The Recall

Memory triggers fascinate me - the moments, the smells, the objects which cause deeply buried memories to resurface. The enthrallment begs the question 'why?' Why this memory? What was so poignant it was even preserved? Today's trigger: nail clippers.
  • Activity: Hangnail caught on the dishtowel why drying dishes causing pain
  • Problem: Remove exposed hangnail to eliminate further tear potential and minimize pain
  • Solution: Retrieve nail clippers from the catch-all basket on the end-table and clip off the hangnail
  • Memory: "Just trust me..."
While carefully trying to clip the offending hangnail, the memory of a Campfire Girls' Meeting interrupts my concentration. (Campfire Girls was more popular where I grew up than Girl Scouts but with similar goals and structure.) The year was approximately 1964. After the business meeting , project report, and a financial accounting from dues and most recent bake sale, the program began: "Manicures Keep Hands Pretty."
My memory fast forwards to the moment I heard "trust me; it won't hurt.

The featured guest was showing the group, using my left index finger in the presentation, how to use nail clippers correctly to remove painful hangnails without pain. I really didn't believe it could be done and through her a I'm not that stupid, it's gonna hurt piercing glare. Every piece of mental armor went up when she looked at me and said "trust me." I didn't trust - especially adults who demanded I do.

The rest of the girls were standing around me, leaning forward, trying to get a better look, trying to see whether or not there would be blood with the clip while placing silent wagers as to whether or not the presenter was lying . The muscles in my arms tensed; my right foot began to twitch; I clenched my teeth and squinted, focusing on the manicurist's hand bringing the nail clipper closer and closer ....

She clipped. It didn't hurt. I was stunned ... not because of the absence of pain but because she hadn't lied.