Monday, July 09, 2012

Crooked fingers in Argentina

Yes, I have crooked fingers. I've written about them before. 

I tried a new tactic in Argentina, after my experiences in Peru, where the kids noticed my crooked little fingers in about 95% of the performances. Here's the most common scenario: one kid would see that there was something different about my fingers. He or she would nudge the kids on either side to point out this oddity. They would look at their own fingers, then at mine, then whisper about it. They might start to show off their "double jointedness" as we called any kind of strange bending in our fingers when I was a kid. In the process, they were so engrossed in the idea of something different that they didn't listen to the story.

Partway through the Argentina tour, I decided to be proactive. In each performance after I showed the US map and talked a little about my family, I said "I want to tell you something else about my family. We happen to have crooked fingers." Gasp! The audience was fascinated, I think in part because I gave them permission to look at something strange about my body. Afterwards, I let them touch my fingers if they want to. It's just a finger, a bit more bony than most, and crooked, but still, just a finger.

In Argentina, five times, I had a treat--four kids and one teacher, at different schools, showed me their own crooked fingers. I've never seen so many outside my family. Occasionally I'll see crooked fingers at a school in the US, but not often. I only got a picture of one set, on the last day at St. Luke's School. There was another set at this school, but the two kids weren't related.

Not as crooked as mine, but it's still noticeable. In my family, there is a range of crookedness. Mine are the second-most.
It's genetic. My father and grandmother had this trait, as do two of my sisters and all three of my brothers. The medical term, I believe, is clinodactyly. I found a blog post other than mine about crooked little fingers and wasted quite a bit of time reading all the "me, too!" comments before I came to my senses. I guess that's my version of nudging the person next to me and whispering.
My nursery school art project, plaster painted with gold paint. Crooked as can be.

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