Lockdown Day 17: The Days Are Just Packed / Los Días Están Llenos

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

ONE DAY, OUR niece took her big dog (a black Lab) for a walk. On rollerskates. Our niece, not the dog. She broke her arm. Again, our niece not the dog. I think our niece may have been around 10, maybe less. She learned her lesson. So, the next time she walked the dog on rollerskates, she wasn’t at all surprised when she fell — and broke her arm again.

If I look back over a lifetime of my own “OOPS” moments, I’m really not as dangerous to myself as I make myself out to be. OK, I do have a problem with sharp objects. When I was young, my grandfather gave me a pocket knife. I think I was about 8 when I sliced the length of my thumb while whittling a piece of wood. I still have the scar. I don’t know what happened to that pocket knife. So the next year, my grandfather gave me another one just before we headed off to the Amish Country in Pennsylvania for vacation. That was the summer I made a bloody mess (literally) of the palm of my hand while whittling. I still have those scars. Oddly, that pocket knife disappeared, as well. The next time we visited my grandfather, he gave me another pocket knife. (He must have had a boxful from who-knows-when.) Strangely, that pocket knife was lost by the next day. I asked my sister Dale if she knew what happened to it and she just rolled her eyes.

I then graduated to art school and wood-cutting tools (I never finished my first wood cut before gouging myself); and linoleum cutting tools (for printmaking) — my linoleum always had blood stains. I moved on to X-Acto knives, first in my art classes and finally at work as a graphic artist. I have scars on every finger tip to prove it.

One day at work, I sliced off the end of a finger. Fortunately, I worked at the time in Medical Illustration at a university hospital. Very convenient. Several years later, San Geraldo and I had been together two years when we were laying new tile in our Georgetown kitchen. I had really gotten into the rhythm of cutting the tile. Getting into the rhythm while holding sharp objects is not a good thing for me. I sliced off the tip of my finger (different finger). And that’s when I discovered that San Geraldo fainted at the sight of blood. He didn’t faint that day, but, when I yelled, “Oh, shit” before racing into the kitchen to run cold water on my finger (and to bleed into the sink instead of onto the floor), he stood six feet away outside the kitchen and asked in a panic, “What should I do?” I knew there was no stitching it, so I told him, “Just get me the box of Band Aids (plasters).” He ran off and quickly returned with the box — which he then threw at me from outside the kitchen. His aim isn’t great. Once, San Geraldo tried to jokingly punch his sister Linda in the upper arm. He missed and gave her a black eye.

THE ANKLE CONTINUES TO IMPROVE, although I still haven’t made it back downstairs. I’ve spent my days doped up on demon paracetamol and lazing groggily in bed. I am, however, again capable of standing long enough to wash the dishes after meals. The days are just packed. And I’ve got the scars.


UN DÍA, NUESTRA sobrina sacó a pasear a su perro grande (un laboratorio negro). En patines. Nuestra sobrina, no el perro. Ella rompió su brazo. De nuevo, nuestra sobrina, no el perro. Creo que nuestra sobrina pudo haber tenido alrededor de 10 años, tal vez menos. Ella aprendió su lección. Entonces, la próxima vez que paseó al perro en patines, no se sorprendió en absoluto cuando se cayó — y se rompió el brazo nuevamente.

Si miro hacia atrás a lo largo de toda una vida de mis propios momentos de “OOPS”, realmente no soy tan peligroso para mí como pretendo ser. OK, tengo un problema con objetos afilados. Cuando era joven, mi abuelo me dio una navaja de bolsillo. Creo que tenía unos 8 años cuando corté la longitud de mi pulgar mientras cortaba un trozo de madera. Aún tengo la cicatriz. No sé qué pasó con esa navaja de bolsillo. Entonces, al año siguiente, mi abuelo me dio otro justo antes de irnos al País Amish en Pensilvania para ir de vacaciones. Ese fue el verano que hice un lío sangriento de la palma de mi mano mientras tallado. Todavía tengo esas cicatrices. Curiosamente, esa navaja de bolsillo también desapareció. La próxima vez que visitamos a mi abuelo, me dio otra navaja de bolsillo. (Debe haber tenido una caja llena). Curiosamente, esa navaja se perdió al día siguiente. Le pregunté a mi hermana Dale si sabía lo que sucedió y simplemente rodó los ojos.

Luego me gradué en la escuela de arte y herramientas de corte de madera (nunca terminé mi primer corte de madera antes de arrancarme); y herramientas para cortar linóleo: mi linóleo siempre tenía manchas de sangre. Pasé a los cuchillos X-Acto, primero en mis clases de arte y finalmente en el trabajo como artista gráfico. Tengo cicatrices en cada punta del dedo para demostrarlo.

Un día en el trabajo, me corté la punta del dedo.. Afortunadamente, trabajé en ese momento en illustración medical en un hospital universitario. Muy conveniente. Varios años después, San Geraldo y yo habíamos estado juntos dos años cuando estábamos colocando azulejos nuevos en nuestra cocina de Georgetown. Realmente me había metido en el ritmo de cortar el azulejo. Entrar en el ritmo mientras sostengo objetos afilados no es algo bueno para mí. Me corté la punta de mi dedo (otro dedo). Y fue entonces cuando descubrí que San Geraldo se desmayó al ver sangre. No se desmayó ese día, pero, cuando grité, “Oh, mierda” antes de correr a la cocina para correr agua fría en mi dedo (y sangrar en el fregadero en lugar de caer al suelo), se quedó a seis pies (two metros) de distancia fuera de la cocina y preguntó con pánico: “¿Qué debo hacer?” Sabía que no había costuras, así que le dije: “Solo tráeme la caja de tiritas”. Salió corriendo y regresó rápidamente con la caja, que luego me arrojó desde afuera de la cocina. Su objetivo no es genial. Una vez, San Geraldo trató de golpear en broma a su hermana Linda en la parte superior del brazo. Él falló y le dio un ojo morado.

EL TOBILLO CONTINÚA MEJORANDO, aunque todavía no he vuelto a bajar. He pasado mis días drogado con paracetamol demonio y descansando atontado en la cama. Sin embargo, nuevamente soy capaz de permanecer el tiempo suficiente para lavar los platos después de las comidas. Los días están llenos. Y tengo las cicatrices.

Around 1962. I was hit in the eye with a baseball bat. While playing, not in a street fight.
Alrededor de 1962. Me golpearon en el ojo con un bate de béisbol. Mientras juegas, no en una pelea callejera.

1978. The Kid Brother cut an artery in his thumb. I tore a muscle in my leg; adding insult to injury, I lost more than 10 pounds (4 kilos), and I couldn’t afford it. What a team.

1978. El Kid Brother se cortó una arteria del pulgar. Me desgarré un músculo de la pierna; añadiendo insulto a la lesión, perdí más de 10 libras (4 kilos) y no me lo podía permitir. Pero que equipo.

July 1963. Pocono Mountains. Before I sliced my palm.
Julio de 1963. Montañas Pocono. Antes de cortarme la palma.
The Dowager Duchess, 1975. Coming out of the Caves of Maastricht in The Netherlands right after she pointed up at something and stabbed me in the cheek with her long nail. I still have the scar.
La Duquesa Viuda, 1975. Al salir de las Cuevas de Maastricht en Los Países Bajos justo después de señalar algo y apuñalarme en la mejilla con su larga uña. Aún tengo la cicatriz.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

39 thoughts on “Lockdown Day 17: The Days Are Just Packed / Los Días Están Llenos”

    1. David:
      I don’t think I’ve ever been a danger to others. So, there is that to be grateful for.

  1. my spouse is the same way, constantly bumping into stuff, dropping things, etc. the only scars he has are from all the operations he’s endured. keep your leg up and let the cats nurse you back to health.

    1. PS – I miss “calvin & hobbes”; the minute I read your post title I knew the book to which you were referring. C&H are sorely needed right now.

      1. anne marie:
        I started buying Calvin & Hobbes books for SG when he was going through a rough time in the early ’90s. We had the entire collection. i wish we had kept them when we moved to Spain. They’d come in handy right now.

    2. anne marie:
      The cats nurse me? Ha! Dudo wants on my lap as soon as I elevate my foot at my desk. Then they both started whining at 10 for their early afternoon treats. I finally gave up at 11:30. Foot elevated again. Moose wants me to get on the floor and pet him. Nurse!

  2. No wonder you don’t cook … the kitchen with all it’s knives and fires is an accident waiting to happen!

  3. WOW! You are/can be a walking catastrophe! You know the drill……be mindful and then proceed with caution.
    My husband, Ron, is pretty much the same way. It’s not a ‘senior’ thing, he has always been this way.
    I have learned to constantly remind remind him to be careful……gets on his nerves at times. But, better to be safe than sorry. I think it’s an ‘attention’ thing……..not looking for attention but as in ADD. Don’t tell him that! lol
    So, be careful.
    Love the photos!

    1. jim, you have just described my husband in your second paragraph. your husband and my husband must be brothers from other mothers.

    2. Jim:
      Yep, obviously not a senior thing with me either, but a lot more dangerous now. The limbs aren’t as bendy as they were! And I feel for Ron and understand you!

      1. AHOY MATEYS! It’s Ron “The ADD Avenger” here! I have always had this condition as I travel back through examples in my life. “I am what I am” and I try.

  4. Your autobiography…..Knives Out!

    You really should have been living in a bubble.

    1. Debra:
      I am, too. It’s fascinating how the tips grow back! I had a boss who owned a printing company. In its early years, he was using a giant paper-cutter and sliced off four of his fingers below the second knuckle. They didn’t grow back.

  5. I’m pretty good at hurting myself, too. I seem to have a talent for it! Poor San Geraldo; I couldn’t help but chuckle at the image of him throwing the bandaids to you because of the blood!

    1. Jennifer:
      SG has gotten better over the years. He now gets his flu shot sitting up!

    1. Urspo:
      I seem to be building up a tolerance. I can stay awake for hours after taking one now.

  6. From the sound of things, Scoot, you are even more dangerous to yourself than you make yourself out to be! Let SG wash the knives and forks and other pointy things when you do the dishes. It would be better for you both in the long run! If there was a way to weaponize you, it would wipe out any fear of nuclear war. I say this with love, hon. My sisters and I clean up well, look gorgeous when we do (no brag, just fact), take one step and trip on dust mites 🙂

    1. Deedles:
      Yeah, after I wrote that I thought, “Well you’ve just proved the opposite.” I do all the washing and I’m often surprised when I don’t slice my hand open. And I completely forgot about that recent time when I walked at full speed, nose and forehead first, into the glass door to the terrace. Yeah, I’m as bad (or worse) than I thought.

      1. Deedles:
        Sweet knees, huh. I like that! Although Scoot may be more appropriate for any situation.

  7. Oh, gracious. I’ll admit that I needed to skip to just the paragraph about your ankle improvement, because the other descriptions (and captions) were honestly making me weak… can’t stand descriptions of bloody events –ha! I just get a wobbly feeling all across my body when people describe those things. Glad you’re healing, and I loved those gorgeous photos of the terrace plants… and that sky!

    1. Judy C:
      Sorry about all the B word stories! I had a friend who would faint just hearing one of those stories. It got gray and rainy again. Right now, there’s blue sky, but it’s not supposed to last. It’s nice to see no matter how long we have it.

  8. Wow, that was a doozy black eye. You’re lucky your Mother ever let you leave the house! I am surprised you never found a box of pocket knives tucked away in her cupboards.

    1. Cheapchick:
      The baseball hit the bone, fortunately, another fraction of an inch and I would probably have lost the eye. My sister Dale went outside and punched “Vinnie,” the kid who accidentally hit me with the bat. He had hit the ball and then threw the bat… way too far… before running.

  9. Wow. So many stories! I love the tale of your mom stabbing you in the cheek with her nail. I’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time.

    Are you sure this ankle doesn’t require medical attention? I’m a little concerned that you’re having to take paracetamol and stay in bed. It sounds like you might have really done some damage.

    1. Steve:
      It was one of those “ow” and then forgotten moments. I was shocked when we got back to my sister’s house and I saw the damage. Shocked again a few years ago when I noticed I still had a scar.

  10. I’m glad your grandfather didn’t give you a box cutter; just think how many people would have an unidentified empty spot where your blog should have been.

    1. Wilma:
      Ha! The empty spot was a Twilight Zone moment. Long after my grandfather died, my cousin gave me a hand-forged iron lug wrench that had belonged to him. He had used it to pry open crates of fruit for his produce market. Good thing I didn’t have THAT when I was a kid!

  11. A friend gifted me with a very sharp vegetable peeler. “It changed my life,” she told me. It changed mine, too. The first time I used it, I put a deep divot in the tip of my index finger. Man, did that hurt for days. That was the last time I used that peeler. Not long before, I had sliced a piece of a different finger off with a pair of pruning shears while cutting tomatoes off the vine. Damn, did that hurt for days. I, too, have the scars. Both kinds (physical and mental).

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      And yet you continue to work with sharp objects! Again, I’m SO glad you stopped trimming that hedge yourself.

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