• Jenny Lynn Keller

Fingernails and Earthworms


What kind of person scares a five-year-old kid with earthworms? My grandmother. She told me chewing my fingernails would give me worms. What can I say? Desperate times demanded desperate measures. Painting my nails with apple cider vinegar failed. Bribing with money didn’t phase me. Threating to whip my legs with a privet switch was useless. She never laid a hand on any of her grandchildren except for a hug and kiss. So she resorted to psychology, knowing I didn’t like worms.


Is it true? Fingernail chewing gives you worms? I sure thought so for a while, and during that time my fingernails grew out and I liked the result. No more nail biting for me. Years later in a health class, I learned she told me the truth, sorta. Fingers may have been the original eating utensils, but dirty ones will give you something worse than earthworms. I still won’t touch them.


Now it’s your turn to share. What whacky ideas did you believe as a child?

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