My own private digital revolution


I’ve given up biting my nails.

Onychophagy (or onychophagia, apparently) – the desire to use the mouth when not speaking,

Over 45% of teenagers suffer from it. And although the numbers drop off in adulthood, I’ve chewed these poor claws of mine for as long as I can remember – out of nervousness, anxiety, boredom… sometimes just to wind up my poor, pained special lady friend Clare. (I’ll pay for that)

It’s a grim habit, but now I’ve stopped.

My main motivation came from a wise man by the name of Greg Stenzhorn. The father of a dear friend, he recently came to stay with us for the weekend with his full brood in tow. Over one of several grape-infused drinks that were consumed over the weekend, he said something that made me think:

“Fooks, you cannot meet world leaders with fingernails like that”.

Now, I’m not in the position where world leaders are inclined to meet me that often. Neither do I really have anything useful to contribute to world peace, or shutting up troublesome little Trumplestiltskin. But it did strike a chord.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And when you have a new business, initial meetings and introductions are vital. Not caring what people think, or assuming that you can charm with style over substance, are precarious plays.

So I am an ex-nail biter for now – probably not the best time to give up, what with being stretched for time, money and family time and all – but there we go. As Gordon Brown (a fellow nail-biter) once said: “You have to live in the future, not the past ”. Maybe one day I’ll meet him and he will comment on the robust, shining talons in front of him.


  • Posted by Bunsen O'Berner on 26.01.18
    Ian, your story is an inspiration to us all. Thank you. I'm wondering if you have any tips to offer fellow sufferers of onychophagia keen to "kick the habit". Are there any books you can recommend?
  • Posted by Tommer on 26.01.18
    There's money in them there nails. A nice little passive income stream, Mr F...
  • Posted by Carina on 26.01.18
    I was told that tiny worms lived under my fingernails and that if I bit them they would, in turn, eat my stomach. That was all the inspiration I needed. I commend your efforts. Top man.
  • Posted by Greg Stenzhorn on 26.01.18
    Quite a few years ago, I met Fooks at a BBQ at a house in the East End where my son was living at the time. He wore a hat - a trilby perhaps - and a scarf or cravat. He was easy to talk to and had such a relaxed way about him ........ It explained why he had chewed fingers! I am a cursed observer but I never said anything - we had only just met. The wonderful thing about meeting friends of your kids, is you grow up with them too. You stay in touch; and they are sweet and kind enough to invite you to their house one day to spend time with their family - it's a privileged connection that makes you appreciate the things that matter. I know there are numerous areas of importance to focus on when trying to create the right first impression - but the hands were always a big thing for me! I shared that with Fooks and I am charmed that he chose to mention this in his post. By the way, I said "you cannot dine with world leaders with fingers like that" - you might get to meet them, but dining is something else. Anyway, thank you for the acknowledgment - it is appreciated. Good luck in your business venture; success is only round the corner. And to hell with Gordon Brown - as Tammo said in his address to the doubting diarists of the Temple of Dnang, “Whilst the first step is the bravest of them all, your success can only be measured by the last” With affection, Luke's old man. Ps it's fount not font of knowledge!