Yesterday’s chick-fil-a cup, now filled with ice water, is still attached to my hand. It has been there for about an hour now. I had just filled it with ice and water and set it inside by the front door because I was mowing the lawn and knew I would be getting hot and thirsty. But the rain seemed to be getting harder so I decided to pack it in and rake up all the grass laying in thick lengths over the two strips of yard I had finished mowing (it’s been raining every day for almost two weeks and the grass is growing like weeds). I wanted to get the mower into the garage out of the rain, but the only space to fit it in requires that it go in backwards. I was in a hurry as my hair was turning to something sadly pining of hurricane hair and the rain was gaining strength. The mower wheel always catches on the ladder propped up next to where I store it when I try to get it in, and it is expected that I will have to work it around to get it back far enough to close the garage door. Usually I climb over and pull the mower to jostle it in place, but this time I was in a rush so I leaned over and I pushed instead. I wasn’t getting good leverage pushing from on top, so I reached under the motor housing a bit and grabbed good and solid and gave it a sound push when, “aghhhhhh!” I screamed a fantastic scream and quickly separated my forefinger from the fiery metal part of the mower that the directions warn you in large red letters never to touch or you will surely face severe injury or death. Well NOW I was reminded of those directions and without any conscious thought, I shot off running to the front door and submerged my hand in my icy chick fil a cup where my hand has remained ever since, even while i raked up the rest of the grass (yes, I am talented, thank you for noticing). I even managed to keep my hand in the cup during almost my entire shower. I was particularly impressed by this myself. Typing is tricky with only a left hand to hunt and peck with, but I’m a trooper, even while having flashbacks of that day 11 years ago on fourth of july when I learned another lesson about hands and heat and things you should never do. I panicked a bit for a second when I took off running for the ice water, thinking back and hoping I wasn’t gonna relive that part of my life back when I learned my lesson in sparkler physics. Once was enough. But I decided this was a much smaller burn area, so I was gonna treat myself this time no matter how charred my skin. Good to know I am still learning new things every day. In fact I am such an astute student of life that I learned two things today, the other being this morning when I learned that if after flushing the toilet very early in the morning, you go back in later and find the water in the toilet is very low, so low that a sense of foreboding falls upon you like a thick dark cloud, don’t flush it again. Just don’t. No matter how tempting, because even though you may be certain that any clog would surely have dissolved by now, don’t fall for that. Don’t tempt toilet fate. Go for the plunger. Just go. I don’t care if it is all the way at the other end of the house and you don’t think you feel like walking that far and you think you can take your chances rather than make an extra trip for nothing. Plunge first. Flush later. You will be glad you did. Because you probably don’t feel like cleaning the bathroom floor that early in the morning. I can almost guarantee it.
Did I? What? Did I plunge first? Well, no, or what would I have learned. I would have learned nothing. I would have been just another regular unenlightened bozo. I chose instead the path of wisdom, the path of practical knowledge, the path of pee water all over the floor and being late to work, and enjoying the early morning smell of Dow Scrubbing Bubbles and all the exercise I got when after flushing and standing there with my mouth hanging open as the water rose, I suddenly decided to run like a madwoman screaming, “Crap!” “Crap!” “Crap!” hoping to somehow make it all the way around 6 corners at top speed to get the plunger before the water flow spilled like a graceful fountain highlighted by streamers of disintegrating toilet paper, ebbing like a bubbling brook throughout the bathroom. I learned, baby. And I am richer for it. And not only am I a notch smarter now, my bathroom floor is clean too, and so is the toilet. Because you can’t leave pee residue laying around all day. As it was I spent most of the morning after my lesson in learning washing my hands compulsively. Hey, when I learn, I like to make the most of it. How else does anyone ever get these chores done anyway if not for such life lessons. It is beyond me.
So now I find myself flashing back to my time in the emergency room all those years ago, the feeling of the freezing solution they had my hand in as I lay there with a blanket of fear over my heart, imagining the pain I would be going through in the days and weeks to come. I had watched enough TV, and I had read the “It could happen to you” stories in the magazines. I knew the horrors burn victims go through. I also remember the lady in the emergency room on the other side of the curtain with a bug in her ear, shrieking relentlessly for over a half an hour at the top of her lungs and hardly pausing for breath, pleading with them, in a demanding manical way, to get the bug out of her ear now! An unnerving experience in and of itself, even if you aren’t laying there with the fear of imminent torturous pain clawing at your mind. Then all those weeks of holding my hand up to avoid the throbbing, as friends and family mimicked me and my adopted hand posture in jest. Today when I took my hand out of the cup in the shower for a few minutes, there I was, hand up, palm turned inward. It all came back to me, just like riding a bike. I think this time I will just walk around with the cup on my hand for a while instead and try something new. People enjoy having a wide variety of things to make fun of. I think they get bored if you can’t give them something new to work with. Our culture sort of frowns on those who exhibit behavior like walking around with a chick fil a cup attached to their hand, but I don’t know, I don’t have any of that silvadine cream (or whatever it was) or those plastic gloves they had me wear last time for stupid effect. It really hurts like heck still if I take my hand out of the water and now it’s been two hours since my fateful choice to push the burning mower from underneath. So my styrofoam chick fil a cup has become my security cup. It’s gonna be hard to sleep with it full of ice water, but I’ll manage it somehow. When I glom onto a solution, I gotta go with it. It’s like my many rigging scenarios. I make it work, no matter how impractical or how seemingly odd.
So there you have it. I learned two new things today and I didn’t even have to spend a dime at the emergency room. I’m feeling pretty proud. And now I have another story that will go with my other often-told, story-laden warnings to my children. They just “love” it when I tell stories of my mishaps in life every time I warn them about safety of some kind. Oh yeah, they just love it. The well of life lessons is just getting fuller and richer. My wisdom never ceases to amaze them... Well, Cally said she’s surprised I didn’t stick my hand all the way under the mower while it was running and chop my arm off. I suppose one’s life lesson could be construed as another’s stupidity. To each his own. I see only the wisdom grasshopper. I feel the pain of stupidity, yes, but I see the wisdom. (wimper, wimper)