Friday, 15 April 2011

Bonkers As "God's Mistake": Did I Speak Too Soon?

Earlier this week I mentioned the fact that I had been "flamed" by an indignant reader in a comment on an old post. What sparked their outburst is this review of a Damien Bash scent, which is - in all fairness - at the odder end of the spectrum as my posts go:

"I find it absolutely fascinating that we have someone like Mark Zuckemberg and then we have someone like you who seats around and smells fragrances and state her! And they say GOD doesn't make a mistake. Boy were they wrong; How it must feel to live in your head."

I left the comment up and added one of my own, in which I defended the whimsical house style of this blog in what I hoped was a conciliatory tone:

"Hello Anonymous,

Bonkers about Perfume is a little left field, I'll be the first to admit (there's a bit of a double entendre in the title...). Perfume sniffing is of course a subjective matter and I certainly don't claim to be an expert. I hope, however, to stay the right side of monster and mutant, and I also hope - but am not entirely sure - that your comment was meant in good part!"

But there has been a development in the past couple of days which is giving me pause for Beau's Lines have returned - but only on one thumb. For anyone not familiar with the condition, Beau's Lines are pronounced horizontal grooves in the nail. I was born with them on both thumbs apparently, but not on the other nails, and lived with them quite peaceably for 50 odd years. They were even recorded in my old passport as "severely ridged thumbnails" in the days when data on "distinguishing marks or features" used to be collected. I always thought to myself that whilst they weren't ideal for applying nail polish, if I was ever completely disfigured in a fatal car crash my thumbnails would be a handy way for the forensic people to ID me.

But then, most mysteriously - and after all this time - the lines disappeared last year from both thumbs, and I started to get excited about the prospect of wearing nail varnish. To this end, I instigated a major international sourcing operation in a bid to secure a pot of the much sought after shade, Chanel Paradoxal.

But this week, the lines have suddenly come back on my right thumb? How so?

Well, as for the causes of Beau's Lines, the Interwebs have as ever been a mine of (dis)information:

"Beau’s lines are transverse depressions of all of the nails that appear at the base of the lunula weeks after a stressful event has temporarily interrupted nail formation. The lines progress distally with normal nail growth and eventually disappear at the free edge. They develop in response to many diseases, such as syphilis, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, myocarditis, peripheral vascular disease, and zinc deficiency, and to illness accompanied by high fevers, such as scarlet fever, measles, mumps, and pneumonia."

Another citation I found had the lines linked to chemotherapy, infection, metabolic problems and malnutrition, while deep saturation diving doesn't seem to be the nail care routine of choice either.

"A researcher found Beau's lines in the fingernails of two of six divers following a deep saturation dive to a pressure equal to 305 meters of sea water, and in six of six divers following a similar dive to 335 meters."

Crikey! Right, so my money's on the zinc deficiency, which I am addressing with Vitamin C + Zinc tablets, hopefully warding off Mr Bonkers' cold while I am at it. And okay, my diet is probably a bit erratic too, though "malnutrition" sounds a bit harsh. Then the timeline for the flaming doesn't fit as a "stressful event", not that it was that big of a deal anyway. But what is going through my mind is that by implying I was one of God's mistakes, the commenter may just have been on to something...

Photo of passport from, photo of divers from, other photo my own (sadly)!


JoanElaine said...

Commenter sounds like a fanatic who thinks Facebook is God's gift to the world. Looks like "Zuckemberg"'s alleged intellectual property theft was part of a divine plan and The Social Network film is the gospel according to Aaron Sorkin. Who knew???

The energy that goes into flaming posts...

The ridgy nail thing - I have vertical ridges on all my nails. In fact, everyone in my family does. I wonder what those are called?

It's strange that your Beau's Lines have returned. I bet it has something to do with you "seating" around reviewing perfumes. It obviously displeases Zuckemberg. Pray to Zuckemberg (and maybe stop wearing perfumes named "Lucifer") and your Beau's Lines shall disappear. ;)

Vanessa said...

Hi JoanElaine,

Thanks for your hilariously dotty comment - you had better watch out on Redolent though - that sort of silliness could get you torched as well! The fact that the perfume post at the heart of the contretemps was about a scent called "Lucifer" now seems spookily apt.

How interesting about your family's vertical lines - let's see if anyone comes forward with diagonal ones. : - )

Tara said...

Oh Vanessa, what a nasty, personal comment - totally uncalled for. It had nothing to do with your review at all. I bet this specimen spends all their time looking for blogs to "flame". Either that or they were avidly googling "lucifer" and were very disappointed to come across a perfume review. How sad for them. I'd rather live in your head any day!

olenska said...

Vanessa, I think your response to Anonymous' comment was most gracious. It resisted fanning into flames the embers this person placed in your way. I don't think I would have had such admirable restraint. (Particularly in the face of all those spelling errors.)

I once received a comment from an Anonymous (the same?) telling me nothing more than to get a life. To which I replied "More of a life than you?" Then I rethought it, and deleted both comments. I think.

I have ridges & grooves in my nails too! Tribal sign!!

Vanessa said...

Hi tara,

Thanks for your kind words about my head. If you ever do wish to visit, I think there is just about room for a futon to the left of my temporal lobe.

: - )

Vanessa said...

Hi olenska,

"More of a life than you?" is a great riposte, but might have had an incendiary effect, as you doubtless feared.

Welcome to our groovy nail tribe! In all my working life I have only ever shaken the hand of one person and noticed he had the same thumbs - and *only* the thumbs like me. He was a French plastics engineer and it was a bonding experience, even though I was on my way out at the time and saying goodbye!

Angela Cox said...

Oh my God now I realise why I have those lines I go around having opinions.

Anonymous said...

I too am a member of the lined nail tribe. First the vertical lines on all fingernails which I've been told are a "sign of aging", but have been diminishing with increased Vitamin D. Second the Beau's lines (never knew they had a name) currently on both thumbnails - two on each, deeper on right than left. I'm quite willing to put my Beau's lines down to malnutrition as I am very lax about veggie intake, let alone minerals. But I much prefer Angela's explanation that they're due to "having opinions."

-- Lindaloo

Vanessa said...

Hi Angela,

Very funny! : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Lindaloo,

Well, what between you and Olenska, this Beau's Lines business is getting spookier and spookier...these things are quite rare after all. I think there may be a link between blogging and malnutrition, indeed I am planning a piece on the subject some time. Would you believe, I only found out that these lines had a name when researching my post. After 50 years of having merely generic ridged thumbnails!!

And yes, Angela's explanation is way more fun...

: - )

olenska said...

I know. It's OAKMOSS. OAKMOSS is what's giving us all fingernail ridges. As a matter of fact, IFRA was formed solely to liberate us from the dread "ripple effect" which would make getting manicures such a downer. It is all perfectly clear now.... :D

olenska said...

Or else it's aldehydes, and they're actually spelled "Beaux's Lines" (as in Ernest).

Hazel said...

IMO, the drive-by posters are best ignored. Having had their petty and splenetic say, they will never visit again - so why respond? Or they will come back in hopes of having got some craved attention - so why gratify them?

Marie (Junelady) said...

Vanessa, if you are one of God's mistakes, then I am too, because my thumb nails look exactly the same! I've always thought it was a genetic thing, but maybe it's more of a sins inherited type of thing instead. And if it is stress related then I'm in a chronic state of psychlogical trauma.

What always amazes me about comments like the one you got is that they don't really make sense. What is that person's point exactly? That you shouldn't voice your opinion (on anything)? That nobody should? That only he/she should? That it is generally undesirable to have an opinion? That putting oneself "out there" is wrong? That he/she is angry that you do, when he/she doesn't? I don't know.

And by the way, I paint my nails anyway. It doesn't look perfect but that's me: Not perfect.

Vanessa said...

Hi Olenska,

I was all set to buy your oakmoss explanation when another one came along...! I am not all that partial to oakmoss so I think theory No 2 is the one. The coincidence of "Beau(x)" is too major to ignore.

Vanessa said...

Hi Hazel,

On balance I thought it highly unlikely that the drive-by poster would come back, so my leaving of a comment in response was in the spirit of "finished business".

As for the gratification angle should the poster happen to return, I figured that it was worth the risk for the comic mileage and chance to showcase a longstanding digital deformity. As it happens, outing myself in this manner has unexpectedly put me in touch with a whole community of groovy nail sufferers, who are shaping up to be a small but significant sub-group of perfumistas and bloggers.

Then Marie (Junelady) has added an interesting philosophical dimension to the saga about freedom of speech, so all in all - given that this thumb post is a direct spin off of the drive-by poster's comment - I am not sorry to have engaged in a bit of light coal raking.

: - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Marie (Junelady)!

Welcome to our growing club of stressed and malnourished ridged nail sufferers! Maybe the fellowship of our emerging group will help take the edge off our stress. Very interesting points you raise about who may say what where.

Vanessa said...

By the way, if anyone would like to send me a contact sheet in modelspeak ie "digital photos" of their offending body parts I could create a gallery of thumbnails (quite literally) and feature it in a special follow up post here on Bonkers. But if you don't fancy doing a "centre nailfold", as it were, that is also absolutely fine!

Marie said...

Vanessa, I already feel less stressed knowing that I'm not alone with my flawed nails. And my flawed being in general.

I commend you for turning a drab thing into an amuzing one. Way to go! While I can definitely see the point in ignoring such remarks and cutting off the air supply to negativity, there's also the other route, the one you've taken today.

If I had a camera, I'd be happy to contribute to your gallery of ridges.

Unknown said...

Vanessa -

I think it's incredibly brave to write on the internet (there are so many trolls!) and I love your site. Really. Keep up the good work.

Vanessa said...

Hi Marie,

Slight flaws give an item its unique character, like diamonds or - if the label is to be believed - those handknit Icelandic sweaters...

: - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Aubrey,

Thanks for dropping by! Appreciate your support and happy you like Bonkers.

Anonymous said...

Another ridge-nailed miscreant here - vertical lines only, nothing dignified with a proper name.

Being generally deficient in all things, I just thought it was another manifestation of the divine's disappointment with me!

Weirdly, when I saw an NHS dermatologist recently, she and her student were fascinated with my titchy fingernails and tiny fingers ... but didn't tell me why. (She did tell me that I was not experiencing rosacea on my phizog., which is why I was referred to her, and that I must therefore be allergic to things! The joys of seeking an expert's opinion.)

Soldiering on, despite my desperate unworthiness ... frittering time away on perfume, indeed;-)

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

Angela Cox said...

Hi vanessa , I have had some trouble on Facebook with a particular site .I had to seek help from a blogger who knew about the site .I left the particular site as I'd been getting nuttier and nuttier messages .I am still on Facebook though but more wary as this was the site of a rather large and famous perfume house. It seems some people get kicks out of being annoying. I once made a nail oil for me and Holly which contained myrrh oil in a base of organic baby oil. I'll try to think of the exact recipe. It really helped our nails though.I just got lazy but must use something again. We have been throwing vit.c and zinc down to prevent colds anf had more than usual !! .

Vanessa said...

Hi Anna, though I have a strong urge to call you "ridge-nailed miscreant" from this point onwards!

We may yet need to create a splinter group for readers with vertical lines and titchy fingernails - though "splinter" is not perhaps the most felicitous of terms here.

I do have rosacea, as it happens, so we nearly had the makings of yet another tribe! Different specialists I've seen have called it different things, mind you - it was perioral dermatitis for a while, then non-specific dermatitis, and one consultant may even have referred to the condition as "a very persistent case of puberty".

Vanessa said...

Hi Angela,

Sorry to hear about your Facebook troubles. That nail oil sounds rather good and I know what you mean about being lazy about applying stuff. I had some clear varnish I was meant to put on fungal toenails, but got bored as it didn't seem to be working. If I use a remedy, I want it to zap the condition immediately!

Carol said...

what a bunch of wonderful folks here who have commented! I'm happy to be a part of this world! My ridges on both Beau and vertical depending on the nail - I better get myself some extra C and D!

(I'm still giggling over the passport - had no idea that they had done that!)

Marie said...

Vanessa, I'm told that Persian carpets are also made in such a way that there is always a deliberate flaw in the pattern somewhere in recognition of the circumstance that human beings aren't perfect :-)

Anonymous said...

A splinter group, Vanessa? ... Splitters! (One for "Life of Brian" fans:-)

I'll be the Popular Front for Titchy-mitted and Ridged-nailed (Vertical Branch) Miscreants by myself. "She's over there!"

Marie's Persian carpet story is what I've heard too - that one knot is left untied deliberately out of humility.

cheerio, keratin-challenged brethren and sistren of flagrant fragrant usage,

Anna in Edinburgh

Vanessa said...

Hi BF!

If you have both types of line on the same nail anywhere you could potentially play noughts and crosses on the resultant grid? : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Marie,

Thanks for lending further weight to our flawed precedent!

Vanessa said...

Hi Anna,

Followers of each splinter group will be known as hang - or hanger on nails...

Am liking "keratin-challenged". : - )

Marie said...

Is there room for someone with hyperpigmentation on her forehead?! It started out looking very much like a map of Italy with the odd hitherto unknown island or two. Now Italy has become utterly imperialistic and has spread beyond moderation. And there's a lonely island next to my nose as well. My I'couldn't-care-less dermatologist has informed me that since the creams and ointments she has prescribed has not worked, I'm probably beyond repair.

What does that make me: Pigmentation-challenged? Dermo-imperialistic? Pigmentation-immoderate?

I was also created without one of my incisors. It simply never replaced the milk tooth that fell out. So, I'm also dentally flawed from the get-go.

Vanessa said...

Hi Marie,

Why of course there is room for someone with hyperpigmentation on their forehead - I have a friend with a map of Australia on hers, as it happens, though she may well have had it lasered off by now. Has no one offered you that option? Meanwhile, it seems you are having to live with Italy's creeping hegemony.

If it is any comfort, I am also quite extensively dentally flawed, with more fillings in my head than teeth. I have drawn Mr Bonkers' attention to the salvage value of the two gold ones in my bottom front teeth in the event of my early demise - which of course can't be excluded if the furrowed nail get any more groovy.

Marie said...

I came to my dermatologist with the expectation of having the whole geographical mess zapped into oblivion ASAP. However, according to her laser has proven quite disappointing in various studies, the risks are that it either makes the problem worse, or that it doesn't make any difference. I wrote an online American dermatologist and asked her (Dr. Cynthia Bailey) and she said the same thing. So, my plan of action for now is as follows: 1. Religious application of sunscreen to prevent Italy from going completely bananas 2. Continuing with the creams my dermatologist prescribed. It might take a long while before results (if any) are seen. I'll give the creams until the end of this year, I think. In my most vain moments I have contemplated seeing a dermatologist in private practice, but my more sensible self realizes that I will probably only be paying good money to get the same answer my present dermatologist gave me. And that good money could buy me really nice perfume along with a foundation with good coverage. There's also the option that I could choose to focus on other stuff. Relevant stuff.

Small subject. Long answer. I apologize for undue vanity.

A quite substantial part of my parents' income went to pay for my mother's dental bills. My father used to say that my mother's head was best kept in a safe. I always assumed that he went while still attached to her body. He was a quite peaceful man.

I'm on the road myself to making my own dentist a very happy woman in that I'm planning to have an implant to replace the incisor that I lost a couple of years ago. And the odd bits of dental work that I need with shorter andd shorter intervals are suprisingly expensive as it is. Dentists should have a wall in their office dedicated to customer of the month. That seems only fair.

Marie said...

"Went" means "meant" in the penultimate paragraph. Am I beginning to read letters upside down?!

Vanessa said...

Hi Marie,

Thanks for the correction of the "went" - that is the lynchpin of your very funny comment about your mother's "capital assets", so I am glad you put us straight on that!

Sorry to hear that laser treatment isn't the panacea I had assumed for your sort of mark. I am a big believer in foundations with good coverage myself, so at least there is that fall back if the creams don't cut it. Topical remedies for skin conditions can be infuriatingly slow to take effect though - if they ever do, indeed! - so I understand your frustration.

Oooh yes, dental charges are a subject close to my heart. My guy is super expensive but mustard - he will only accept patients with "difficult mouths", as he likes a challenge, and following a referral from a regular family practice, I have never look back, even though I should probably keep my head in a safe too...

Now my dentist doesn't have a customer of the month award as such, but he did once tell me that out of all his patients, I am the most "occlusally aware", so I must content myself with that small accolade. : - )


Marie said...

I hope I have not given you the impression that my family was mainly occupied with unseemly activities ;-) Although, that would have made for a potentially bestselling "I lived through this" book. To pay for my dental bills.

Occlusally aware is a charming concept and a rare recognition of a special talent.

In my research on dental implants I came across a not so inspiring term, "bone mash". Yes. It refers to the procedure called sinus augmentation, needed if there's no enough bone separating your mouth from your sinuses. I told her that that was probably the ugliest word I'd ever come across. After x-raying my cranium to determine the amount of bone available, she wrote me informing me of the results: "I am happy to inform you that bone m... will not be necessary in your case :-)" Funny dentist! I would have been a bit peeved had said procedure been necessary. I have a huge head and it can't all be empty space!

Vanessa said...

Hi Marie,

LOL re the book idea funding your extensive "work"!

As for "bone mash", that is pretty gross, it must be said. My dentist told me one of my sinuses is blocked, but didn't offer to free it up with a nifty bit of drilling while he was in the general area.

Marie said...

I had my sinuses un-blocked surgically 3 years ago by a laryngologist - it has worked out very well and improved matters greatly. On that occassion the doctor informed my that I had biiiig, beautiful sinuses (room for lots of "blockage") - hence my fear that my head would prove to be all vancancy and very little actual "architectural structures".

Vanessa said...

Hi Marie,

You and I should compare cranial profiles some time. I like the sound of the term "architectural structures" for starters!

Marie said...

Certainly ready for some cranial profiling :-)