Nail biting? Don’t cry for us Argentina!

18 Oct

To help celebrate my birthday I gave up biting my nails. 64years of chomping had reduced my slender fingers to unsightly, mutant stubs. I managed to conceal my carnivorous self-abuse with a range of tactics: unusual grip of cutlery, hands in pockets, fists balled when others were close. Only close observers and nearest and dearest – or manicurists – spotted my phalangeassaultism. It’s a common enough ailment. Check out hands on glasses at your local pub. Since smoking was banned, nail-biting has taken over as the go-to tension release.

The emerging beauty of those things at the end of my hands has given me a different world-view. Much has changed. Driving, watching TV, films, reading..all activities where my default was to chew my nails to the quicks. Now I have developed a deliberate ‘show’ of my hands, ensuring that others are drawn to checking my nails because, for the first time, I can allow them so to do. I have developed extravagant gestures, flaunting my new appendages. Pinkie fingers with wine.

My new world view also includes noticing the Corbyn effect. Jezza may turn out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing as he deselects those who don’t share his open and honest approach. For now, though, he has helped us look at politicians and politics afresh.

The migrant crisis has also pushed Europeans to examine our ‘We’re alright Jack’ smugness. We’re rethinking on the hoof – and we’re unsure quite which way our moral compass is pointing. Magnetic north?

The World Cup might be bathos in this context but having watched the four quarter finals this weekend shouldn’t we English be ashamed at our scapegoat-searching, grubby, finger-pointing press? Of course England punched below their weight but the cheap, soundbite-grabbing, dirt-peddling journos who sought out smear-stories with which to discredit Lancaster and his men made a serious miscalculation. The rugby public, after a day or two of bereavement, really do like watching good rugby, whoever is playing it. This year it’s the southern hemisphere which dominates. How brilliant were the Kiwis against France? And the pulsating Springboks tie against Wales was an edge of the seater. Now Argentina have put on a bravura performance against the lovely Irish. David matching Goliath. The effort, pace…the sheer brilliance was breathtaking. Rugby at this level should reveal the grubby intrigues of Premiership soccer as another country, another planet. The media were in danger of demeaning themselves further. The quarter final matches, so far, have put them in their place. Now I am settling down for Aussie v Scots. New nails, new view. Less of the emperor’s new clothes.

Well done Argentina. Don’t cry for us.

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