Injuries rarely stem from noble actions

 I approach my computer keyboard with trepidation. Not because I lack thoughts, but due to a recent hand injury that’s had me whining and wincing for the better part of a week. No make that for the WORSE part of a week.

Just as I suspected: Typing further exacerbates the throbbing pain in my left pinky. But at least I have the comfort of knowing I was doing something noble when I nearly amputated the end of my little finger. Hardly. I was attempting to one-handedly fold up one of those nylon camp chairs at a baseball game.

The resulting speechless pain could not be quelled without putting down everything I was holding in my right hand and wrestling the newly-dangerous chair to the ground to alleviate the pressure. My finger instantly bled and swelled to twice its normal size. Like most stupid injuries, I couldn’t do it again on a bet. But that careless moment caused excessive pain and nearly crippled me from playing piano for my nephew’s wedding that weekend.

An even less glamorous injury occurred to my right ring finger the week prior, when I blindly shoved my hand into the side pocket of my purse, forgetting the pair of earrings I keep there. A sharp earring back penetrated a half-inch into the nail bed (wince), nearly sending me into shock. Again, I had nothing to show for that sacrifice except ongoing pain.

Overall, I don’t think of myself as much of a risk-taking individual, outside of occasionally leaving the iron on all day (a problem solved through boycotting ironing in favor of the much safer dryer fluffing technique of wrinkle removal). And I rarely repeat the same risks twice, provided marriage isn’t counted among potentially hazardous actions. Surely that counts for something.

At work we have a Risk Management Team (RMT) that collects, reviews and analyzes accident data, then makes recommendations on how to behave more safely. It’s comprised of some of my more careful colleagues, who don’t find themselves nursing freak folding chair injuries. For some reason, I’ve not been asked to sit on the committee.

I don’t need the extra guidance at work, where I take relatively few risks outside of occasionally shoving my hand into a red-hot copier to remove a jam or baiting our industrial-sized paper shredder with my dangling work badge. Home is where I could use the committee’s services, as that’s where I more regularly tempt fate.

Wouldn’t RMT have had a field day with the self-administered concussion I suffered when a glass blender fell on my head from on high as I attempted to re-shelve its plastic counterpart that I’d used to make frozen margaritas? Subsequent investigation would have determined alcohol use was a factor. But at least it prevented it from hurting as much.

RMT would want to know why I had violated the laws of ergonomics by reaching above my head with chairs and stools nearby that could have put me closer to my goal. I would have countered I knew better than to go climbing while tipsy. RMT would have found me guilty, anyway, and provided additional consequences to the natural one of having to part my hair painfully around the goose egg bump documentation of my foolishness.

My most frequent injury is getting my butt in a sling. But that’s decidedly different. Less metaphorically, an acquaintance of mine is walking around with his arm in a sling, having tripped while cleaning his garage. That’s on par with my grandpa breaking his leg dancing with a blonde (Grandma was a brunette!), and a friend’s mother cracking her kneecap slipping in dog poop. At least I don’t have THAT on my medical record. No, I am just the person who non-heroically pulled a calf muscle toppling backward off the organ bench as a teenager.

Just once, I want a less ignoble injury, caused by doing something brave or daring. I’d settle for rescuing a small child from drowning, saving an elderly person from a burning building, or thwarting a bank robbery. Should I die heroically, please place a memorial plaque in the local emergency room lobby, stating “Her last and only worthwhile risk.”


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