The Finger

Following the release of my book Memoirs of a Gas Station (*cough cough* $2.99 on Amazon *cough*), I’ve been digging through the media archives for pictures and short videos of the excursion. This is partly for general reminiscence and partly to make sure I haven’t grossly distorted any facts (no comment). In the process I’ve come across some entertaining little nuggets, which I’ll be sharing here in the near (and possibly far) future.

Today, I’d like to take a look at this gem: it’s a quick video chronicling some minor home surgery on one of my fingers. And by “minor home surgery,” I mean thrusting a blackened needle through the fingernail to release the considerable pressure from blood that had built up underneath it. If you’ve read the book, you’ll recall this was a consequence of accidentally let it slam between two large steel doors with faulty springs. This was also the same time I realized the dining hall closed at 7 p.m. It was 7:15. I was hungry. Overall, not a good night.

The finger of course turned purple and immediately swelled up to the size of a small pineapple. And, oh, it kind of hurt. In the coming days the swelling would get better, but as the fluid beneath the fingernail filled up more it became almost impossible to use the finger, for each time it was so much grazed by a paper bag I was using to corral some senior citizen’s six-pack at the gas station, my hand would shoot with pain. It was during one such bagging session when a passerby noticed how I was favoring the finger, and told me to use the technique shown below.

This video is highly embarrassing for a few reasons. First, judging by the pitch of my voice, I either hadn’t gone through puberty when this was shot or had just inhaled a balloon full of helium. Whatever. Second: the obvious physical and mental struggle I went through just trying to accomplish the simple task of putting a needle through my fingernail. I was clearly confused on the proper procedure, and I think my hands were sweaty because I knew it was all being captured on camera.

Regardless, roll the tape.

That was Part 1. You probably noticed a voice in the background talking to some hipster probably named Blake about some band probably called Animal Collective. That was Jim – much more on him on this blog in the future. He was on the other side of the room looking away, because he knew what was going on and had some blood/sight issues. I offered him a spot on the surgical team, but he for some reason declined.

Anyway, we took a break to strategize the best practice for the procedure, and somewhere in that discussion the needle found its way into where it needed to be. Which is when the camera began rolling again. WARNING: This one is a little more graphic. So if you’re squeamish…just be ready to cover your eyes.

And just like that, Kenny – who had been observing the ordeal –grew tired of my inability to finish, jumped right in with his unsweaty hands, and pulled the damn thing out. I really do owe him. The finger got much better after this (I squeezed most of the blood out), and eventually the fingernail just fell off to make way for a new one. The circle of life, ladies and gentlemen.

I’d like to thank Kenny for his uncanny action and also the female behind the camera – who will remain nameless, to protect her innocence – for shooting it.

Please feel free to share similar experiences or just make fun of me in the comments section down at the bottom of the page.


  1. Emil05-03-2012

    This is disgusting and highly entertaining. Also, is the camerawoman who I think it is? Just curious…

  2. Sam05-03-2012

    Thank you Emil! And it is actually NOT who you think it is. That is, if who you think it is is who I think you think it is.

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Sam Neumann | | Boulder, CO