Some 20 or so years back, a very “non-Indiana Jones” Harrison Ford starred in Mosquito Coast, where he moved his whole family into the rainforest bringing some sort of Ice machine with him. He was touting ice as what made civilization possible. Not the wheel. Not fire. Ice.
A recurring kitchen incident has got me thinking that before mankind got around to inventing the wheel, New York, war and so on, we had to invent the opposable thumb. None of our achievments would have even been possible otherwise. The insight for what we needed as a species to invent such an adaptation must have been deeply profound. Unless it was a fluke – an accident, perhaps, followed by improper medical care (by a primitve pre-neanderthal clearly suffering from the inability to grasp or use tools).
A really nasty hunting or gathering accident, perhaps a fall into the brambles or down a ravine that led to the most massively useful adaptation of our appendages. Why they stopped before proceeding to opposable toes was just ignorant. That would have been profound, and very helpful as I struggle through typing (and a myriad of other tasks I can barely mananage to perform (without any style or grace)), thanks to a massive wad of gauze shielding my nearly decapitated thumb from the dangerous forces of the universe – and icky germs.
The graceful and staccato rythym of the multi-finger dance across QWERTY will just have to wait, as I lumber along with an enormous bandage that speaks – no broadcasts loudly with streaming video, THX quality sound, and a flashing neon sign – of terrible and unspeakable horrors beneath. Horrors that really aren’t
The truth of the matter is that this massive shield of gauze and first aid tape, a veritable cocoon or glove for thumb boxing if you will, it’s just an obstacle to living. I have no pain beneath. Blood? Yes. Lots of that, but no pain.
I must have severed the nerves the first time… pain signal can’t get through. (you know…. There’s a telegraph line, you’ve got yours and I’ve got mine, It’s called the nervous system…)
I’ve spent my DIY weekends, repairing and upkeeping the house, attempting to make furniture and other useful things out of wood, all while juggling power saws, chisels, and numerous other implements of electric death (as is so warned by the safety graphics printed thereupon), I’ve remained mostly unscathed on that front (knock on wood).
To date I’ve made 2 attempts at a thumb decapitation. Both times in the kitchen. Both times while making soup.
A sharp knife, followed by a trip to the emergency room for a quick re-glueing, (Superglue. Not kidding. No stitches.) Then a tetanus shot and a 5 inch thick sock of gauze got me out of cooking dinner for the family. It also gave me the first aid skills I’d need a mere 3 years later, when I thought I’d be fun to try to take out the same thumb. I made it halfway through the thumb and nail before I realized what happened. Cleaned it up, put on a coat of glue, and wrapped it up without bothering with the drive, and $10 copay nonsense. Tetanus was up to date and I never felt a thing. Didn’t need the ice, and it’s healing just fine.
The soup? Delicious!