Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Magnifying the Problem

A terrible thing happened over the recent Thanksgiving holiday. It’s almost too painful to talk about, but I feel as though I can use this column as a cautionary tale, so I will press on despite the mental anguish this is causing me.

I sustained an injury just before the holiday that set in motion a chain of events that will undoubtedly end in a lifetime of trips to the doctor, and countless hours seeing a specialist.

The gruesome injury? Brace yourself. I got a tiny little splinter in my thumb.

I meant brace yourself for the fact that the initial injury was not really the problem. It’s how I handled the splinter extraction that will have me driving back and forth to the doctor for the rest of my days - if I can even drive myself, that is.

I will do my best to get through this story without any more sobbing. Here goes...

I had noticed the minuscule piece of wood in my thumb during the day, and it hadn’t really affected me much, so I ignored it. Later that night, however, the splinter was interfering with holding my beer comfortably, so I decided it had to go.

My wife had already gone to bed, so I was thoughtful enough to wake her up by thrashing around loudly in her sewing drawer, looking for a needle. She gladly jumped out of bed to help me find one. (Although she claims she thought I was a burglar and she was coming downstairs to defend her children and the house with her ninja karate skills, I know better. She loves to help me.)

Claiming that I didn’t need any more help once she had found me the perfect size needle, I sent her back to bed with a kiss on the cheek, and sat down at the kitchen counter to get to work.

There I was, in the dimly-lit kitchen, just before midnight, digging the splinter out of my thumb with a tiny sewing needle. It wasn’t working.

Then a thought occurred to me. A horrible thought. A thought that would unknowingly change the course of my life forever.

There’s something in that drawer over there that might help me get this thing out of my thumb. But should I use them? I never have for this kind of thing before, but they could help...

I thought about it for another few seconds. I should have just given up and gone to bed right then and there, but no. I am an idiot. Instead, I went to the drawer and opened it, eyeing the implements suspiciously.

Might as well give it a shot. I pulled them out and brought them back to the counter. Sitting back down, I positioned the devices over the splinter and then quickly snapped them into place.

“Ahhhhhrrrrrggghhh! Noooooo!!!” I screamed.

“What happened!?” came my wife’s concerned, almost panicked voice from the top of the stairs.

“Oh, nothing,” I said. “Sorry to wake you again. I’m just digging this splinter out of my finger and I put on your reading glasses to help me see it better. They help A LOT. When the hell did I get old?”

“About five years ago. Good night, old man.”


I can probably hold out a little longer, but eventually the eye doctor and I are going to be on a first-name basis.

They say it happens to everyone around forty. I guess that’s true, but up until that splinter I was sure it would never happen to me.


See you soon,


Copyright © 2015 Marc Schmatjen

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