Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The bloody finger

I've been trying to purge some no-longer-necessary file folders from my work this last week and a half. I find it cathartic, and I seem to be the only one who wants to do it, so I've been diving in at will. I have totally messed up the middle finger of my left hand, though. It started with a ripped cuticle, and then it has gone to the point where I actually had gushing blood on Monday. I've put a bandaid on it, and so far I've been better. Unfortunately, the bandaid seems to be taking the brunt of the attack, so I have to change it a few times a day. These file folders are brutal, really.

It reminds me of a story about my grandma, who died almost three years ago.

About ten years ago, the year my cousin realized she was pregnant with the first great-grandchild of the family, we all decided to try and start a tradition that really quickly fizzled out by renting a cabin in Big Bear for Christmas. I sort of wish it had caught on, but it didn't. It was a fun year, though.

My grandma had hurt her finger in a similar fashion, and just like me now, she kept re-injuring herself. One of my cousins said she needed to go into the town to pick up some things from the pharmacy, and since there was really nothing else to do, there was soon a sizable party waiting to head "into town" and get a feel for the place. Grams asked Cuz to pick up some finger cots for her, and Cuz was like, "What is that? What if they don't have them?" Grams was pretty insistant that they would have them, and lo and behold, they did. My cousin came out of the pharmacy laughing and blushing and just having a good time. I didn't know why. I didn't know what a finger cot was.

Back at the cabin, Cuz walked up to Grams and said, "Boy, the pharmacist sure wanted to know what I needed these for!" and then laughed.

My grandma, god bless her, was just confused. "Why?" she asked, full of innocence. "He should have known what they were for."

Then I got a look at them.

Ribbed for your pleasure. Protection. Whatever.

My uncle chuckled, my cousins and I made jokes. My mom and her sister rolled their eyes but laughed when they thought we weren't looking. Things were said about Pregnant Cousin not needing them for a while. In all, the finger cots gave us a lot of enjoyment one night in Big Bear.

About three months before Grams died, my mom, her brother and sister and sister-in-law and I all got together and were moving Grams from one place to another. She never made it to the other place; she was sent to the hospital and never made it out, so it was good that we started cleaning her out so soon. I was in the kitchen, emptying out box after box of hoarded saltine packets and jelly pods while the others were taking care of the rest of the flat. My aunt-in-law was in the bathroom finding similarly hoarded stashes of hospital-sized toothpastes, deoderants, and hotel-sized tubes of soap when suddenly she let out a laugh and walked into the living room. "Mike," she said to my uncle. "Can you please explain why your mother has a box of condoms in the bathroom?" My mom and aunt came out to take a look and I let out a laugh as I rolled one onto my finger. "At least she was safe," my uncle said with a laugh.

We all remembered that Christmas and Cuz being forced to buy them.

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