Sunday, October 7, 2012



Ivaan's thumbnails were always a sight to behold.  His thumbs were an important resource in his arsenal of tools for making and polishing jewellery, and his thumbnails came in handy for protecting gemstones while he was working on the polishing machine.   That meant that his thumbnails were usually quite battered, with fairly deep ridges running lengthwise, and they were often blackened from jewellery polishing compound.  It was easy to tell when he'd been in hospital, because following some time away from the polishing machine his nails became well tended once again.  Back at work, the inevitable would happen, and once again his thumbnails would look like a chewed boot.
The nephews were perennially fascinated by his thumbnails, and this is where one of Ivaan's urban legends originated.  He told the nephews that his thumbnails so closely resembled product bar codes that he had scanned them at Loblaws one day and a price of 79 cents came up on the cash register.
"That's what I'm worth, 79 cents!", he'd tell the nephews, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes.  Needless to say, the nephews were anxious to see this in action, so much of Ivaan's attention, when they were visiting, was focused on finding distractions so the nephews would not insist on being taken to Loblaws to scan their uncle.
I just remembered this a few minutes ago, when looking at my own thumbnails.  I try to be careful, but it doesn't much matter if you wear protective gloves or not when you're polishing jewellery.  It's going to get ugly. But, Ivaan, in case you are wondering, to the nephews and to me, you are worth a whole lot more than 79 cents.

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