You Survived a Nail Through Your Heart? I Had a Nasty Hangnail. Call it a Draw…

Pneumatic nail gun in use

It turns out this thing might be able to kill you. Whhhhaaaaattttt?! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know it’s hard to believe, but I am not the toughest guy you’ll ever meet. I have never been in a fist fight or, for that matter, any other sort of body part fight. I don’t have any tattoos of flaming skulls or barbed wire, the unanimous choice for toughest type of wire. I don’t recall any time when I have been tempted to use chewing tobacco and spit everywhere, though I have spit out gum near the sidewalk before. That’s pretty much the same thing.

No, I am not manly. If I was more into grooming, I could be called “metrosexual.” Since I still hold the average male aversion to tweezing, plucking, waxing, and nail filing, I am just considered wimpy.

This was never truer than the other day. As I sat at work, I looked down to see the bane of existence. There on my ring finger sat a hangnail.

In my 25 years, I have had many hangnails (If I was a metrosexual, the frequency of this affliction would be significantly lower). I know how it works. There are three choices. First, I can allow this hangnail to sit on my finger forever, hoping it eventually sorts itself out. This option has never worked and I’m fairly certain open hangnail wounds are what eventually wiped out the dinosaurs.

The second option makes much more sense. With tiny scissors, you can perform an operation, leaving the finger good as new. This option is time consuming and not for the faint of heart. Even the slightest tremor of a finger can leave you with just a nub, or at least a scratch from the scissor blades.

The last option is the worst option. Naturally, this is what I chose.

Carefully, I pulled on the loose skin. I am not exaggerating when I say this is probably the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. Also, as it turns out, it is messy. Apparently, underneath the skin of a hangnail is blood. After a quick search for a bandage, I was left with the memory of my pain and the shame that this small amount of pain was so bad to me.

As if things couldn’t get worse, the next thing saw online was the story of a man named Dennis Hennis. Aside from having an excellent name, Hennis is excellent as making me look like a total pansy.

Hennis was working on a neighbor’s roof when his nail gun jammed. Hennis worked to unjam the gun when, without warning, it shot a nail into him. This is significantly worse than my hangnail.

That’s not all, though. The nail went directly into Hennis’ heart. For those who aren’t experts in anatomy, the heart is important. Like, super-important. Nearly 100% of deaths are caused by someone’s heart no longer working.

After a helicopter ride, a surgery, and two weeks in the hospital, Hennis went home. He is completely fine and, according to the surgeon, should suffer no ill effects.

Now I am sitting there, reading this, glancing at my hangnail, and losing the last shred of masculinity I had. If I were to be shot in the heart with a nail, odds are that I would die because the panic I felt would cause me to jump off of the roof while screaming like a little girl. I would not be able to calmly wait for a helicopter to take me to the nearest hospital.

Maybe I should try to take a nail for the sake of my testosterone fueled hubris. Not in my heart. That would be very stupid. Maybe I should just shoot myself in the arm or leg. I bet it wouldn’t hurt that bad to be shot in the butt…

Who am I kidding? I couldn’t handle a hangnail. I definitely could not handle an actual nail.

I may not be the manliest guy I know. Actually, scratch that. I am not the manliest guy I know. I won’t ever be the manliest guy I know unless I happen to be the only male to survive the 2012 apocalypse. Even then, there will probably some sort of mutant post-apocalyptic species that makes me look like a huge sissy.

There is a bright side, though. Being a big wimp, I will never be trying to repair a roof. Since I will not be repairing a roof, the odds of taking a nail to the heart are very low. Sure, I wouldn’t get a sweet helicopter ride, but I also wouldn’t almost die. Huge plus there.

Deal with that, tough guys.


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