How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE

Plan A, B, and C

48 Comments


What’s going on with my fingers? Have I somehow rubbed off the prints we’re all endowed with at birth? I know you can’t see them, but I always pictured these invisible lines as working the way the rubber fingers we wore at work (on our forefinger), to flick through lots of paper, or to count piles of money.

Here’s a crazy idea. Maybe these little digits need a light sanding. You know, like roughing up old walls to help new primer or paint stick? Don’t mind me, when I’m desperate almost anything is worth a try.

Some days, I have no problem at all. My attempt to turn the page of a magazine, newspaper or the pages of a book is successful; other days I’m all thumbs. I pinch the page at the bottom corner and rub using my thumb on the top side and my forefinger and middle finger on the bottom. Nothing.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

Plan B: I wet my forefinger (I lick it when no-one’s looking—don’t tell) and try again. By now I’m not only frustrated, I see red. Why won’t the stubborn pages separate? I don’t swear as a rule yet a string of words I’ve never heard before spew out of my mouth and surround my head like a blue cloud.

Time for Plan C, the last and most ridiculous endeavor: blow at the bottom outer corner of the paper. For no particular reason, and a surprise to me, on occasion this works. I haven’t resolved why, and this also makes me wild.

In a coffee shop not long ago, I opened a novel to enjoy with my Java. I noticed a man close-by, reading. I don’t like to intrude but sometimes I’m uncouth. Seeing a stranger anywhere, with a book in his or her hand or underneath an arm, is enough excuse to strike up a conversation, “Whatcha reading?” This time I didn’t get a chance, though.

This man—about my age, maybe a day or two older—appeared immersed in his hardcover. Darn if he didn’t experience the same challenge of turning pages as I have. How is it he was familiar with my Plans A, B and C? As he blew the pages apart, I almost laughed out loud and had an urge to clap, but I restrained it. I may be ill-mannered by asking total strangers silly questions, but I wasn’t about to call attention to myself. It was a comfort I’m not the only one with this affliction..

I’m still stumped why I can’t turn pages more often now than in the past. Are my no-longer-agile-fingers to blame, or can I use the excuse it’s the paper’s fault?

A light bulb just went off: the next time I’m in this fix, I’ll stick my fingers into the jam jar before I pinch the pages. I’m positive this will work. Why hadn’t I thought of this before rather than struggle through all my hit-or-miss Plans?

Do you have an answer to this dilemma?

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

48 thoughts on “Plan A, B, and C

  1. Plan D: Sortwik, It’s a jar of pink, um, I dunno what it is, but it’s good for clerical work, counting money and for eliminating all manner of page-turning distress.

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    • People who work with paper here use the rubber finger tips, or have a wet sponge in container to wet their finger. I haven’t thought about it lately, but I noticed even bank clerks don’t physically count money anymore. They have these weird machines that do it for them. I thought Vegas casinos weighing money was magical. Except for basic living, in business no-one need to touch anything. How life has changed since I retired.

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  2. I have this problem, mostly at work. I have a hard time separating the gazzillion faxes,invoices,packing slips,purchase orders, and acknowledgements that find there way to me. Just about the time things are coming apart easily the phone is for me. Usually someone wanting to know if I got the fax, invoice, packing slip….

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  3. I am intrigued by the jam jar plan…

    You may have a problem with flies, however!

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    • I lied about that one but it seemed it might work considering the condition under which I found myself. Not a good idea, the jam jar, because in warm weather, fruit flies would become my best friends and we do NOT see eye-to-eye. Heh heh.

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  4. Me too. My husband blows. If it’s the three of us, then … light bulb of brilliant deduction about to shine… IT’S THE PAGE’S FAULT!! That was fun, Tess. 🙂

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    • I like to direct blame elsewhere nowadays. I lived through enough stress and work when I was young and bringing up my family. Since I’m retired, I feel entitled to a break…(I roll my eyes here.) and redirect my ineptitude elsewhere. Ha ha.

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  5. 🙂 It’s the paper not your fingers!!!! Honest!

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  6. Hi Tess,
    I have the same problem in a grocery store, getting those plastic bags to open up. I’ve fiddled and destroyed them trying to find the opening. I finally figured out that I just need to wet my fingertips with the dew drops on the veggies, and the bag opens right up. It’s the same theory that you use, only maybe you want to dip your fingertips on a convenient pre-positioned tabletop drop from your water glass.

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  7. Hahaha I get the problem sometimes but not always, no idea why! and sadly no answers either but you made me laugh 🙂

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  8. I struggle too, I blame it on the fact that using computers and other gadgets so much has changed the nature of our fingertips so they can no longer perform some of their basic functions so well. Or maybe the paper has changed, maybe developments in paper manufacturing processes have made it more clingy so that the pages don’t come apart so well.

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    • Hi, Vanessa. If you use lined notebooks for scribbling anything in, the paper is so thin, one can write only on one side. The writing bleeds through to other side and if you are lucky, the paper doesn’t tear because you ARE writing on the back side. More and more, the paper sounds like the culprit.

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  9. I have that all the time, though I haven’t started carrying a jam-jar yet. 🙂
    Dry skin is actually very smooth,and produces very little friction to pull on the page. Good thing too, else imagine every time you rub against a wall or some furniture it stuck to your skin?

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  10. I don’t have a solution for your problem, Tess, but do you have trouble with plastic bags in the grocery store? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried and tried and tried to get those miserable little things open. And as much as I hate to cuss in public, I must confess to a few less than ladylike words right there in the veggie aisle!

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    • Paper is one problem, but you’re right. Those dang plastic bags have seem me run SCREAMING. Why do I give up so easily? Fifteen minutes and no more Ms. Happy Face. Don’t you think plastic bags should be banned by now, Laurie? To my knowledge, only Walmart still gives them away FREE.

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    • We were talking about the thin plastic, see-though bags found in the produce and fruit sections. They are the WORST for my nerves, never mind my fingers.

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  11. I think it’s the paper – not your fingers.
    On the other hand, your skin might become drier as time goes by 😉
    When I worked in the bank, it was very helpful to have a wet sponge close by for counting money – no licking your fingers with all the filth you get on money!!

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    • I would use the sponge religiously too in a BANK. Ugh. At home, although the paper has been in and out of the print room and where else, it’s easy to lick one’s fingers for the odd page and I’m SURE it’s the PAPER!

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  12. I like the idea of blaming it on the paper. It’s the paper that’s aging and drying out. Definitely not MY fingertips. Heh.

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  13. It is the paper Tess, not you. It is a conspiracy.

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  14. This week I couldn’t turn the page on my desk calendar – while my much younger subordinate watched. Time to switch to an online calendar.

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  15. Perhaps this is why e-readers like Kindles are becoming so popular. It’s all the old folk like us struggling to turn the page!

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  16. Lost your animal magnetism, perhaps? But then, pages aren’t imbued with iron, so…I lick mine, anyway.

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  17. Incredibly funny with a strange resemblance to my own fingerprint issue. I had not discovered your plan C and thank you for this great tip, I will admit just to you that I have resorted of late to turning the tome upside down by it’s poor spine, and shaking it until the pages flutter open.
    Let me add that I am a people watcher too Tess.~

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Some things in life are complicated. Let's keep it simple.

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