John Oliver on U.S. Prisons
Letter Published in London Review of Books

In Which I Explore the World of Nail Care

A few days ago, I half-chopped off a fingernail trying to open one of those Satan-designed plastic shell cases with a knife. Blut! Überall Bluuuut! Blood everywhere!

I put a band-aid on the hideous mess and refused to look at it for days. I was afraid to touch the broken nail for a while, fearing that I might somehow tear it off. Then I became convinced I should have torn it off at the very moment of the accident. Now the shattered nail would grow into my infected wound, and the finger would have to be amputated. Then I'd have to wait months for the bloody thing to grow back: 

It is safe to say that never in my life have I dedicated so much thought to my fingernails.

But then I thought: hey, isn't there some kind of womanly cosmetic goo for this kind of thing? Something from the tiny bottles you see on women's bathroom shelves? Women are, after all, a lot less squeamish about fingernails. They're always screwing around with them: painting them, polishing them, buffing them, cracking them, chopping them off, adding and subtracting extensions -- the variety is endless, and horrifying.

So I -- a 112.04% heterosexual, red-blooded American man -- watched the video on fingernail repair at the beginning of this post, in which some cute Aussie wench drops some very useful science. I then betook me to the local drugstore, where for the first time ever I devoted serious attention to the endless particolored rows of polishes, brushes, lotions and removers. I found some nail glue, which smells like toxicity itself. I then mutilated a hapless tea bag, applied the fix, waited 30 minutes twirling my hand in the air and complaining to my BFFs about total losers I've dated, and finally gave the nail a few cautious taps.

Solid as a rock. Thanks, ladies!


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Lisa Schulz

She may be good with nails but her grammar is abysmal. Good gods!

M. Möhling

As an avid DIYer I always have nail polish at the ready. Bought a tiny bottle for 99 cents (pfennigs?) at Woolworths--lasts for decades of manly use. While we are at it--bicyclists know that nylon stockings (cheapo at Woolworths) stuffed with crumpled newspapers make for excellent but light weight (and discardable) cold weather wear. Last time in the Alps only some foxes saw us, so it was ok.

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