Did Obama have a “coke nail” at Occidental?

Unlike Bill Clinton, Barack Obama has admitted that he did drugs when he was young:

In the book [Dreams from My Father], Obama acknowledges that he used cocaine as a high school student but rejected heroin. “Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though,” he says.

We know from David Maraniss’ Choom Gang reports that Obama didn’t just flirt with pot. Instead, he was a serious stoner in high school.  As far as I know, though, no reporter has tied Obama to long-term cocaine use.  Obama’s own statement — “maybe a little blow when you could afford it” — implies that his contacts with cocaine were few and far between.  The distinction between chronic pot and chronic cocaine use matters because, while most adult Americans are fairly sanguine about marijuana, the same cannot be said about cocaine.  The former is viewed as a “soft” drug; the latter is not.

I wonder, though, if Obama was as honest about his cocaine use as he could have been.  I was watching The Choice 2012, a PBS Frontline production that provides side-by-side biographies of Romney and Obama.  I won’t comment on the show’s merits, although I found it dismaying, as always, to see that on this taxpayer-subsidized show, the only experts the producers interviewed came from left of center publications.  Considering that inherent bias, however, the show was fairly even-handed.

Anyway, TV being a visual medium, when it came to discussing Obama’s Occidental College years, Frontline included a lot of photographs.  I either hadn’t seen the photographs before, or I hadn’t seen them on a large screen, HD television.  Take this photo, for example:

Superficially, at least on my ordinary computer screen, it shows Obama hanging with a friend, Hasan Chandoo, back in 1981.  (Chandoo, incidentally, is the friend with whom he traveled to Pakistan back in 1981, a trip Obama assiduously avoids discussing.)

Seen on a widescreen, HD TV, however, there’s something very interesting about the photograph:

Do you notice that Obama’s thumb and pointer finger have unusually long nails, while the other nails on his left hand are cropped close? I didn’t notice this fact because I was looking for dirt on Obama. I noticed it because I think long fingernails on men are gross. (Sorry, guys. If it’s any consolation, I don’t much like long fingernails on women either.)

Nor would I have thought about those two icky fingernails if I hadn’t just the week before read a Daily Mail squiblet questioning whether Carrie Fisher displayed “coke nails” in a scene from Return of the Jedi, a film she made when she was deep into her cocaine habit:

An overeager Reddit user has observed that the actress, best known for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy, appears to have an overgrown ‘coke nail’ on both hands.

The ‘coke nail’ is grown longer than the other nails for cocaine addicts to scoop drugs quickly instead of racking up lines, and is considered to be for addicts or ‘fiends on the go’.

(Coke nails, incidentally, are often on the pinkie finger, but the specific nail really depends on the user’s preference.)

I’ll be the first to admit that, on the information now available, there is absolutely no way to prove whether Obama used serious amounts of cocaine at Occidental. Nevertheless, given that he has admitted in a half-hearted way to using cocaine in high school, and given that the two over-grown nails on his left hand look remarkably like “coke nails,” it is interesting to speculate whether he has been honest about his college drug use.  It’s equally possible that “Obama the chameleon” was playing around with a tough-guy persona, or that he just had haphazard personal hygiene.  None of the possibilities are very flattering to the man occupying America’s White House.

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  • weathtd

    The 1981 trip to Pakistan that State has no evidence he ever had a US passport for.  What country’s passport did he use?  Not trying to start a “birther” argument, but we STILL don’t know who this guy is.

  • Charles Martel

    This photo takes me back. The place where it was taken is “The Cooler,” a cafe in the Oxy student union where undergrads come to take a study break and hang out with friends. I used to hang out there as a townie back in the late 60s. Made some good friends there. The look of the place hasn’t changed. In fact, the curtains still look like the same ones that were there 45 years ago. 

  • SADIE

    And the gold ring he wore then and now?   Pah-kee-stan vacation on an Indonesian passport sounds reasonable. Coke nails – go figure. I looked at the photo and thought pick n’ flick nails. ;)    

  • Gringo

    It would not surprise me to find out ∅bama was a cokehead when at Occidental. After all, he was a leading member of the Choom Gang in high school. But my overall reaction would be “So what else is new?” What I found most interesting about his time at Occidental was his stating in Dreams that

    To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students.The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets.

    He was already a poser. In light of that statement from Dreams, I found very interesting John Drew recounting his meeting ∅bama when he was a recent Oxy graduate and ∅bama was an Oxy student. ∅bama was a radical/Marxist in 1980, AFTER the invasion of Afghanistan. That says a lot- a lot more than his allegedly being a cokehead. OTOH, it might be said that anyone who after the invasion of Afghanistan would be a Marxist/far leftist, as John Drew showed, is thinking as coherently as a cokehead on a high.
     
    I see ∅bama as a college sophomore who hasn’t learned a thing in 30 years.

  • http://furtheradventuresofindigored.blogspot.com/ Indigo Red

    One long fingernail has been and Asian tradition for centuries probably starting in China. It is primarily for good luck, but is also used as a status symbol. In pre-Communist China, scholars were considered the cream of the crop on the social ladder; the belief was that academics was the noblest endeavor, that manual labor was beneath them. So they kept long finger nails to show their intellectual identity and that they never did any manual labor. Indonesia, like most Asian countries, has been heavily influenced by Chinese culture and habits. I’ve worked with men from China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos who all have had at least one long fingernail, either pinkie or index. The only lengthy thumb nail was on a guitar player. 

    The Obama may have the longer nails for cultural reasons. Some guys use them to pick their nose and shovel out their ears. Most likely, The Obama was just a coke head.

  • http://caedmon-innkeeper.blogspot.co.uk/ Caedmon

    Another reason a man might have long nails on thumb and index finger is that he’s a guitar picker. Obama is left-handed, and guitars are another thing young men experiment with at college.
    Must say too,  that I had never heard of coke-nails until now, and that 1980s radicals tended to disapprove of drug use, especially coke-use (soooo bourgeois). 

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  • Mike Devx

    Coke nails were big in the late 70s and early 80s.  I find it hard to imagine Obama as practicing the guitar without a pick, not with any rigor that is – because your fingers would have hurt a great deal and probabiy bled.  Unless you were just a poseur “guitar artist”.  That doesn’t fit Obama at all.  Now the argument that carrying oneself around campus as a with-it intellectual may have required certain of-the-times signals such as a long fingernail… THAT kind of posing I can see Obama doing.  Maybe.

    I’d go with the coke-nail thing, myself. From high school Choom-head to Ivy school coke-nail dilettante is a natural progression.
     

  • MacG

    Is the other dude Freddie Prinze?

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