I’ve been having trouble with my thumbs lately, especially my left thumb. Kind of odd, since I’ve never had thumb issues before. An unpleasant tingle every so often, and a bit of…I wouldn’t call it pain, more like discomfort. Nothing terrible. Nothing harsh enough to require Ibuprofen or other pain reliever. But unusual enough to notice.

So the other day while playing Pokemon Go, I noticed that my phone rested in the area between my thumb and forefinger—right on the tingly nerve. Hmmm. Could it be that I have developed Pokemon Thumb? But no. Later in the day I texted my daughter and noticed the same unpleasant tingle. Still later, as I drew a picture of a bicycle in Draw Something, the tingle returned. In bed that night, as I played Subway Surfer while I waited for sleep to come… yep. More tingling.

A little Googling seemed to be in order. (Yes, on my phone.) Turns out I don’t have Pokemon Thumb. I have something called Smartphone Thumb. It’s a real Thing. A doctor has even posted ten ways to alleviate Smartphone Thumb. (See them here.)

So I’ve been thinking. Opposable thumbs have been credited as being the defining trait that separates humans from animals. (Though there are some animals with opposable thumbs.) I read an article  that credits the thumb for the development of human language and especially written language, which enables them to store and pass on information. Not to mention the creation of art and music. The thumb, therefore, is largely responsible for human beings advancing to the cultural and technological state we have achieved.

So I ask you – how intelligent is it that we use that technology to such an extreme that we cause damage to that all-important appendage?

Uh…excuse me. I need to put my phone down now and go stretch my thumb.

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