all thumbs

Trying to get through the day without using a thumb makes me appreciate how great it is to have thumbs. Not that I’m saying this kind of introspection is worth mutilating myself for. I would’ve been just as happy if I’d read about it and thought, Golly gosh, yeah, how great is it to have thumbs? What would I do if I couldn’t use them?

I was in the middle of a DIY project last weekend, trying to undo a latch with the blade of a screwdriver when it slipped and cut the tip of my thumb right down to the meat, just off the upper left corner of my thumbnail. There wasn’t a lot of blood at first, but there was more than enough pain, so much that I couldn’t form a coherent sentence out of my stock of toobox cuss words, and instead just stood there with my teeth clenched together, sucking wind.

There was soon more than enough blood, however, and with it, my first dilemma: How was I going to put my home improvement project back together without the use of a thumb? It’s kind of a crucial appendage if you want to use a wrench, or hold on to a screw while you’re getting it started, or almost anything at all to do with taking things apart and putting them back together.

So here’s what I did: I bled like a wounded animal all over everything, because you know what? All the work I was doing was under the sink anyway. The only guy who’s ever going to see it is the next plumber to work on that sink, and I don’t know for sure but I think maybe most plumbers have bled their way through one or two jobs. So I just bled everywhere, clenching my teeth when I accidentally jammed my thumb once or twice. When I was done I wiped everything down with a wet rag, of course. I’m not a complete slob.

After I cleaned up the work area, I staggered off to the bathroom to clean myself up. Well, B helped me clean myself up, because she’s selfless and wonderful and I asked her for help in a pitiful, quavering voice. Turns out it’s hard to clean yourself up when you’re missing the use of one thumb.

Actually, it turns out there are a couple million things you do with your thumbs that you don’t realize until you can’t do them. It’s hard to do up your trousers without your thumbs, for instance. Buttons have become a special challenge for me. I usually use the tip of my thumb, exactly where it’s cut open, to push buttons through buttonholes. If only you could see the hip-gyrating dances I have to go through to button my pants now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s