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Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Life as a one-armed man in a two-armed world is murder. And I really mean murder- I get the feeling that there is a guy following me around who thinks I killed his wife. Can you see me even trying? "Hold on baby could you turn around? I can't kill you from this side because I need to hold the knife in my left hand." I can't even weild a knife lefty, although I can brandish not too bad.

But it has been hard. I'm ostracized at clandestine "business meetings" because one hand won't wash the other. I'm scoffed at in the ballgame bleachers when the wave goes all the way around the stadium, makes it through my left hand then comes to a screeching halt at my right hand, and they have to start the thing all over. At Gospel revivals when it comes time to Put My Hands Together, Jesus is looking down from the stained glass window, rolling His eyes.

My life right now is like that episode of "Flipper" where Flipper gets his ventral fin caught in a propeller and has to learn how to masturbate with his dorsal fin. Was Flipper a boy or a girl? I don't suppose it matters much.

All of a sudden I'm a southpaw. I used to be a northpaw, but my slip and fall pulled it southeast, and the surgery yanked it back northwest. I tried to write lefty, and discovered that it really didn't make much different to my handwriting, which either way is read from bottom to top, like Chinese, only taller. Typing isn't much better; I have to avoid certain words altogether, which has stunted my vocabulary. Words that I use often, like "lumpy," I have to type with one hand.

My right arm is in a sling, which I usually keep tucked underneath my shirt so I don't have to remove it to get dressed (the sling not the arm). So my right sleeve hangs limply at my side, causing people to think the injury much worse than it actually is. Until my hand pops out of the bottom of my shirt like a rogue Muppet. Sometimes it retrieves the mail like "Thing" when I am asleep.

I was hoping that I didn't need "Tommy John" surgery, since I would rather have it performed by a qualified doctor than an aging ex-ballplayer with one bad elbow. I even fantasized that I could pioneer a NEW type of procedure, and have it named after ME! Can you imagine the glory? My OWN infirmity! I pictured an operation that grafted tissue from my ass and had it implanted into my elbow, thereby reducing the need to distinguish one from the other.

I went to a dinner party recently, and it became apparent that I could not cut my food and might do something gross. My friend Matt had to cut my food, and offered to feed me if I promised to do it like in "Clockwork Orange."

No matter how hard I try I can't use a scissor lefty. Try it yourself sometime and you'll see what I mean. I remembered that you're supposed to use a PAIR of scissors, and that was twice as ineffective.

I'm finding it hard to blow my nose. I never realized it was a two-handed operation- I only have one nose; am I using one hand for each nostril? Or putting on my socks- I get them almost all the way on, and on the final pull the heel ends up on top. I have to leave my shoelaces tied in a double knot so I can slip my sneakers on and off.

I couldn't live upstairs with the grownups so I had to make do downstairs- my wife calls it my "nest." It consists of a pullout couch, a phone, a TV and a computer. The pullout couch is kind of a cheapo - if you lie in the wrong spot it starts to fold back up into a couch, so you need to plan an escape route.

There really isn't a hell of a lot to do with one hand. I did do a lot of gambling- me and the one-armed bandit are basically both in the same boat. I had to find one that was righty. I was going to try poker but didn't want to lose the only good hand I had left.

I'm in physical therapy three times a week. My physical therapist used to work on some of the Knicks- Patrick Ewing, Bill Cartwright, etc. She is big on stretching, and she must be good at her job because look how tall those guys are?

In my spare time (which is the only time I have right now) I am fabricating a better story than that I was walking along and all of a sudden I was on my back like an upside-down beetle. Tearing up your shoulder just by being a pedestrian is so... well, pedestrian.

So if you happen to be a fugitive, and you are wanted for murder, and you need to find a one-armed man to clear your name and avoid the death penalty, it really isn't that hard. Just look for a guy with a runny nose and sloppy arts and crafts who swallows food whole and can only do half the wave at the ballgame, and arrest him on the spot.

Incidently, people who are left-handed process emotions differently than their right-handed counterparts, according to the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. Much more fascinating is that there is no more Life Magazine, but we have a Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. Speaking of right-handed counterparts, that reminds me I need a new washer for my cold water faucet.