"Is this normal?"

Have you ever had a conversation that began with the above words, progressed to a friend bending their elbow the wrong way or turning their nostril inside out, and ended with everyone else saying “NO! That’s not normal, you freak!”?


That’s not normal?


Is this normal?

Every time I get a paper cut, nick, scrape, or other kind of boo-boo on one of my hands, it seems to multiply over the next few days, leaving me with teeny tiny cuts and scabs all over both hands. In the latest example, I sliced open the iPhone touchscreen / laptop trackpad-using part of my right index finger early last week, and looking at my hands now, I have a total of six independently-acquired boo-boos on my right hand and two on my left, all in various stages of healing. Most of them are right on a knuckle, too, for added ouchies. I can understand an accumulation of cuts on the same hand as the original injury – it hurt like a bastard and probably made me clumsier and more prone to other injuries than normal – but I have no idea why I always end up with a cluster on the other hand too.

Ah well, at least I’m no longer in the lab. Profusion of cuts + latex gloves = grossness. (This is how I first observed the phenomenon, by the way. Latex gloves are a great way to identify microscopic cuts you didn’t even know you had).

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
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6 Responses to "Is this normal?"

  1. chall says:

    oh, I had those conversations all the time…. "is this normal" and then I realized that it was better to keep some of my thoughts and questions to myself ;)sounds bad with the cuts though. I don't have that problem, although I usually do cut myself working with paper and being stressed…

  2. RPS77 says:

    A couple of possibilities from my own experience: – You may have gotten at least some of the cuts and bruises at the same time you got the original one, but not have noticed them because they were smaller, less painful, and/or didn't start bleeding immediately. This could account for at least a few of them. – For me at least, having one hand with a bad cut or cuts effects how I move and use both hands. You might be using the other hand for things that you usually don't without even consciously registering it, and since you're using it differently from usual while paying most attention to the other hand, you're even more likely to pick up small injuries.Or I could be totally wrong – I'm just throwing out a possible explanation.

  3. Bob O'H says:

    I often get several cuts like that at about the same time. The culprit is presently staring at me trying to persuade me it's tea time.

  4. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Chall, yes, you have to pick your battles, so to speak!Paper cuts are an occupational hazard for me, too. Mr E Man won't let me complain, though, given that running his hand through a table saw is one among many of his own hazards…RPS77, the first cut was definitely a single one – I was running my finger around the lid of a plastic tub of Greek salad to open it up, but opened up my finger (and bled all over my friend's kitchen) instead, which serves me right for destroying the planet, really. But you might be right that I use my left hand for some right hand tasks when my right hand is injuredBob, amazingly enough, not one of my current cuts is cat-related, although I have a couple of scars that are.

  5. ScienceGirl says:

    Want to know, "Is this normal?"There is an app for that.(Seriously. With that title.)

  6. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    AHA! Found it! (It's actually called "is it normal"). I didn't buy it, but love the idea of people voting on your little quirks to tell you whether you're a freak or not. Especially since most people who buy it will probably be at least slightly freaky themselves!

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