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.

53 thoughts on “The Joke’s On Me

  1. Good story. I’ll give you a dad joke. What are the strongest days? Saturday and Sunday. The rest are week days

    • All I can say is “ouch” and 7 stitches is quite a lot. And of course how sorry I am.

      Hopefully your daughter reads you on Twitter
      and then she will know how much you love and appreciate a bouquet of roses or mixed flowers.

  2. When someone notices the scar on my left thumb, my standard reply is, “you should see what happened to the watermelon!”

  3. This is certainly an experience you need to weave into one of your story lines! Might be the clue to “catch the bad guy”.
    Hope you heal quickly with a scar to provide a laugh or two later.

    AJ Brian

  4. Heal up fast. I’m looking forward to your next fantastic book. I love them all. So glad I met you in Mesa several years ago.

  5. Speaking of the Tucson Festival of Books, your fans at the Voyager are really hoping you will find time to come visit us again. We’ve missed seeing you these past few years.

  6. You will find just the right story to spin.

    Very glad it was not any worse than 6 stitches.

  7. When I was much younger, my mother got a knife for her birthday. While we were at the table admiring her gifts I played with the knife. Unfortunately it went through the flimsy holder it was in and cut my right pinky. I can attest to how much finger wounds bleed, especially should you hit an artery. My parents bandaged it and took me to a medical clinic to get stitched up. Unfortunately the medical clinic told them we can’t treat him here and he will have to go to William Beaumont medical center for surgery. My parents were shocked as they just thought it was a simple cut. You see unlike you I did cut the tendon. Luckily the surgery was successful and with therapy I once again have the use of my finger.

  8. I can relate. I was hurriedly cutting art papers for the classroom on the large paper cutter. Yep, I sliced off the tip of my finger. I thought pressure would work, but when I looked at it Saturday morning, I knew I needed Urgent Care. They cauterized three nerve endings, then wrapped me up. Luckily no bone was involved.
    Take care.

  9. Yes, change your story to fit your mood. I did that with my broken hand. Much more fun that way.

  10. I once reached into a trash can to retrieve a can to pour grease into. Of course I slashed the middle finger of the hand, and, as you experienced, it needed stitches. The ribbing I got until it healed was monumental. Heal quickly!

  11. Sorry this happened, Judy…I’ve had several similar experiences, and just last week had to tend to my husband’s bleeding thumb, which he didn’t show me until hours after it happened (he wrapped it up in a paper towel and used Scotch tape to hold the towel in place) when it was too late for stitches. So I used my extensive medical background (as the mother of 8 children prone to accidents) to first remove the improvised bandage (OUCH as the paper stuck to the wound and reopened it) cleansed with water, applied an antibiotic cream, and used steri strips to close the gap, used a proper bandaid, and checked when he had his last tetanus shot (it was within the 10-year limit). Now he is OK after a “kiss to make it all better”.
    See you in March and looking forward to your explanation. of the moment. It’ll be a good one I’m sure!

  12. When I was younger, I was riding my bike around my neighborhood and one of the bullies of the neighborhood tried to get in front of my bok and stop me. I went to go around him and felt something sharp and then a tug on my finger. He had taken out a sharp knife and held it so my finger would catch it. It did and it bled quite a bit. I got home and my father and mother (she was a nurse) got it cleaned up and detemrined that it was not deep enough to warrant a trip to the ER. They bandaged it up and it healed fully in a few days. My father went to talk to the other boy’s father and they got things resolved. I have a nice scar on my finger as a memento.

  13. I think you should tell fans that your stitches are from a “paper cut.” The flowers were a celebration of having your book published. Most books are made of paper (excluding digital books here.) Therefore, a paper cut.

  14. I will withhold the joke about the blond in first class flying to Barbados. But what on earth kind of knife would jump like that? An electrified knife??? Yeah – well – scissors would have been my first choice!
    From one old silver blond to another – hee hee.

  15. Oh my gosh, all these finger stories from everyone so far have got me cringing and my stomach doing flip flops. I’m glad everyone has healed.
    Sor fortunate that the ER was only a mile away and not busy. But 7 stiches sound like a lot. Not just a little cut. I do hope your daughter continues to give you bouquets. Now that you’ve found your pruning shears there’s no need to worry.

  16. So sorry about your injured finger. I like the idea of your changing your story every time. My late husband had a “disagreement” with a dado blade as he was refacing the cabinets in our bathroom with hickory wood. Silly Mike, he did not turn off the saw as he lifted the board. It made a mess of 3 fingers, requiring micro surgery at the Phoenix VA, (bless their hearts). He eventually recovered about 90% of the motion in those fingers. When he finally came home, we were watching one of those woodworking programs that involve using table saws, band saws, etc. The devil made me say, “Look honey, his table saw is all nice and shiny with not a bit of blood on it!” He grumbled, but eventually did laugh! If you think MY humor is bad, you should have heard what he told the nurses/doctors as they examined him in the ER.

  17. I don’t think you are alone in this! My major one was almost cut my thumb off of my left had with a radial arm saw. I was making doll house furniture for a dollhouse my husband and I built. Guess I should have gone for a smaller saw, like a jigsaw! By the way, reading books in order and am reading Exit Wounds and I have laughed and cried and I love JoAnna Brady. Love your writing!

  18. I’m betting a lot of your readers have done similar things. My injury was using a screwdriver to open a sack of water softener salt because I was too lazy to walk back upstairs for scissors. Nice cut above one eyebrow.

  19. Yikes! Oh, Judy! I sure hate that this has happened, but glad you were able to drive yourself to the ER. Can’t remember if I told you Frank cut his left index finger last Tuesday night while putzing around the house with a pair of scissors . It was late & asked if it was bad. He said no and wrapped it in a paper towel. The next morning I left the house early so didn’t see it until late that evening. Egads! It looked awful and was still bleeding. Took him to Urgent Care. The doctor wouldn’t stitch it because it was considered an old wound. Cleaned it, wrapped it, prescribed antibiotics, gave him a tetanus shot. Now I change the wrapping twice a day and it seems much better. Moral of the story: Don’t ever let Judy & Frank be together with scissors & sharp knives, for ANY reason.

  20. I’m so glad that Don said it first because it’s so true! And that holds true for the gray/white/silver hair out here. It’s easy to dismiss our ideas and I love the fact that you are carrying Beau on looking at puzzles! And that Ali is explaining a lot of the IT stuff……..and to know that our Sheriff’s are PEOPLE! Have you tried dictating to your computer???

    • I’m curious and clumsy, a bad combination. My left index finger has a U-shaped scar. When I was 10, I hid behind the wood pile and tried making kindling with a hatchet. My right pinky, however, holds the prize for strangest mishap. I was 27, with three young children and my husband, Steve. I got up, in the middle of the night, to use the restroom. In the dark room, I tripped over a laundry basket, and began a slow-motion, cartoon-like diagonal stumble across the room. I couldn’t get my balance. I came to rest against a lovely wooden gun cabinet, with a glass front. When I landed on it, to regain my balance, the glass bowed but didn’t break. I tried to stand and my finger was trapped between glass and wood frame. Steve managed to get it free (again, without breaking the glass). He bandaged it and we went back to bed. The next day, I received five stitches and a tetanus shot. Heal quickly, dear. Typing with a bandaged finger is no joy. Next time we meet, we can compare self-inflicted war wounds.

  21. What, she thinks you don’t learn from your mistakes?!?! Shame on her! We all know your brain still functions well enough that you won’t make that mistake again. I hope she relents and gives you your roses on schedule.

    Of course your story reminded me of when my sister and her family were visiting me, and I cut my thumb badly enough to need an emergency room visit. In my case, the culprit was one of those canned hams with a key that you had to crank all around the can to get it open. I don’t remember exactly how I slipped, but that scar is still there 35 years later. I left my sister to cook dinner and supervise her children while my husband drove me to the emergency room for a stitch or two.

    Several years earlier, though, I did drive myself to the emergency room. I had fallen on the ice rink while in a crossover position and the tail end of my left skate punctured my right thigh. That one was 4 stitches, and somehow I didn’t rip my tights when it happened. I got the shakes after the stitches and called someone to drive me home.

  22. My husband was cutting something in the kitchen when he sliced off the tip of his thumb. He takes a blood thinner. I bandaged his thumb which bled through quickly. The kitchen and bathroom looked like a crime scene. I finally found a sanitary napkin, wrapped it around his thumb, and told him to hold it while I drove him to the hospital. Doctor was unable to sew it up but wrapped his whole hand up. Looked like he was wearing a boxing glove on his left hand. I asked him if he was embarrassed to be seen holding a sanitary napkin. He said no because it worked like it was supposed to.

  23. My grandfather owned and operated a butcher shop from the 1920s to the 50s and sharpened his knives at the end of each day to be ready for the next. He managed to slice thru a finger on his left hand one morning and it was “hanging by a thread.” He had a big order due that day and my grandmother decided they couldn’t lose the income so she washed his hand and wrapped the digit with electrical tape to hold his finger together. He finished the job and the finger eventually healed with full feeling and use. Never underestimate the curative powers of electricians’ tape!
    Why was the blonde fired from her inspection job at the m&m factory? She kept throwing out the w’s.
    See you in AZ! xx, Annie

  24. When I was about 4 yrs old, my father was mowing the lawn and just about severed his thumb- Fortunately the MDs were able to save it- However, that was the last time he ever attempted to mow the lawn- Dad was pretty clumsy, a trait I have inherited from him-
    Judging from the comments, just about everyone has had a sliced finger-
    I have never had to go to the ER, but my husband has- The amount of blood coming from such an injury is truly alarming!

  25. Finger cuts, UGH!!! And, your precious fingers are your writing tools.
    I’ve had my share, one w/my attempt at Christmas wreath-making: rather than sitting on an appropriate chair, I thought sitting on a folding kitchen stool was a good idea. Reaching back to scoot closer to my work table, the folding mechanism opened up then nearly amputated my finger as I sat back down. Oh, yes…the blood! The urgent care Dr. did a beautiful job of stitching it up, and at this moment…can not see any evidence it ever happened. Hopefully, the same for you.
    My lesson: protect my fingers!!

  26. Sorry, but you are undervaluing yourself. That’s not silver, it’s platinum and very valuable!

  27. It is very nice to know I am not alone. I do crazy things to this body all the time. I know I have been sewed up numerous times but cannot remember the last time.

    Tell your daughter to continue the tradition of the roses, but be sure they are already in a vase!

    Have a great weekend. Oh, Happy New Year a few days late.

  28. So glad you missed the tendons and nerves. I confess trying a serrated knife once to trim flower stems. I also found out it doesn’t work. I have since used kitchen shears(old Fuller Brush kind) and they work! Sorry to know your finger is going to hurt for awhile as it heals.

  29. I used to teach First Aid to sixth graders. When we got to the lesson on bleeding, I showed them all a Kotex. (This was in the 1970’s). I explained this was something women and girls wear on certain days of the month. It helps stop bleeding because it is made to absorb blood. So, if you are home alone and someone in your house gets a deep cut, grab one of these and tape it until you can get to the doctor. The students practiced bandaging each other’s “bleeds”. At the end of the session, I asked if there were any questions. One boy raised his hand: “If it’s just a little blood can you use a tampon?” Good question that still makes me chuckle — even now as I write.

  30. I still have a scar and a double nail on my left ring finger from an accident when I was about ten. The gate into our back yard was very heavy wood and it was opened by lifting a ring which raised a latch from the gate jamb. I didn’t pull my finger out before the gate swung either open or shut (I don’t remember which). Result: compound fracture of that finger above the first knuckle. The cool thing was that I was treated by Navy personnel on a hospital ship in port at Long Beach.

    Wore a boxing glove kind of thing on my left hand for three months through a Southern California summer. Y’all can imagine what my hand smelled like when I finally got it off.

  31. I could laugh at your story but I can relate! Was putting dishes into the dishwasher when a knife slipped out of my hand and cut my thumb. And yes it bled like crazy. Our youngest son thought it was hilarious because he got to drive me to the ER for stitches. We were always taking him either to the doctor or ER for stitches. He thought turn about was pretty good. Can still see the scar although it’s faded to hardly be seen. Hope you heal quickly and everything goes well on your book tour!

  32. Enjoyed the story (sorry you had to tell it).
    I can totally relate. Yesterday I cut the tip of the fore finger right below the fingernail and it bled and I wrapped it with a band aid. Later I cut myself on the same finger at the base and this one really bled. Yikes! I looked like a 5 year old with two band aids on the same finger.
    Life does not get easier as we age.
    Stay safe and now that you have the pruning tool I hope your daughter will bring you flowers : )


  33. I am a quilter. One of.the most important rotary cutter. Think pizza cutter but MUCH sharper. Put the fabric on the cutting mat, put.ruler on the fabric, use rotary cutter to cut fabric or in my case a little piece off of left index finger. No scar tho but that finger is a little.pointed than the.right index finger. No one has ever noticed it tho, so have had to come up with any interesting stories. I also once.sewed thru that same finger with my sewing machine, right thru the nail. Quilting is a blood sport, for me anyway.

  34. I am a quilter. One of.the most important rotary cutter. Think pizza cutter but MUCH sharper. Put the fabric on the cutting mat, put.ruler on the fabric, use rotary cutter to cut fabric or in my case a little piece off of left index finger. No scar tho but that finger is a little.pointier than the.right index finger. No one has ever noticed it tho, so have had to come up with any interesting stories. I also once.sewed thru that same finger with my sewing machine, right thru the nail. Quilting is a blood sport, for me anyway.

  35. So sorry about your finger, glad you headed for medical help quickly. Accidents happen! You made my day when you said a Beau book is underway! I got lucky this week and found Second Watch on sale in kindle format for $1.99 – I clicked buy now and am enjoying reading again (last time I listened).

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