A Comedy of Genetics – The Fingers by Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour
Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour
(Revised slightly from original rant written on March 5, 2004)
I waited a long time for this moment in my life and now that I have finally arrived, my fingers tell me it will be short lived!
Sixty words a minute, I used to type on an electronic typewriter. One hundred and twenty words a minute, I used to scribe across the pages with a fine point pen as I would listen and take notes in shorthand. But now, my fingers tell me to put these memories behind me and get ready for reality.
I inherited these fingers from my mother; she inherited hers from her father; from which side of the family he got his, I am not sure. They are nasty fingers that have followed my family tree down through the generations, picking randomly which one of us shall be the next victim.
When my mother gave birth to me in 1953, I had ten beautiful fingers. I have now lived more than half a century, as have those ten beautiful fingers. But, something is different about them now: they are not all the same, and I fear that once some of them usurp the clan, the others will soon follow. They will shadow the leader.
First, arthritis set into my baby finger. The bones bubble oddly, and painfully. The ring finger, next to the baby, was sympathetic; at times, it embraced some of the pain like a mother would do for her child. I feared the worst for them both, and for the great tall father finger, and the baby’s brothers and sisters. Which one of them would fall victim next? I soon learned all their fates!
My heart bleeds for these beautiful fingers, but also for the passion they will no longer be able to assist me with once the bubbles become too large and inflamed. Whatever will I do? Who will pound out the great novels I have dreamed of writing all my life? Who will be able to keep up with my creative mind as I spill the words from my soul? Who will understand my madness enough to translate it to the blank pages? That has been the job of my fingers, and now…
I have waited impatiently for these moments––my moments of the realization of my dream–– and now I am may be cheated of that dream because of the family tree of inadequate body parts. Why could not this disease have started in my baby toe? It is not needed to write a novel, or a poem, or a song––only for the dance I never seem to get to perform!
Enough procrastination––I must hurry. Time runs out for my fingers. I have so much to impart to you, to release before the bubbles break my rhythm. So be ready my friends, for my floodgate of madness is about to be spilled upon the soil: drink from it while you still can, for soon my fingers shall be gone!