Something Quite Appeeling

Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

I, Sir Nathaniel Aloysius Carlisle Humperdink Elderwine XIII, Esq., have accepted to undertake scientific exploits from Her Majesty’s Panel of Frivolousness (HMPF). In my first experiment, I have been commissioned to determine whether or not nail clippings can truly be peeled like bananas. Being selected to test a hypothesis like this was not only a great honour, but a chance to prove myself at panel. It seems the chairman has come to the assertion his clippings are often shaped like bananas, and as such, could be peeled like them. This is an unsurprising declaration from the venerable prolocutor, as bananas have always been his favorite food. On one specific occasion, it has been rumored the Speaker of the Panel arrived at the department gates to find our chairman planting several banana trees in the council room.

First, I needed to obtain a sample of nails for the experiment. While it wasn’t immediately known where I could find such material, I set out to the forest to harvest such a curious item. Many hours were spent in wooded areas admiring the complex nature of these… animals? Vegetables? Minerals? It was a rather good mystery regarding taxonomy. How long has it taken for these… things… to evolve such wonderful camouflage? I dare say millions, maybe even billions, of years. Albeit a bit discouraged, I sat upon a log in a clearing. A strange sight it was! The rather metallic trunks of the tree had grown perpendicular branches exactly two meters in length in front of it. Nature has such a mathematical precision about her! Brilliant, I say! It was almost made for sitting.

During my rest, I was greeting by a nymph of the forest. I knew she was magical, as she was as brown as bark and her head bore four great dimples similar to a fort post. She was as stunning as she was mystifying. The dryad before me conveyed a warning. She said I had not respected the ways of the enchanted forest, and must seek my way out. I was simply dismayed! What have I done to offend nature’s garden? Apparently, making a campfire from the magical barrel of tinder and hunting the rolling beasts at the edge of the forest upset the wood nymph. I had always been under the impression that pack animals made for great sport and fine dining. Little did I know my sabre would prove poor armament against the herd and I was quickly routed in the scuffle.

Upon my trek outward, the dryad insisted upon following me. Undoubtedly, this made me quite nervous as nymphs as well as other enchanted creatures of the forest have been known to make mischief upon weary adventurers. I pressed onward quickly, as to confuse the sprite of my location, but she was now hot on my heels. Using leopard-like maneuvers, I began to climb trees and bound from branch to branch. My skill has not be matched by anyone alive to date! There was little fortune in this action though, as one of the trees dropped its limb and I plummeted toward the Earth. My troubles were far from over, as my landing was situated at the top of a ravine. The bulk of my supplies, as well as few articles of clothing, began to scatter themselves along the bank. I was not able to stop, until a boulder proved a sufficient barrier.

An adventurer/physic/scientist/noble does not let adversity stand in the way of their goals. It would be much easier to retire to my estate after such misfortune, and nurse my wounds with gin and tonic. However, the stoutest of hearts share their lives with history pages, and I took heart once again. My bravery was rewarded with treasure. During my equipment check, my assessment noted the loss of one shoe. I do adore my oxblood wingtips, and grieved a bit for its demise but this grief quickly dissipated once I saw a banana-like formation dangling from my extremity. Carefully, I plucked it from its roost upon my big toe and flipped through my illustrated journal. Indeed! It was exactly the material I needed to proceed with my experiment. The enchanted forest had taken pity on me, and blessed my feet with the power of producing this curious product. Truly, science does not always have the answers to Mother Nature’s abilities. I’ll have to instruct Martha, my faithful servant, to notify me of any other produce the next time she is grooming my feet.

Back in my laboratory, I found my work far from over. It would seem this fruit, as it were, is not to the same scale as my hands. A tragedy indeed, as I am unable to manually peel anything of that size. This required some serious thought. I spent most of the evening up in my study researching books of size. Big books, little books, and mid-sized books all held nothing of value. A setback like this could prove the end of any adventure, but there was room for one last try. Sitting on my throne of the glistening white, I recalled a play from Thomas and Gerald where Thomas made a compact meal of Thanksgiving dinner via the use of alum.

The laboratory could not be close enough. I made a makeshift basin of a mixing bowl and a concoction of one part alum and nineteen parts water. Moving quickly meant less time to reconsider, as the bleeding edge of science can terrify any man. I dipped my hands into the mixture and waited. Minutes were hours in this tortuous game of patience. By the benchmark of ten and five minutes, I retracted my palms to examine the result. There was no noticeable change in the size of my hands, only an advance in age as fine wrinkles appeared on my fingers. Complete failure! In a rush of frustration I dashed the bowl upon the floor and swiped several texts from their shelves. This was not going to be a favorable report for the chairman.

Martha, hearing the calamity, burst through my laboratory doors. She was afraid I had turned myself into ghost again and was trying to walk through walls like last time. Upon seeing my distraught state, I reluctantly told her of my misfortunes. Maybe she thought I was practicing my Vaudevillian skills, as she began laughing hysterically. A flush of anger came over me and I erupted with a passionate objection to which she said, “if you want to play around with your toe nails so badly, why not use some tweezers?” Of course, it’s not my hands that need to be small, rather small instruments. I’m very fortunate to be able to translate plebeian observation into useful scientific action.

With two tweezers and a pair of loops “borrowed” from the jewelry store down the road, I hit my biggest break yet. The texture of the fruit revealed several horizontal lines, something like baklava.  The tweezers were a bit clumsy at times, but with a little effort I found a person could peel portions off the clippings like a banana. Burning Bunsens, it actually worked! I was left with a rough inner core, which was presumably the edible reward of my toil.

The “meat” of the fruit was crispy, flaky, and had a slight nutty taste. A bit dry, I found myself in need of a beverage afterward. It was truly of Divine inspiration overall. Wait until the chairman hears my report! He’ll be delighted beyond words.

As you can see, my dear reader, anything is possible with a lion’s heart and a terrier’s tenacity. You’d do well to remember that on your future journeys. Until next time, I bid you adieu.

Yours Very Truly,

N. A. C. H. Elderwine XIII, Esq.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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10 thoughts on “Something Quite Appeeling

  1. Nicole says:

    He can peel his toenail clippings like bananas?! It sounds like somebody needs to start taking a daily multivitamin.

  2. I am so glad I am done eating for the day…………..my toenails are blue at the moment……….

  3. I think you’ve solved this hunger thing. Everyone’s walking around with edible extremities to hands and feet. No wonder they call it a “hand” of bananas. Pity those poor fools who eat bananas instead of nail parings.

  4. laurasmess says:

    There’s something about toenails that makes me squirm. I’m not sure why, as all of us have them semi-permanently stuck to our southern extremities (I say ‘semi-permanently’ as they can be quite easily dislodged during a game of soccer. Yes, we occasionally play soccer without shoes. Don’t judge). I can’t believe this gentleman ate his toenail. I’m all for science, but the consumption of personal body products should be outlawed (yes, that includes boogers. Especially boogers!)

    • It’s all done in the style of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote. It’s intentionally outlandish to be comical. 🙂

      • laurasmess says:

        I have read Don Quixote. Waaay back in the early years of uni but I did recognise the style similarities. I didn’t seriously think that someone ate his toenail. Well… perhaps some people do but perhaps not in this context! You did really well with this piece. But toenails are still gross.

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