So there I am, minding my own business, working hard and trying to get as much of the stuff from my office loaded onto the trailer as possible. Nothing is going to go wrong today–it’s only the light stuff and the stuff we never or hardly ever use. The extra table, the tool-chest, the shelves from the closet. The drying rack and the welding equipment and tanks.
The last two were the start of it all. For those that don’t know, let me describe to you the two pieces of equipment to which I make reference. First, is ‘welding equipment’–consisting of a Medusa-Nest of hoses connected to gauges that connect to two heavy tanks marked very prominently “Flamable”. The second piece of equipment is the drying rack, a seven-foot tall by six foot squared system of stacked wire ‘shelves’ onto which can be loaded any number of signs or teeshirts. Each shelf rotates upward in its metal slip to allow easy access to the shelf beneath it. Metal slip. Sharp, non-serated, razor edge.
A series of them, in fact, that–when the shelves are removed–looks remarkably like the chain of a chainsaw.
So here I am, masculine, strapping man that I am, having to prove how strong and tough I am to my hunter-fisherman type boss and the guy who helps us with signs. I’ve just wrestled the 80+ lbs. welding tanks onto the trailer and am about to lay the dolly on which they are standing down. DOWN we go with the handle to rest it on the floor of the trailer and BOOM. There is a one-and-a-half inch by half-inch blade in my thumb.
It only took a second. Less, really. Half a second. Half a second in which I registered the image of my thumb impaled at the knuckle, ripped it up and saw blood. I immediately had enough sense to pull it up and shriek, though it didn’t quite hurt. I shrieked more from the thought…and the foreknowledge that it was *going* to hurt in the very very near future.
My boss looks up, all within the same second, and says–as I burst through the door and down the hall to the bathroom, my wounded thumb gripped in a vice of pressure of my left hand–“I saw blood!”
I get to the restroom, turn on the water, and remove my hand. Boom. Blood. Everywhere. I run water over it. Hoping against hope that it is but a flesh wound. No. So I do what I know must be done next.
We’ll pause here to note the obvious lack of any mention of pain. That’s because it hasn’t hurt *at all* until what happened next.
I opened it to rinse the wound. And that’s when a hundred thousand nerve endings in my thumb, when separated from the nerve *next* to them, shouted in unison “HEY! WHERE DID MY FRIEND GO!?!?!?!?!”
If you ever wondered, that is what a nerve is saying. The nerve misses its buddy…compadre, mi amigo, mon ami. That trusted companion that looks at it every so often and says “Hey…here’s some info.”
As I rinsed the cut and shouted very loudly and silently, I knew exactly the pain that Michael Corleone felt at the end of Godfather III…that pain that is so vast that when you open your mouth, no sound escapes. And in walks the co-worker. “How bad is it?”
“I think it needs stitches,” I reply.
He glances into the sink and sees only the cut. “Nah. It’ll be okay.” But he hasn’t seen what I’ve seen…the glaring white within the gaping wound. Exposed bone.
But we’re being a man, right? No pain no gain. Gotta be strong, lest The Boss–who brags about removing the end of his pinky with a skill saw only to duct-tape it back on until it healed–shout “J’accuse! J’accuse mon petite employee. YOU, my friend, are a wuss!”
“I don’t need stitches. Just a paper towel and some masking tape.”
Five bandages and thirty-six hours later, I can now slightly move it, and can bare to hit the space bar, though my typing still needs work. The best thing, though, is that my codependant nerves are reunited with their cohorts and are again exchanging information–even if it is “Hey! Heartbeat. Throb.”