The Joke’s On Me

Okay folks, how about a dumb blonde joke? Or maybe I should call it a former blond joke because at this point in life my hair is far more silver than blonde.

Last Friday evening, while Bill and I were eating dinner, our daughter stopped by with a beautiful bouquet of flowers wrapped in cellophane. There was no special occasion. The flowers were simply a loving gift. I set them aside until after dinner. Then, once dinner was over and the dishes loaded into the dishwasher, I went in search of a vase.

We’re talking about an ordinary glass vase here, the common variety as opposed to a much more expensive version which, I’ve been given to understand, would be pronounced vahz! As soon as I brought the container into the kitchen the problem was clear. Either the vase was too short or the flowers stems were too long. I immediately reached for a knife, choosing the handiest Cuisinart version, one with the blade still protectively wrapped in a black plastic sheath. My thought was that a knife still wrapped in a sheath would be sharper than one that had been loose. In my mind’s eye I had chosen a sharp butcher knife. In actual fact, the weapon in my hand was a serrated bread knife.

You can probably already see what’s coming. The blade was sharp enough, all right, but instead of slicing smoothly through the stems, it bounced right off them and into my finger—the lower portion of the index finger on my left hand. I’ve been told that finger injuries tend to bleed profusely. That was certainly the case here, probably exacerbated since I happen to be on blood thinners. (I’ve been told that in my natural state my blood is generally the consistency of JELLO.)

As soon as it happened, I could tell right off this wasn’t something a Band-Aid was going to fix, so I wrapped my finger in the first available blue paper towel and grabbed my purse. Since Bill doesn’t drive any more, I drove myself to the ER which is less than a mile away. It may have been Friday night, but it was early Friday night, only seven or so. I expected the ER would be crowded, but that wasn’t the case. There were only six people in the waiting room when I arrived. One thing I know for sure about ER waiting rooms is this—if you’re actively bleeding or barfing you automatically move to the head of the line and get seen sooner. Since I was doing the former, I was inside a treatment room within a matter of minutes.

I emerged a little over an hour later with seven stitches in my finger. Fortunately, the cut was shallow enough that it didn’t hurt the tendon. My finger still works. They had numbed it and then wrapped it in a fat bandage. When I got home, I tried to return a couple of emails. What I discovered is this: When typing with a numbed finger, you end up with words on the screen that Auto-Correct doesn’t even attempt to tackle.

I write crime fiction. When trying to establish a crime victim’s identity, law enforcement often asks if the deceased has any identifying marks like tattoos or scars. If I’ve croaked out and someone needs to ID my remains, they won’t find a single tattoo, but they will locate a diagonal scar on the bottom portion of the index finger on my left hand.

Tucson Festival of Books and a book tour are coming up in little more than a month. Never having had a cut like this before, I expect the scar is going to be pretty visible. I sign books with my right hand, but I hold books open with my left hand while doing so. Today I decided that, if anyone asks me what happened to my finger, maybe I’ll tell them that I cut myself shaving. Or maybe I change the story every time, depending on my mood. And why not? After all I write fiction, and that means I get paid for telling stories.

I suppose that my telling an aging blonde joke will result in any number of fans sending along a few of their favorite dad jokes. That’s fair enough. What goes around comes around, and as long as we can all still laugh at our mistakes, we know we’re alive!

By the way, on Saturday morning, I arrived in the kitchen to discover that someone had helpfully unearthed a pruning shears from the scissors section of the knife drawer and left it on the counter for me to find. Who knew it was there? Not me, and although I would certainly use it in the future, I doubt I’ll need it. My daughter told me I need to take this current set of flowers and press them into a book, because she won’t be giving me any more bouquets. That’s a shame because, for almost forty years, whenever a publishing day rolls around, she’s always given me roses.

I’d hate it if this weekend’s ER excursion marked the end of that wonderful tradition.