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thumb thing to think about
by dirk cotton

I make it a rule to place knives and forks point-down in the dishwasher basket, but apparently not everyone in my home does. It is rare for my kids to hang around after dinner long enough to observe a dirty plate, let alone to clear one, but last night someone was trying to help, bless their heart. I reached down without looking to close the dishwasher drawer and rammed a fork tine well under my thumbnail. It's quite blue now.

The pain was blinding. I screamed every curse word I knew at the top of my lungs for about fifteen seconds. It still hurt like hell, so I went through the whole list twice more. I sang them in an ever-ascending arpeggio of sixteenth notes that would make Eddie Van Halen proud. When that didn't do the trick, I made up four new curse words. I still don't know what they mean.

"Do I need to call 911?" my wife kept yelling. She had been in the next room when first I bellowed. She didn't need to, of course, but it's difficult to explain yourself when you're in that much pain. I just stood there, weak-kneed and doubled at the waist, and cursed at the floor some more.

She handed me an ice cube that relieved the pain until the cold itself began to hurt. Then she handed me a dishrag to warp around the ice, but that completely blocked the cold and my thumb began to throb again. Finally, we put a few cubes in a zip-lock bag and that seemed to achieve the right balance.

I rarely drink hard liquor, but she offered me a glass of whiskey. "It's what they do in cowboy movies," she explained. It didn't dull the pain a bit, but it was damned good bourbon. "Just shoot me," I told her. "They do that in cowboy movies, too."

"I have a pain pill left over from the oral surgery," she finally offered. I just looked at her quizzically, still in too much pain to chat, but now wondering if there was some deeper meaning to my wife suddenly offering me bourbon and opiates.

Somehow through the fog of pain, I remembered that bamboo shoots under the nails is a torture. I can personally attest to its effectiveness. I began looking around for Dick Cheney. I would have confessed anything to anybody who could make the pain stop.

It's better now, dark purple, and the throbbing has stopped. But I still scream every time I forget and try to power off my cell phone.


Dirk Cotton is a retired executive of a Fortune 500 Internet company who loves to spend time with his family, fly fish, shoot sporting clays, attend college baseball games, sail, follow the Wildcats, and write. Everything else he does is just for fun. A computer programmer-cum-marketing executive-cum-financial planner who now wants to be a writer, he apparently can't decide what he wants to be when he grows up. He and his family moved to The Southern Part of Heaven in 2005 and couldn't be happier with that decision.

more about dirk cotton


sticking the landing
by dirk cotton
topic: humor
published: 1.18.10

fall back.
the one thing i hate about dst
by dirk cotton
topic: humor
published: 11.13.09


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