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The Importance of a Thumb

Updated on November 25, 2014
Tacky I know.
Tacky I know.

Not quite sure how under-appreciated the thumb is but I seriously doubt any of you have sat down and had a hard thought on how purposeful and helpful it can be. Well let me take you down that road of thought. Hopefully you'll get a new appreciation for this fifth appendage.


Zippidee Doo Da


If you had no thumbs you wouldn't be able to zip up your pants. Sure you can zip it with the knuckles of your first two fingers. Or if you're nimble enough you could bend over like an acrobatic pro and zip it with your teeth but who wants to go through that back-bending hassle? And even if you could flex your way through it how will you hold that piece of fabric down to allow for easy zipping? Thumbs sure make it a lot easier.

Yellow and Blue Make Green


When was the last time you ziplocked a bag for the kiddos for their ham and cheese sammies? Or even for that on-the-go hubby of yours? (How sweet of you by the way.) What digits did you use? Was it your index and pinky? Or the middle and third? Nope, it was the index and thumb. Now if push came to shove you could place the ziplocked bag on a flat surface and close it. Or buy one of those fancy bags with the zipper tab. That would make it easier if not having thumbs was an issue. Just don't expect to do it the old fashioned way with thumbs.

Hun Can You Button Me Up?


Nope, sure can't. Don't count on your hubby buttoning up that sexy button-up-the-back red number that makes him go wild. Without thumbs, getting that small disc in that tiny slit now becomes a carny trick. "How will he do it folks?" says the tricksmaster. It's almost impossible to pull off that feat. Go ahead, try it without thumbs and be amazed.

Could Someone Tie My Shoe?


Having trouble tying a bow or making a knot? Well without thumbs it becomes a task that is quite difficult. With some practice a few times with the index fingers it's not completely impossible without the use of thumbs. But prepare to trip over your laces all day or having to continuously re-tie that bow tie (yes some people still entertain the bow tie as a fashion statement) over and over because they're more than likely to come undone. Thumbs give you that extra hmmph and pressure to tie a tighter unwavering knot.

Oh Snap! That's My Jam!


Might as well get used to clapping to your fave song all the time because snapping to it is outta the question now. I dare you find another way to snap to the beat. Without thumbs you'll only be knee slapping and toe tapping. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Sweety Open This For Me


Got that jar that needs opening? Without that handy dandy thumb it's not as easy to twist off the lid of your Auntie Eugena's prized canned peaches. You may not use the tips of your thumb to unscrew a jar top but you do use the knuckle and base portion of it. If you were thumbless, it's canned goods and the electric can opener for you from here on out.

Pass Me A Cold One


Pick up a glass of juice (what'd you think I meant?). Who's all by their lonesome on that one side of the glass? The thumb. You will have no choice but to double hand it if you have no thumbs. This also goes along with picking up a bowl. The thumb is definitely needed to one handedly pick up cups and bowls. And let's not even get into silverware and plates. Man, this little guy is most useful.

Vroom Vroom


You're ready to hit the highway. Not so fast. If you've ever noticed you use your thumb and index finger when you turn the key. Sure nowadays cars are push to start but some still aren't. Turning a key or doing anything with that similar motion is going to come with a slight adjustment. You would have to use the knuckles of your first two fingers to readjust but you have to admit the thumb is handy here.

Super Speed Text


In this day and age thumbs are crucial in the delivery of communication. Most people hold their texting-capable phones horizontally with their phone perched atop three curled fingers while cradled with the index fingers at the top corners. And where are those thumbs? Gliding across the keyboard making sweet bits of text across the screen. Even holding it vertically requires the aid of some serious thumbage. So what do you do with no thumbs? I'm pretty sure if we were all made without them Steve Jobs would have implemented voice texting very swiftly because if he didn't we'd all be slowly pecking away without our index fingers.

Naturally this isn't to make fun of those that are missing this underestimated appendage but to give some awareness of how awesome it is. Not to mention how useful it can be in our day to day lives. Without it there are tons of things that we wouldn't be able to do with such ease as we do now. And for those that are missing thumbs or whole hands they are truly extraordinary for being able to find ways to compensate for not having them.


Other Not-So-Hot Uses Of the Thumb

  • Pinching - Unless you're pinching pie crusts this shouldn't be used.
  • Hitchhiking - A practice that I'm sure is still in use but for safety and potential murderous reasons should be banned.
  • Thumbs Down - This can be a harsh form of letting someone know how you feel. Don't like a guy? Thumbs down. Don't like that restaurant? Thumbs down. Don't like the way milk comes out of your girlfriend's nose when she laughs? Well you get the picture.
  • Snapping to Get Someone's Attention - This is a pesky form of grabbing one's attention and should be returned with a slap to the annoying snapper's nose.
  • Sticking It In Pies - Little Jack Horner did and he's the only one that should be glorified for it.
  • Rule of Thumb - Hopefully this will remain an old and buried rule. If you don't know what the phrase stems from it's a rule that once allowed a man to be able to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Well let him try it today and he'll be reading this to figure out what he can no longer do without thumbs.

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