Suck-a-thumb14

Prelude

In the beginning, in the darkness, it floated into my mouth and then stuck. I had discovered my thumb or rather it had discovered me. I was addicted.

Blog Post: by Sampson

By the time I was four it became apparent that I would never be able to stop sucking my thumb. Despite the protestations of my mother and most particularly my father – ’You stupid little baby’ – I could not face the world without a wet thumb pushed through my lips caressing the roof of my mouth. The sensation of sweet, boney fleshiness was how I imagined a pig might feel about its trotter were it to mistakenly suck upon it while gobbling rotting brussels or snuffling in the mud. By fourteen my thumb was sufficiently central to my continued existence that, when other boys were trying to look cool by hanging about sucking on cigarettes, I was still hanging about sucking my thumb. As you can imagine this created a distance between me and others of my age such that the only bond with other creatures I felt were those either engaged in the same act as me, or its derivatives. Toddlers in push-chairs, babies at the breast and any number of suckling baby animals, in particular pigs.

As my parents ran a pig farm my familiarity with pigs outweighed any other beings. Their capacity to eat and digest everything thrown into the pen including discarded version of their own species or even their own children fascinated me. Consequently my internet bookmarks catalogued all species of pigs from wild and obscure Asian ones, to mainstream types similar to ours. I also relished images and videos of suck-a-thumbs that I arranged in a convenient hierarchy from the relatively rare, actual thumb sucking (adult, child, baby) to tangential links to dummies, bottles, teats and alike.  I was aware that this interest could be perceived as unhealthy for a teenager so I ensured that neither my mother or father could gain access to my computer by securing it with a password ‘suck-a-thumb14.’ My parents were farmers so there was little danger of them gaining access to my computer both of them being uneducated in matters technical and only really clever with pigs.

Now in my twenties I have a computer and I have started this video blog to realise two ambitions. One to provide some tips for thumb sucking, and two…

Video:

“…well that will be a surprise for later.

My three tips for thumb sucking are displayed on the screen now:

  1. The perfect thumb should be cold and wet and smell of Brussels sprouts.
  2. A dry thumb is just a step a step toward a wet one.
  3. A warm thumb is the price you pay for sucking

Thumb sucking cannot be rushed.  A snatched thumb suck is a wasted one. Better to wait until you have the time to invest in the activity. They say the place to ‘suck-a-thumb’ is in bed, on your own at sleeping time, so to be polite and not annoy people I don’t suck-a-thumb where people can see me. Well only you, and my parents. Besides what’s the point if there’s someone to talk to. You sound dumb talking with your thumb in your mouth and don’t you look stupid!

My dad likes to call me stupid whenever I suck my thumb. This doesn’t stop me and it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as he thinks it does. Given that he is a stupid farmer that knows nothing and I have I have read all of Shakespeare all of a Dickens and all of the Bible as well as the AA book of British Mammals and all the maps we have in the house and I have a computer, it’ s funny that he calls me stupid. If I am that stupid I wouldn’t have found out all the important stuff I have found out on the internet. For example, Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, got his lines wrong. My father does not know that, as it has nothing to do with pigs. If the first person on the moon was a pig then he would know it. He thinks he knows everything. My father knows that sucking your thumb means you are a baby. He says he never ever sucked his thumb, not even as a baby, not even in the womb. Although, how he knows that, is anyone’s guess

Anyway, back to the tips. The first one is the most important. A new thumb is dry and tepid but an old thumb soaked in saliva, out of the mouth for several seconds will be cold, damp and smelling of Brussels sprouts.

Here in Yorkshire we eat Brussel sprouts at Christmas. Here on the farm the pigs love them too. They get all the messed up ones we eat the good ones. Dad says Brussel sprouts are good for you unlike thumb sucking. Brussel sprouts make you strong unlike thumb sucking. Thumb sucking is more than stupid it’s evil he says.

This Christmas, while we were eating dinner and I was thumb sucking between mouthfuls of turkey and roast potatoes, dad was shouting “Sampson, you are a stupid baby” so ferociously  I got frightened and confused and thinking I was biting into a nice buttery Brussel I bit into my thumb. Well it didn’t hurt much but blood poured down my wrist onto Mum’s Christmas cloth, into my plate, all over the place. Dad began screaming stuff I can’t say on this video. Mum was sponging the Christmas cloth with her napkin, picking out the blood-soaked parsnips from my plate and telling me to go and wash my hands.  She was crying. At the kitchen sink I realised I had actually bitten off a  piece of my thumb so I spat it into a tissue to keep it. We finished without saying another word. Once I had finished the Christmas pudding, while dad slept in front of the TV and mum washed up, I savoured the bit of thumb preserved in the tissue.

I had bitten through a bit just under the pad.  This proved to be a lucky accident. Closer to the nail all I would have produced would have been a blood blackened nail and we wouldn’t be here now. I had no hesitation in popping the fragment into my mouth. It seemed so familiar like a single grain of rice pudding and jam left over from tea.  At first I sucked. This was exquisite. The familiar thumb taste was now laced with one less familiar, somewhere between soil and sweat, between beetroot and plums and as I chewed, a texture neither too firm nor too soft. I swallowed and a peculiar calm descended on me. I knew from the bible that this was a religious experience, something that would change my life.

Needless to say the pleasure was beyond words, even Shakespeare’s words. I was addicted.

Since Christmas I have developed my taste. I have stopped sucking my thumb but continue biting it. My parents are delighted. I explain my gloved right hand as a means of dissuading me from relapsing and a crucial step toward conquering my addiction. Dad has stopped calling me stupid and mum has stopped crying. They are both happy.

But that can’t be right.

I promised a surprise and here it comes!

I hold up my gloved hand to the camera.  I offer it to you all, all the suck-a-thumbs of the world, all the cool boys with their cigarettes, all the mums and dads swearing and cursing their silly baby boys, all the kittens, the babies at breast, to myself and my thumb in the dark in the womb .

This little piggy went to market – little finger

This little piggy stayed at home – ring finger

This little piggy had sliced bread – middle finger

This little piggy had none – first finger

And this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home

(Sampson bites his thumb off.)

End of video

End of blog post

Postlude

Sampson. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I do bite my thumb, sir.

William Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet. Act 1, scene 1.

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