Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On fingers....

I consider myself an expert on fingers and their relative worth.  About six years ago my left index finger got into a violent disagreement with a table saw and lost.  I haven't used that table saw since; once they get the taste for blood you might as well throw them out. 

When I first bought that table saw the first thing I did after it came out of the box was disable all the safety features.  I felt that the guards got in the way and apparently I was right; they got in the way of my finger and the saw blade.  That little lapse in judgment cost me and my insurance company two surgeries, dozens of physical therapy sessions and tens of thousands of dollars.  More importantly it cost me my life long dream of being a hand model.  What I got out of that little adventure is a finger that looks like a hot dog  left out in the July heat for a week that no longer bends.  I can't tell you how many people have mistakenly accused me of pointing at them; people apparently don't like being pointed at.  For several months immediately following the accident I had to hear people singing :

          "Where is pointer, where is pointer?"
          "On the floor, on the floor."

Being a bit of a smart aleck myself I appreciated the humor. 
After my accident I learned the value of a good index finger, particularly when it's on your dominate hand.  I could no longer thread a nut, typing was tough and I couldn't pick my nose to save my life.  It's amazing though how resilient people are and how quickly they can adapt; I can now pick my nose with all of my fingers, and my thumb, can type better than ever, and just use my other hand anytime I'm doing something that requires fine motor skills, which isn't often.

Yes, I've learned that a good index finger is a valuable resource and I wish that I could pick up another one to replace the one whose existence ended so tragically and senselessly.  If given the chance I would trade both pinkies for another index finger.  Pinkies are totally worthless and just get in the way.  Unlike the pinky toe, which provides balance when you stand or walk, I'm not aware of anything that the pinky brings to the table.  Mine have minds of their own and hit the tab or enter key well before I want them to.  I can do without them.

In 2008 Trevor Wikre, a 280 pound senior right guard for Mesa State College severely dislocated his pinky, leaving a shard of bone where his pinky once lived.  The surgeon told Wikre that they needed to insert pins and that the recovery time would be 6 months.  It being his senior season, and not caring about the hand's equivalent of the little piggy that went wee wee wee all the way home, Wikre opted to have the pinky amputated.  Many people criticized him for having it amputated so that he could play football, but it's not like it was an index finger or anything.

We have the benefit of hindsight and know that his team went 0-3 the rest of the season; I looked it up.  So hindsight being 20/20 he probably wishes he had that finger back.  I guess the moral of the story is that if you're going to trade a pinky for football, you better be playing for a good team.  What's interesting is that Mesa State was 7-2 prior to the loss of that pinky and were on a 7 game winning streak, then took their 0-3 dive.  Maybe pinkies are more important than I thought.

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