I always thought the age of discovery to be a reference to ancient times, but for me it’s all about current events. I don’t mean public events, like what passes for news on TV broadcasts, but important discoveries right in my own home. Some of the stuff I learn is downright entertaining and some will send you to the ER in the dark of night.
I now know that blowing my nose in a music studio causes acoustic guitars in the room, on the wall and in their stands, to ring in harmony. That’s a fascinating discovery and leads, of course, to experimenting with certain other noises to see whether the phenomenon repeats in lower frequencies with a similar harmonic response. Imagine being able to create your own musical score using only what the Lord gave you and maybe a kazoo. A smart fifth grader could program the app and I see a huge market among the teenage male demographic. This is just one opportunity.
A lot of us mature guys are aware of a factory-installed security system conveniently placed in our bladders sometime around the moment of conception. It is designed to alert us to threats to ourselves, our families, or worse, our bed linens, most often at times when we are least likely to be on high alert. It’s a useful if somewhat annoying system. It didn’t take long for my house pets to see this nocturnal activity as an interesting diversion and join me for my nightly security rounds. Be aware that cats in particular can be jerks and will brake-check you in a dark hall with disastrous results to see if you are giving them the expected notice and deference. There have been reports of broken bones, broken furniture, broken windows, broken speed-of-a-cat-through-a-window world records, and rumors of broken marriages.
Speaking of cats, I’ve learned that one perched on the back of my old recliner completely messes up the performance of the chair. It works as it should until the added weight of the cat causes the chair to recline, requiring well-developed abs in order for me to stay somewhat upright. Admittedly, this chair is not in top form. Bought in Lewiston 14 years ago from a Craigslist ad for $50, it now has broken springs and a sagging seat, making it a challenge for an old man to get out of, even without the cat on it. We ordered a new chair last week. It ought to arrive at about the time I get the cast off my hand.
About that, just this month I learned that the one appendage on my body that doesn’t get nearly enough attention has way more than a couple of uses. Settle down, it ain’t that. I had surgery on my left hand to repair and reroute some structural stuff to reduce discomfort, increase strength and dexterity, and permit me to continue wasting hundreds of hours playing guitar. The downside is that the recovery time is lengthy.
My wife is thrilled that I’ve had this done since it gives her the opportunity to step back into the kitchen and hone her culinary skills. Also to practice doing dishes, a skill that has been shamefully neglected in recent years. I will acknowledge that she has been busily employed earning enough money to replace stuff broken by the previous scullery knave. Of matching glasses, we have few.
Not having a useful thumb on my left hand is a temporary minor inconvenience in the overall scheme of things and it is way less restricting than other injuries or physical compromises suffered by less fortunate folks. Nonetheless, I’m relearning some basic two-handed life activities that co-star thumbs. My bench vice in the workshop makes a useful assistant for opening pickle jars and charging an inhaler, but it’s not helpful for buttoning my Wranglers or cutting my steak.
Most normal life chores are now more awkward to perform, but not impossible. Making things more inconvenient is the temporary splint/bandage on my hand. My thumbnail and first knuckle poke out of a ball of plastic, gauze, and stretchy wrapping on my hand that is approximately the size of an 18-horse Evinrude. Sticking it through the sleeve of a casual shirt is an exercise in frustration, so I’ll be buying replacement sweatshirts since my others now have slits up the left wrist.
There you have it, a sample of new awareness and experience gathered this month. Maybe meaningless to you, but when all a man has to do is sit in a broken recliner with a self-indulgent cat on his shoulder and contemplate his thumb, it is fortunate that he learned anything at all.
Butch Lawson is an observer of life. He lives on Bailey Island.