Pepper pot fingers

By | 8 April, 2011
Hands, some of which belong to a model, yesterday

Hands, some of which belong to a model, yesterday

Back through the mists of time when I was a small child during the halcyon and sunny decade that was the 1980’s, I often thought about what my job might be when I was all grown up.

This is, of course, not wildly unusual; with many a small boy yearning to grow up to be a racing driver or a train driver (I think it’s the membership of the Transport and General Workers Union that particularly appeals to the five year old train driver to be).

I, however, was different.

At the tender age of five, I knew that modelling was the career for me. But by then I had already realised I had the lop-sided face of an irascible pug licking mustard off a nettle, so general modelling was clearly out. But what could I do, what could I do? That was it – hand modelling!

As you will all, of course, know; hand modelling is a very specific type modelling where only your hands are in shot (the name kind of gives it away). You know the sort of photograph – the manly hand in the advert that clutches the can of foaming beer, the hand and wrist that shows off the trendy cufflinks. Yep! That was the career for me.

My early research showed that hand modelling was a cut-throat, dog-eat-dog (sorry Neville) industry and that I would have to be something special to get ahead. So I worked hard, got a clutch of GCSEs and bunch of A levels in difficult subjects (I had a bias towards to the arts, but don’t hold that against me). I then studied through arduously long days and nights to get a degree in law. All the while I slathered my hands in expensive creams, lotions and tonics; avoided manual labour and kept my nails beautifully manicured.

So far, so good. But I still didn’t feel I was ready to become the hand model I’d always dreamt of being. So I took a temporary McJob as a specialist in Internet-based intellectual property – something we’ve all done in times of need – to tide myself over in the meantime.

Seven long years elapsed and on 6th December 2005 I finally felt ready to resign from my job to at last become a hand model. But the very next day disaster struck and I was diagnosed with Type One diabetes.

Almost immediately I started testing my blood glucose six, seven or even eight times a day and before long I had developed the “pepper pot” fingers that are the internationally recognised badge of diabetes. No reputable agency would employ a hand model whose finger tips were covered in the tiny black spots inherent in ;

30 thoughts on “Pepper pot fingers

  1. Alison

    @Tim I’m devastated to hear that diabetes has stopped you achieving such an admirable dream. I have an idea. Surely you could establish a niche hand modelling agency that specialises in models who have hands with special features – fingers missing, pepperpot speckling, blood under the nails from where they didn’t quite stop the blood test bleed quick enough etc. Reach for the stars boy!

  2. Tim Post author

    @Alison – the agency could also include people with warty hands, ragged cuticles and those wee white bits in their nails. There’s a definite niche here.

  3. Claire

    Diabetes stole my dream of being a full time chocolate taster – doh! Have taken it up part time instead πŸ™‚

  4. Tim Post author

    *shakes fist at heavens* “Diabetes! You ruined all my dreams!!”

  5. Annette A

    I (apparently) said I was going to work in the place where they made the ‘little bottles with the squidgy bit on top’. ie insulin vials. No idea why. Or how I then ended up in admin/publishing.

  6. Megs

    Not just hands for me, it was the whole supermodel thing. Sadly those size zero dress designers hadn’t given a thought for where I could clip my pump.

  7. Alison

    @katie Good plan, I used to test on my toes sometimes as a child for a bit of variety. I guess that must have scuppered my foot modelling career though.

  8. Mike

    @tim , @katie & @alison ; Oh that would be great, a posse of pancreatically challenged beings taking of said shoes n socks to test their feet whilst at a fine dining eatery..

  9. lizz

    He he, I read recently about other places for blood tests and couldn’t get the resulting images I conjured of black spotted ear-lobes out of my head. I had to have counseling.

    My main problem has been upper arm bulges. At risk of boasting, I am a slim woman. All over except the important areas. BUT years of injecting short-acting insulin into my upper arms left me vying with Popeye for the recently spinached ‘look’.

    This put paid to quite a few womanly pastimes – wearing pretty short-sleeved frocks for example. I have stuck with buttoned at the wrist sleeves in case I should flap and expose my deformity. Things have improved and they have got a little better over the years of pump use, but I still always wear sleeves at least half way down my arm.

    I have not swum, especially now I have a needle in my leg.

    Thank you Tim, for allowing me to get this off my ample, natural and in no way insulin enhanced bosom. I feel a little better now, particularly as I feel as if I’m not the only one who has had to give up something important.

    By the way Tim, they can probably airbrush out your holes, nowadays…

  10. Hairy Gnome

    I was already at the pinnacle of my career as a Master Treacle Bender when I was viciously struck down by T2ishness. No longer could I bend treacle barehanded, or lick my sticky fingers after a long and invigorating session of Treacle Bending, my world was in tatters. Physically and mentally debilitated, I have had to live out my life in penury, punching pins into pepper-pot paws and puncturing my paunch.

  11. Scotty

    I got told to only use 3 fingers on each hand. And only the edge of each finger at that. Meaning a load of stigmata per finger in the same general areas. (But 4 virgin fingers). Is this really the norm?

  12. Scotty

    @Tim So maybe all is not lost. You could still model for thumbs up or pointing at things pics πŸ™‚

  13. Alison

    @scotty That’s interesting, I’ve always used all digits for a bit of variation. I wonder if one of the benefits of being diagnosed so young is that I can’t remember what I was told initially so I tend to experiment more!

  14. Alison

    @liz I used to test on my ear lobes occassionally as a child (I’m sure you’re building quite a picture of the fun and frollics of my childhood! Bored? Let’s try a blood test on your ear)

    Now I’m intrigued, why have you not swum?

  15. Mike

    A good reason not to test on thumb/forefinger is that over time the nerve endings on our fingers will invariably become damaged therefore losing some sensitivity.

    With thumb/forefinger being the most important digits, one way to help protect them. Virgin digits as @tim mentioned.

  16. lizz

    Hmm, my digit insensitivity is legendary. Actually, I’ve been testing right on the pads of all my fingers for 30 years and never noticed myself, but I put that down to doing so many tests I always have some white blood cells there ready to clean up and make good.

    I don’t swim cos:

    Chlorine is poisonous
    I have a needle going in my leg
    I get eczema after swimming
    I hate getting changed afterwards
    I live miles from a swimming pool and I can’t drive

  17. Tim Post author

    I don’t really swim because:

    I don’t really like swimming in tepid water that people have pee’d in…!

  18. Mike

    We have a communal pool situated directly in front “mi Casa”, but do get the occasional spillage which brings with it an enforced closure.. Especially from people who are holidaying.. Just heading off to **Vomit** 【ツ】

  19. Alison

    @mikeinspain I seem to have taken the exact opposite approach to finger protection – like injection sites, I just spread the finger pricks around as much as I can over all fingers and pad/both sides on each finger so nowhere gets too much poking. So far so good as they’re nice and soft to the touch and can still feel everything. Fingers crossed that continues!

    @Liz That’s fair collection of reasons for not swimming! I don’t swim that often any more, but I do like it (I just close my mind to the whole wee issue!). I used to swim a lot as child and remember my dad walking alongside the pool giving me dextrose tablets as I was doing one of my long distance badges.

  20. Mike

    @alison : I may have mentioned that I heard it was a great idea to leave some digits alone, I never mentioned I adhere to that policy.. Sometimes, you a nice juicy droplet..

    I would have thought you would be more of a aqua baby with all that sailing behind ya. 【ツ】

  21. Cecile

    I only became aware of my pepper pots in 2005, after refilling a printer with black ink…since then, I think I’m good advertising for all dotty tattoo artists πŸ™‚ (without dots, my claws’ll only be of use to an albino lobster fashion show :()

    I practice manual crop rotation: every other day, I change hands and use the ruling party fingers to give me blood before breakfast, lunch, supper and bedtime, while the opposition (thumb) is reserved for after & in between.

  22. Alison

    @mikeinspain I love to swim, but I don’t swim in the sea when we’re sailing. Nothing to do with diabetes, I have a completely irrational fear of fish and it takes a very long time to get me swimming in the sea even if I can’t see any fish. It’s ridiculous!

  23. Mike

    @ckoei Cecile, I suppose would could try drawing a dot to dot on the fingers, see what sort of pattern emerges.

    @alison Tend not, to do too much swimming in sea, so no irrational fear of fish undercutting me whilst paddling away. 【ツ】

  24. Lesley from

    Ah – be careful of stirring up deeply repressed emotion!

    I had planned to be a smile model, but at the tender age of 1 my mum started to force-feed me with sucrose. The result was Type 1 D and all my teeth and teeth-to-be fell out, so I saved them for a lucrative dolls house piano stool-making business. Unfortunately my plans were sabotaged by the tooth fairy.

  25. Cecile

    @lesley1966: So if your teeth & pancreatic betas were still intact, would you’ve been named Morley…or Lotty? πŸ˜€


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