CREDOS:Good to have a friend — I

Mm, good coffee,” said my next door neighbor, Virginia, pushing aside the folded laundry on my couch. “What kind? And what’d you do to your finger?”

“You noticed,” I said gingerly holding my cup between my thumb and third finger. “Chocolate Raspberry and I bit my nail and cuticle back too far.”

“You’re a nail biter?”

she asked.

“Yeah,” I admitted.

“It’s my life-long, childhood habit.”

“When do you do it?” she asked, leaning over the coffee table and eyeballing me.

I straightened a little. “When do I do what?

Make flavored coffee? Only when you come over. Bill doesn’t like it. He says it is women’s coffee.”

“Your nails, silly,” she said, laughing. “When do you bite your nails?”

I shrugged. “How do I know? All the time, I guess. If I don’t bite them, I pick them off. It really only hurts when I get them too short or get an infection.”

Virginia gasped. “You got an infection from biting your nails?”

“Uh-huh,” I said, “It happens when my wounded little fingers go swimming in dishwater.” I tried to be nonchalant, but Virginia wouldn’t turn loose.

“I’ll help you quit,” she volunteered.

“It’s a lost cause,” I countered. “I’ve tried to quit all my life. When I was a little girl my aunt offered me five dollars to quit, but I couldn’t.”

“Well, for the next two weeks I’m going to come over every morning and give you a manicure,” she announced. “Together we’re going to kick your habit!”

“Every morning?” I said in disbelief. “What do you think you’re going to manicure, the ends of

my fingers?”

“You’ll see,” she said.

“I’ll stay just long enough to do your nails.” —