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Callus

When you play guitar you develop calluses on your fingers, usually just your fret hand, but if you play the way I play you get them on all nine fingers.

It is painful to build up these calluses. Before they are fully formed the strings dig into your fingertips, and as you slide and press your skin become very tender and raw. A burning sensation occurs once you are done playing as blood rushes to the inflamed area.

It takes weeks of heavy play to fully produce them. In the process they peel off or over harden and you have to clip them with nail clippers to smooth them out. It is part of playing guitar that is never really talked about, yet so vital to good sound and playability.

It makes me wonder what other activities in my daily life make me produce a callus.

I suppose people in shitty jobs have to grow a callus to their daily work life. Maybe they love the work, but it is hard or physically demanding, and in order to do it well they have to callus up a bit.

Having a baby in your house will callus you up real quick; the screaming, the constant need for attention, the worry. It sometimes feels like I’m a robot just getting things done in order to go to bed. Not every night, but a lot of them.

Having a long commute in traffic is a callus many people share. It is amazing watching my father, who basically never drove in traffic in his entire working life, get upset in traffic around Detroit. Those of us with hour plus commutes, no worry, I got my callus.

The trick is to keep your calluses healthy. It is good to block out negative people, but not everyone. Don’t be afraid to pull out that nail clipper and chop one down to size every once in a while.

Too many people get large calluses that start to mess with their vantage point. Racism starts with backwards thinking, but evolves as you allow events that support your vantage point build up a callus. Most extreme ideologies work that way, in fact.

Callus free can be just as bad, really. You can easily be hurt or inflamed by the smallest little thing, even a guitar string.