Tuesday, December 4, 2007
quote lyrics du jour:
"Close your eyes and disappear. I'm so tired and it's so good to be here. Nervous secrets we'll confide. And I'll sleep in your bed tonight."

"I'll pretend I like TV. If you pretend to be angry with me. If pretending makes things real, then we can say how we really feel."

- Paul Sanchez, "Let's Not Talk About Love"


Hands 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 nose.

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.

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