…but I do.
I slammed my middle finger in the car door in third grade. I started screaming because the door was fully closed and I was sincerely afraid my mom would drive off with me still attached to the car. It hurt, but the bigger fear was the thought of me flailing in the wind like a stream of toilet paper as my mom sped off to go shopping.
So we get to the doctor’s office and they rip the nail off after sticking a needle in the middle of the wound to dull the pain. Effective? Not so much. Believe it or not, pain was not the biggest issue for me at that moment. I was mortally afraid that I would be flipping people off all day because a giant, throbbing white mummy had sprouted from the middle of my hand. My mom reassured me that God made little fingers before people made up that sign and that I would be okay.
But I wasn’t okay, and for a long time after high school, I found reasons to flip people off all the time…with that very finger. Much of it was mommy’s doing, but I ain’t here to hate. I have paid too much for therapy to carry that crap around anymore, though it’s fun to stir up memories sometimes and feel that anger. For fun.
I do carry the scars on my middle finger from that day. I got fingerprinted the other day (don’t ask) and the scars from where the door latch went through the pad of my finger interrupted the whorls and grooves in a fantastic way. Unique. The bio-art of living. The other hand looked normal, except where I sliced a half inch off the top of my thumb and just put it back together like a flip-top cap and went to the convenience store to get some Lick ‘Em Aid. It rolled pretty cool on the scanner. Looked like a guillotine mishap.
I could take a lot of pain and just go on with my day as a kid, but if I heard an older say the F-word, I lost it. The percussive sound assaulted my ears like mass droppage at a cast-iron skillet factory. Then I would walk home with a huge gash in my aura and try to sew it together with episodes of “Heart to Heart” or “Remington Steele”.
Now I find as many new ways to say the F-word as I can possible imagine. A cop friend of mine uses F-tard a lot. For some reason that made me laugh for days. It makes me laugh now. I can’t believe it. Lots of things like that make me laugh that scared the crap out of me as a kid.
Like the fat-ass drug dealer down the street. How can you be fat and sell meth? I guess he’s a good, lardy businessman and doesn’t use his own product. (First rule of business, by the way. Don’t deplete your own stock. Hence why I don’t work at Sephora or The Cheesecake Factory.)
So I’m holding this kitten that I took home from these people who rescued the mother and his eight brothers and sisters from the wilds of their Johnson County neighborhood golf club. His name is Cheesecake and he’s unconditional, warm, fuzzy and purrs a lot. He’s sitting on my lap right now making me feel like all is good in the world. The F-word has just left the building.