Saturday, April 19, 2008


My sister, her Imperial Majesty wanted her hands to look slim and delicate but she bit her fingernails. She did this because she was a princess-of-the-most-high, housed in the body of a person who lived in a hick town and that was hard on her, secretly knowing she should be living in a palace and all. She had issues, I guess, and took her frustrations out on her fingernails.

She decided that if she painted only the middle of her fingernails her hands would look longer and slim. It was kind of like an optical illusion, if you looked really close you could see fingernail bits at the edges but if you looked really quick, like you were on a galloping horse—a favorite saying of Mom’s--, then they looked slender and lovely. At least that was her theory and if there is one thing about The Imperial Majesty it was that she stuck to her decisions once they were made. If you doubt that click here to read how unreasonable and stubborn she was about not letting her sad little sister read in bed.

She could paint the fingernails on her left hand but not the right. She cajoled me into doing that one. If I had been smart—which I was not—I could have gotten something out of her. Unfortunately, as soon as a compliment came forth out of the mouth of The Princess I became hypnotized and did whatever she wanted.

“Don’t paint the edges. I want my fingernails to look skinny.”

“Why do you want skinny fingernails?” She should certainly be happy enough with a skinny waist, I thought.

“You ask too many questions. Just paint the middle and leave an unpainted edge on both sides.” She paused, looking Heavenward, as if waiting for inspiration. “You paint fingernails so well. No one could do it as well as you. Bless your heart.”

“Bless your heart” is an expression that is used to soften the worst compliment in the world. It also softens criticism such as: “Your hair looks like worms, bless your heart.” You didn’t know whether to shave your head or be grateful that she cared enough to invoke blessings from somewhere, maybe even from God.

I unscrewed to top of the fingernail polish and immediately got to work. I painted the fingernails on her right hand but not the edges. I did such a superior job that it became my full time responsibility and from then on I had to do both hands because no one could do it as well as I could. Bless my heart.

I painted the middles of her fingernails three times a week. Once on Friday night so she could have slender fingernails for her many dates and again on Sunday, God appreciated skinny fingernails, obviously. I painted them once sometime during the week when she forgot her promise to herself and bit her fingernails down to nubbins because she worried about millions of things. She worried on a regular basis and if she didn’t have something to worry about she made things up or borrowed the worries of someone else. It was a trial for her, being a princess all bound up in a normal person’s body, living in a hick town, and having such a duffus for a little sister to boot.

I did not have the desire to have long skinny fingernails. I did not care about my fingernails at all. When I was little Mom would trick me into sitting on her lap and then she would produce nail clippers out of her magical over-the-arm-of-the-chair homemade fabric-thingy that had a hundred little specialized pockets that held everything but a glass of water. She would hold me down and clip my fingernails, which grew to Guinness Book of World Record length with nary a break.

My sister, the Princess sighed at my good fortune and bit her nails in frustration. Then she would feel bad because she had broken her promise to herself once again and then she would remove the old fingernail polish and file her stubby little nails smooth. I would then paint the naked fingernails once again—but only in the middle. That always cheered her up, having such a willing servant and restored her good humor and she took her skinny fingernails and skinny waist and went forth to charm and delight the people of the world.

I did not. Have not. Do not. But I sure can paint fingernails well. Bless my heart.


Cindy said...

What a wonderful sister you are, Lynne. Bless your heart!!

C.C. said...

And a wonderful writer, too! I loved this two-part post and the one about husbands calling in the middle of day. Really great stuff!

Michael Rawluk said...

What a funny writer you are, bless your heart.
I don't think I need my nails painted but if I ever do, I will give you a call.

Coffee Bean said...

Bless my heart... I think your older sister is my younger brother, Buck.

tearese said...

"your hair looks like worms, bless your heart." Ha!