Some people have been known to suggest that I am a bit clumsy. I believe the word “klutz” has been used on more than one occasion. As for me, I have a different take on this: I tend to move at twice the normal rate of speed through a somewhat sluggish environment.
Is it my fault that material objects fail to get out of my way in time?
An example: power tools are rarely my friends. Sure, I am lucky enough to have all my digits, but there’s still time to alter that state of affairs. It’s not that I am inept in handling these tools. It’s more that I rush forward in the expectation that the power tool can catch up.
And it’s not just power tools—hand tools can also be a challenge. Years ago—when I was teaching at New College of the University of South Florida in Sarasota and not yet a vegetarian—my wife and I were about to take off for Tampa/St Pete and I hovered over the kitchen sink with steak knife in hand, slicing off bits of meat from a leftover rib.
And, as it turned out, from my index finger.
Noting the copious red blood cells that pour forth when the first half inch or so of your finger is hanging by a thread of flesh, I grabbed for a dishtowel, shouted to Dani to get the car keys, and we raced over to the campus infirmary.
Now blood has never bothered me that much, although I prefer it inside my veins rather than splattering haphazardly about. And I could sense that this time I had done a pretty good job of releasing the red stuff, judging by the soaked kitchen towel. So when we approached the door to the clinic leaving a trail of droplets, I suspected that the doctor or nurse would be ready with sutures to stanch the flow.
I pushed open the door and we entered…to find the place empty. Not a soul in sight. Abandoned. And then I remembered hearing something about no weekend staffing. It was apparent that the last one to leave the night before had forgotten to lock the front door.
But since we were there, and I was now leaving bright blood everywhere I ran, we sought out bandages and tape and began emergency binding of the wound before heading off to find a local hospital.
What a mess we left behind—flooring splattered with blood, smeared pools on the Formica countertop, hastily-unwrapped bandages and gauze, soaked towel! But no time to waste cleaning up, and so we locked the front door behind us and off we went to the hospital, where a doctor did manage to save my fingertip. Although it took over a year before feeling returned to that digit.
(I do sometimes wonder what the college nurse thought the next day when he or she opened up the infirmary and saw the signs of carnage we had left throughout the clinic.)
Now, that was a hand tool, a simple knife. Imagine how much damage I can do with a power drill. More than once I have stabilized a screw with one hand while trying to imbed it in a piece of wood from some Petrified Forest, only to have the drill bit slip and imbed itself in my fingers. (I know, I know…drill a pilot hole first, but who has time for that nonsense. And in truth, the middle digit on my left hand is current bearing a Band-aid to cover such a self-inflicted wound.) And there have been a few close calls with a table saw (and rotary saw and saber saw—you get the picture).
Consider the time I slipped off a damp log while holding a running chainsaw. Luckily, the saw flew off harmlessly in one direction, and I in the other, but I did limp around for weeks from the deep indentation in my shin bone, which still bears a nice scar from the meeting of tree stump and flesh.
So keep this in mind should you see me coming with a power tool or other implement in hand: this guy is traveling at a speed which doesn’t allow for a margin of error, and stand back.
Just ask my parents-in-law, who are tempted to put away their good china and glassware every time I’m invited over for dinner.
And please don’t call me a klutz. I just move too quickly for anyone’s good.
(By the way, the photos are actually of drippings from overripe grapes, overhanging the lovely private terrace of a room at Villa Gabrisa in Positano, Italy. Here’s the rest of the view…)