Monday, June 17, 2013

My talent: self-injury

And what a talent! I'm always hurting myself somehow, but never quite to the point of breaking something (which is a miracle, considering that my favorite game when I was little was seeing how many stairs I could jump down). Through clumsiness or haste or just bad luck, I have spent my whole life accidentally hurting myself. I am forever barking fingers against the insides of ovens, dropping scalding bowls of soup, slamming shins into steps, falling down stairs, walking into doors (when I expect them to open and they don't), catching my elbow on a retracting seat belt buckle (just yesterday!), breaking nails off below the quick... I have a nasty habit of just letting my nails grow, and grow, and GROW... and then I mishandle something and SNAP!
For example, just two weeks ago I was unloading groceries when my thumbnail broke, right at the edge of my finger. I wore a band-aid for several days, and just as I had safely removed it (leaving a jagged spur that I didn't sand away), I dropped a history book on it and it broke AGAIN, only this time there were no band-aids available and I had to beg electric tape from someone.
Oh, and I injured myself at a rapier class the other day.
Don't worry! None of the actual weapons were out yet when it happened!
That's right. I managed to hurt myself at a weapons class without the aid of weapons.
It happened thus: the class was starting out with some reflex games. I don't normally join in (I was there to watch my sister's baby for her while she helped teach), but it looked like fun, so I asked to be included. We were playing a game in which one person holds gloves in both clenched hands, which they hold straight out in front of them. The other person places their hands on the back of the first person's. The first person will then drop either or both of the gloves, and the other will have to try and catch them.
I did fairly well at first. Which is to say, I caught one once or twice and snatched awkwardly at the air the rest of the time. I also got into the unfortunate habit of trying to catch with both hands.
I'm sure you've got a guess at what happened next.
My partner dropped the gloves.
I grabbed for them with both hands.
The palm of the left made solid contact with the pinkie of the right.
And, hey presto! Suddenly I was in agonizing pain.
Blinking back tears (because there's nothing so humiliating as crying when you've caused yourself terrible pain), I quietly exited the room to run cold water over the offended finger.
Needless to say, I did not continue to participate in the class.
The next day my pinkie was purple all along the inside and swollen to about twice the size of the other. It wasn't broken, though, which was something of a relief.
Since then I've been learning to do things more with my left hand, since the right had both a badly-bruised pinkie and a broken thumbnail working against it. I've also discovered that it really hurts to shake hands with people when your pinkie is hurt, but not visibly so. You try to keep it out of the action, and for the most part that works, until you have to shake hands with Firm Handshake McGee, who gathers ALL your fingers into his enormous hand (in spite of your best efforts) and does his best to pop your bones from their joints.
But, hey! At least I'll be better at poker now! I've learned to smile when I'm dying on the inside.