The column I penned for last week’s issue was the hardest one I have ever had to write. Not because it pertained to the loss of a family member or local tragedy or some other gut-wrenching topic. No, it was a pretty lame column on Lagniappe’s 20th anniversary, and I have written 19 variations of that column over the last two decades, so it was easy to get that one out of my head. It was just hard to get it literally on the page.
A couple of weeks ago, I was involved in an accident that resulted in a couple of breaks on a metacarpal in my left hand. While I was not thrilled to have suffered the injury at all, I was relieved it wasn’t my right hand.
I thought to myself, “At least I still have the use of my dominant paw, so this probably won’t bother me much at all!”
I found out pretty quickly you need the use of both of your hands for a variety of things.
One would think the very first thing I would have thought of, as a columnist, was, you know, a keyboard.
But for some reason, I did not. I think it’s because I went to high school in the ’90s and typing class was treated like an elective for kids who needed to learn a skill “to fall back on” before they inevitably flunked out.
I learned just how dumb this mindset was when I was fired from a job in high school. See, the publisher of the local paper called up to the school and asked the student newspaper advisor if she had any staff members who wanted a part-time job at our small town weekly. At that point, I wasn’t sure I wanted a career in media, but the gig still sounded exciting (and I am sure romanticized it in my head as I was prone to do), so I applied and got it.
But as I quickly found out, they weren’t really looking for their newest cub reporter. It was still back in the days when you literally cut text out with an Exacto knife and glued it to large pieces of paper before printing it. My job was to retype press releases from various organizations and columns from the local politicians to get them ready to be put in this format. Problem was, I couldn’t really type. I had never taken a class and typing out papers wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is now.
So I pecked away probably at around 20 words a minute until they finally said one cold December day, “You know, after Christmas we are probably not going to need as much help, so don’t worry about coming back. Happy holidays!”
It actually took me a few years to realize I got canned from that job. I wonder if the valedictorian or salutatorian of the typing class took over for me in January. I imagine so, as they should have!
It probably took me about 10 more years of pecking away and teaching myself how to type before I could do it at an acceptable rate.
Last week, as I was trying to get my column out with one hand, I had a flashback of sitting in a tiny little room at The South Alabamian slowly retyping Sonny Callahan’s weekly column, which probably took me three days. Luckily, it didn’t take me that long to get my own out. But it felt pretty close.
My hand is getting better every day. This week I was able to use three fingers on my left hand to type. Progress!
But I have discovered a few more things where having the use of both hands is pretty key. You just never think of these things until suddenly you have to. And I know I am lucky, as my injuries are temporary. So I am going to use eight fingers to type this out and tell you all about it. Why? I have no idea. (Maybe because I am having a tough time coming up with a column topic this week? Ding, ding, ding, ding!)
I guess I should mention the breaks were in the bone under my index finger so that finger along with my middle finger, which was bruised badly, are the ones I still can’t really use, so these issues could be more finger specific, than hand specific, but here goes …
Spray bottles or things with triggers. If it has a trigger, you pretty much have to use your index finger. I had never really thought about that. I have been able to use my right hand for almost everything, so no big whoop. Except for my spray deodorant.
In this very important, daily, post-shower step, you would typically use your right hand to coat your left pit and your left hand to coat your right one. My husband has been covering right pit duties for me when he is around, but when he’s not, I’ve been able to adapt to contort my right hand to get under the right pit.
Sure, it’s not the pit precision I prefer and “shower fresh” antiperspirant has gone a bit out of the “bullseye,” but it’s close enough to get the job done.
Bras. There are probably a lot of sleazy Casanova-type guys who claim they can take off a girl’s bra with one hand. But no way they could put one back on. I have found the workaround involves pre-clasping and an overhead shimmy.
Drying your hair. I can’t grasp the handle so I can’t dry and brush at the same time. It’s dry, then brush. Dry, then brush. Repeat. (Washing your hair involves a similar rotation.)
Cutting food with a fork and knife. It’s either have someone cut it for you like you are a child, or eat like a cavewoman. Both have been kind of nice at times.
Tying shoes. It’s impossible, so flip-flops it is.
The bird. My right birdie is just fine. I’ve used it several times since the accident. But the left one’s wing is broken. So, if anyone requires a double-hand gesture over the next couple of weeks, I may need to borrow a finger or two.
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