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‘It’s real, dude’: Westport resident’s long thumb has made him famous on social media

The Internet loves this Westport resident’s enormous thumb
TikTok is in awe at the size of Jacob Pina's thumb. Absolute unit. (Courtesy Jacob Pina)

People across the Internet can’t stop talking about Jacob Pina’s extremely long appendage.

They’re sharing pictures and videos of it widely, and brazenly commenting on his anatomy.

“Human biology does not allow that,” one flabbergasted person wrote on Twitter this week.

Someone else questioned whether or not it was even real. How could it be? Is it digitally manipulated?

But Pina, a 20-year-old Westport resident who recently shot to viral fame after posting videos of his roughly four-and-a-half-inch thumb to the popular video app TikTok, assures the detractors, the non-believers, and all the critics out there that the fifth digit on his right hand is indeed authentic.

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No sleight of hand here, he says. Just a guy with a thumb. A very long thumb.

“No app. No photoshop, and it’s not a Snapchat filter. It’s real. It’s real, dude,” said Pina, a sophomore at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. “Everybody says, ‘That’s fake man, you’re using some sort of trick.’ Nope. I don’t photoshop. I don’t do anything like that.”

Pina said he first noticed that his thumb was a bit different than the thumbs of his peers when he was a freshman in high school. A friend pointed it out one day, and soon they began to joke about its size.

“For me, I’m [5’ 10”], so it’s weird on my hand,” he said. “It’s out of place. All my fingers are long, so when I stretch out my hand it kind of looks normal. But when I stick it up, it looks crazy.”

Pina said his thumb looks longer than the thumb on his left hand, and other people’s thumbs, because it’s straightened out, and lacks the bend common in most thumbs.

Recently, someone encouraged Pina to post a video of his thumb to TikTok, which has become the go-to space for creating and sharing humorous video clips with music.

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A little over a week ago, Pina fired up his account and showed off his hand.

“Hey guys, so this is my thumb. Yes, it’s very long. Yes it’s real, and yes — I’ve never lost a thumb battle,” he says in the video, before knocking over a water bottle with the tip of his thumb.

Pina said he used a few popular hashtags to get more eyes on the video. Within minutes, the “likes” and comments started pouring in.

“In an hour it had 20,000 likes, and I was like, ‘No way dude,’” he said. “People were like, ‘What the hell is that?!’ and they liked it and shared it.”

As of Thursday morning, the initial video of his thumb, swinging wildly through the air before striking a Poland Springs bottle, had racked up more than 2 million likes and thousands of curious remarks.

Pina’s renown is just the latest example of how ordinary people become briefly and weirdly famous, entertaining a worldwide audience within moments of posting seemingly random content to a popular online platform.

Since the first post, Pina, who says his thumb lets him text with one hand, has tried to get creative and expand his video portfolio, sometimes going out of his way to prove that it’s legitimately as long as it looks.

To do so, he made a video of himself battling someone in a thumb war. Another clip shows him hitting his thumb against his bed sheets. A third shows his thumb bouncing up and down to music in front of a Dunkin’ store. Pina has even started sharing the videos to Twitter and Instagram.

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To prove his thumb’s authenticity, Pina agreed to FaceTime with a Globe reporter, and proceeded to wiggle it around as proof. Then he offered his mother as a reference.

“This is his thumb. This is his thumb. I can totally settle this. I can concur,” said his mother, Karen Pragana. “That’s what it looks like in person. When he holds it up, and makes this fist and sticks it out, that’s what it looks like.”

Pragana said she was never concerned about her son’s thumb when they noticed how long it was getting growing up.

“He never had trouble using his hands or anything like that. He’s very lanky, and I have always said, you have piano fingers — or surgeon’s fingers. But no, it was never a concern,” she said. “I always joked with him that it got that way from gaming. He’s a big-time avid gamer.”

She said she was surprised watching the video go viral on TikTok the night her son posted it.

“He came over to me and said, ‘Mom, I did something,’ and he showed me the little video — you know 30 seconds, it was so funny,” she said of her son, who she described as low-key and quiet. “We could literally see the notifications coming in.”

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While the attention has been very sudden, Pina said he’s basking in the moment — as well as his unique digit.

“I like it, I embrace it, it’s not a thing that I’m ashamed of,” he said. “It’s just a thumb. But hey, I’ll take it.”


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.