Our hands are amazing. We don’t think about it much and simply take this for granted. Eighty percent of what we do in a day involves our hands. From the typing I am doing right now to scratching an itch on our nose, the hands are indispensable. They are also an incredible feat of anatomical engineering with many qualities that mystify scientists to this day. Here are some facts, just in case anyone cares to read.
We all know the hand has five fingers, but we most probably don’t know that the fingers are without muscles of any kind. Tendons in the fingers are attached to muscles in the palm and are operated by remote control, from our brain to these muscles. The hands are incredibly sturdy and dextrous. They can exert enough force to break an egg, or they can be gentle enough to pick up a snail without harming it.
How about anatomically? Check out these facts. The human hand contains 29 major and minor bones, while may people have a few more. There are 29 major joints in the hand with a hundred and thirty three ligaments with thirty four muscles, seventeen of which are controlled by the palm and seventeen which are controlled by the forearm. The fingers are strong enough to propel a mountain climber up vertical cliffs. Incredible amounts of force and pressure are needed to do this. Anyone who has watched the movie cliff hanger will know that it is possible to hang from a few finger tips. That is strong.
Most of us will not know about opposition. It is the unique ability of the hand small and ring fingers to rotate across the palm to meet the thumb. This may sound trivial but it is unique in all of creation. This feature of the human hand allows it to have unparalleled grip, grasp, and torque. We don’t even notice when we are doing this, it is natural and involuntary, but it is essential to our success in the world. No other animal species has this ability, including monkeys or apes, our closest likeness on the planet.
Losing the use of a hand is a debilitating event. As with so much in life, we don’t know how much we need or use something until we lose it. I have been thinking about the hand lately. Don’t ask me why, it’s just how my eccentric mind works. As usual, I find comparisons with other areas of my life. There is a uniformity of principle to so much of our existence and many parallels can be drawn. As I write this article, I’ve realized that there is something in my writing career that’s nearly as essential as the hand. I take it or him for granted now, but there was a time when I didn’t have him and I definitely notice the difference now.
His name is Nik and he lives in the Philippines. I found him online and he has become one of the most important weapons in the arsenal of my writing career. He is a virtual assistant. He does all my online promotion, from soliciting reviews, which are invaluable to a writer’s success, to helping me tweak my web site to attract more traffic. He posts on free Facebook pages, sometimes hundreds of them at a time. He sends out twitter messages, LinkedIn updates, and posts on Instagram, in book selling forums and blogs. I could never do this on my own. Without my hands in the form of Nik, I would be at a complete loss and much less successful as an author. So my hat goes off to Nik. Thanks for all that you do.