are an interesting thing.
Certainly, they aren't alone in the fact that they (ideally) stick with you
from birth until death. Most body parts fall into that category. But of all
those parts, it's got to be the hands that have the stories to tell.
Looking down at my hands now, they look pretty good. I'm no hand model, but
I like to keep my nails trimmed and clean. No warts. No calluses. A touch
of dry skin from time to time. I've got a scratch on my right ring finger.
My left finger is empty because it's 2:55 a.m., but it's normally adorned
with the band of matrimonial commitment. All in all, they're good hands.
I take care of them. They take care of me.
So, what have they seen -- or felt, as the case may be -- in these
29 years, 11 months and 16 days?
Amazing as it is to believe, they're the same hands that could barely grasp
just one of my mom's fingers when I was born. That thought almost seems
impossible looking down at my outstretched palm now. My hands are large --
although falling way short of anything that should be labeled as part
of the tentacle family.
These are the hands that quietly pulled loose the elastic bow on the brightly
wrapped box underneath the Christmas tree nearly two decades ago. I'd never
attempted to peek at my gifts, but this one wasn't wrapped with tape and
the elastic bow holding the box together was entirely too tempting. It came
off so easily. Of course, when I peeked inside the box, the actual
gift was inside yet another box that I decided not to open. I still believe
in preserving most Christmas secrets to this day. (It turned out to be a
camera, by the way.)
They are the hands that held the steering wheel on July 31, 1994 as my Ford
Ranger left the right side of the road. These hands -- under the direction
of a brain that had been driving solo less than a year -- jerked the wheel
back to the left... and to the right... and to the left... until the truck
found a fixed, immovable object and the everything stopped. They are the
hands that reached up and cupped the blood that poured from my mouth and
These hands have been cut a time or two. I carry two marks with me today.
There is a V-shaped scar on my left pointer where I cut myself with scissors
while wrapping a Christmas gift. On the palm of my right hand is the scar
from where I grabbed a fishing knife blade-end first when I was very young.
The latter scar is how I learned my left from my right.
They've carried body bags and coroner stretchers but, interestingly enough,
never a casket. They've pulled the goupy little feet of a newborn out of
a mom's vagina. They've taken boucoup blood pressures and pulses -- and didn't
always find one.
These hands have performed CPR a few times. Up and down... Up and down...
Up and down... On the chests of more than a couple of people that were probably
already gone. Through the squeezing of a bag, they've breathed for people
that had stopped doing it for themselves. One finger in particular has delivered
hundreds of joules of electricity with the push of a button.
Of course, just to make sure I'm not being overly melodramatic... How many
times have these hands wiped my ass? I didn't do the wiping myself for the
first few years, so we'll eliminate those from the count. And as a kid, I
don't think I pooped every day. But I'm sure there have been days when I've
pooped much more than once. So, I'm bound to be approaching five-figures
on that number before long, eh?
These are the hands that rubbed Megan Adams' knee while parked in my truck
after my first real date. Strangely enough, they were under the direction
of the same brain that was too chicken to tell my lips to kiss her.
These are the hands that took several tries to master the three-fingered
bra maneuver. They are the hands that have been swatted away from trying
any sort of maneuver involving undergarments.
They're the hands -- one of them anyway -- that held on to Alex for an afternoon
in November some seven years back... afraid to let go even to scratch an
itch for fear of losing the moment. They are the same hands that exchanged
the rings of marriage with Jessie just six years later.
They've picked my nose. They've stretched fire hose. They've caught balls.
They've protected me from falls. Okay, so the rhyming is a bit lame. I thought
it was worth a try. But I can't let it continue. It was based in a lie. I
probably dropped way more balls than I ever caught. There is a reason I didn't
play baseball past age 15.
The point is... They've done a lot. And not only that, but they've gone and
told the stories of what they've done after they did it. Considering newspaper
work and web design and journaling... They've probably banged out quadrillions
of characters on the keyboard. (Quadrillion = 1,000,000,000,000,000 -- I
looked it up... So, maybe not that many afterall.)
There is no greater point to this story than this -- think about the stories
of your hands. I want you to stop reading. Whoa, wait. Keep reading. Let
me tell you what to do first and then you can stop -- but only if you promise
to come back when you're done. Take a look at your hands. Study them. Think
about where they've been. Think long enough on the matter, and you'll probably
agree that it's a good time to wash them. Regardless, it beats the hell out
of thinking about your feet. They've spent most of their days either wet
or dirty -- and sometimes both.
Okay, hands ready? Stop reading... now.