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Nina In New York: I’ve Got A Thumb Problem

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(credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
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By Nina Pajak

I tend to be prone to self-inflicted injuries.

There was the time I broke a toe “doing gymnastics” in my college dorm lounge, and the sprained ankle I sustained in a desperate attempt to win at some idiotic playground game (er, I leaped off a swing at full height). There have been gashes and scrapes and assorted cuts and bruises resulting in scars I can no longer explain, as well as a number of extremely public and embarrassing falls and slapstick-esque accidents into which I can delve deeper another time. Luckily, I’m both physically resilient and spiritually buoyant, so I rarely fester in my humiliating ailments for very long before encountering the next one.

Until now. Now I am suffering some real indignity.

On Sunday while walking around, I became aware of a sharp and undeniable pain that began at the base of my thumb and radiated up to my elbow. What had I done? Had I injured myself playing a sport? Maybe I pulled it playing tennis the other day. Oh wait, I don’t play sports. In fact, I hadn’t been in any way physically active in at least two days. Perhaps, then, a fork-and-knife-related injury? That brick oven pizza I’d had the other night was pretty chewy.

Then it dawned on me. I have “BlackBerry Thumb.”

I’m sure it’s sufficiently self-explanatory, but I’ll elaborate: due to obnoxious and compulsive overuse of my obnoxious Personal Device . . . of America? Associated? Aaa(pause)mazing? What in the world does that stand for?

Ah, Personal Digital Assistant. That wouldn’t have occurred to me. It sounds so retro, like a Tamagotchi or a Palm Pilot or some other Jurassic, beepy little toy.

See Also: The Best Blackberry Apps For New Yorkers | The Best iPhone Apps For New Yorkers

Anyway. I find this unbearably lame. A phone-related ailment? Not to overstate it, but it’s not like my finger was a little bit sore. I was in real pain, all day long. Because, why again? Well, I suppose I’m relatively busy and important. But am I really? How badly does anyone at work need me to respond to that email at 12:30 a.m. to say, “I’ll look into this tomorrow” or “will do?” My guess is not. Sure, they’ve come to expect it. But if I didn’t, I’m guessing we’d all live and my company and industry would not grind to a halt and we would likely accomplish everything we need to accomplish in a very reasonable amount of time.

See Also: High Tech Hand Injuries Plague Texting Addicts

And then there are the many, many conversations I have with my friends via text message and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). On the one hand, it is infinitely easier and less exhausting to have a round of “I don’t care where we eat, where do you want to eat?” or “he said this, what do you think he means?” in short bursts of writing rather than endless and circuitous talking talking talking. On the other hand, I am having a freaking muscle spasm right now. Treatment options include icing, custom-built splints and, in worst case scenarios, surgery. I need to reevaluate.

More than that, I need everyone else in my life to simultaneously reevaluate, too. I have no faith in my own willpower and ability to change any of my habits despite this pathetic situation in which I find myself. We all need to change so that I don’t wind up with a shriveled claw instead of a hand and become that scary lady who only emerges to buy great stores of wine and cheap vodka and whom all the neighborhood kids whisper about. They’ll dare each other to see who can get the closest to my door and who can run away fast enough before I snatch them with my deformed digits and rob them of their smartphones, which I stockpile in my apartment in a vain attempt to save the youth from the terrible fate which had befallen me, so many years before, when I was still in my prime.

So, uh, stop texting me, okay?

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Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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