prominent internist,a stellar academic from a noted Winnipeg family. He was consulting that day and I was taken aback at his dirty fingernails! As I think back now, I can't really remember much about him, but the first image that always comes to mind is his fingernails. What an unworthy thought! If one toils in the soil to any extent the fingernails will always be dirty; there will be scabs and sores around your hands and calluses in palmar areas. If one is pinching, stopping or fine weeding one will have stains as well. Certainly pruning vegetables will leave stains that challenge the scrub brush. Nails will be cracked and uneven! It has always been a challenge to metamorphize from grub to social butterfly in a single day. Don't tell me to wear gloves. No fine garden or potting work can be done with gloves. They are a refuge for the dilettante! I had a physician that scrubbed with me every fortnight for some time. He and I enjoyed gardening conversations when we scrubbed. He said to me how much he enjoyed working with me every second week. I was flattered that he appeared to compliment my skill which I erroneously thought he enjoyed. "Yes", he said, " The work allows me to get my fingernails really clean every fortnight." Ha! Trumped by the scrub sink. When I was working at surgery it took me half an hour scraping and bristling before a scrub to get my fingernails clean. Now that I'm retired there is no letup because in addition to "cleanliness is next to Godliness", there is the job of serving communion as a lay congregant to 100 odd communicants in full view of my fingernails. There is no respite!