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Careful, That’s Sharp!

Posted Jul 03 2009 2:06pm
I never realized how much I use the ring finger of my left hand until I lopped off a piece of the tip today, the victim of my latest kitchen accident. I try to remember to curl my fingers around the food I’m slicing, but I get sloppy and in a hurry and before I know it, WHACK! Off comes a body part.

I blame my father. He lost the top of his thumb and a good chunk of his pointer finger in a jointer accident when I was 5 years old. He was making something in his workshop one night and got all “I don’t need a guide for this piece of wood,” then WHACK! Off came his fingers. Mom woke me up the next morning warning me Daddy’s hand was bandaged and to not use him as a jungle gym for a few days.

You’d think that would have taught him a lesson, wouldn’t you? Ha ha ha! If only that were so. Twenty years later, I got a call from my mom:

“Hi, Lynn. Before I tell you what happened, Dad’s fine…”

“Oh good lord, what did he do now?”

“Well, he was sawing a piece of wood and he slipped and cut off the top of his other thumb.”


This was a few years AFTER he sliced his hand open with an axe while chopping fire wood. Here’s how our conversation went after that little incident:

“Dad, you need to go to the hospital for stitches,” I said as I tried to bandage his gaping, bleeding wound.

“Ah,” he said, waving me away. “I’ll just wrap it up real good.”

“Dad, you’re bleeding everywhere.”

“Ah,” he said, waving me away. “It’ll stop.”

Fast forward 15 years.

“Lynnie,” said Dad, rubbing the scar on his hand. “I should’ve gotten stitches.”


What is it with men and their fingers?

One of my late father-in-law’s favorite stories to tell was about the time he cut off his pinkie finger when he was 5 years old. It was the Depression, his family didn’t have much, and the harvest was in full swing. No one was going to stop picking corn to take a little kid to the doctor. So his mother picked up the finger, sewed it back on, wrapped it up tight, and he had a somewhat fully-functional finger until his dying day. It got a little numb and cold in the winter, but otherwise he had no complaints.

My uncle Arthur lost his ring finger when he was stepping down off a ladder. His foot slipped and as he tried to grab a higher rung to stop his fall, his wedding ring got caught on something. As he fell, he left his finger behind. That had to hurt.

At least my kitchen accidents mend. So far anyway. The tip of my right thumb has no feeling anymore, but at least it still looks like a normal thumb.

So in the interest of safety, I turned to the Internet to see if there were any handy how-tos or gadgets to help make my kitchen experience less dangerous.

I found a very strange looking Finger Shield, the Tower Slicer, and ooooohhhh! Pampered Chef makes a finger guard! I love me some PC. (Note to self: email Carr, PC consultant extraordinaire.)

Not only am I dangerous with knives, I’m notorious for shredding the crap out of my knuckles and finger nails when I use a hand grater, too. But this might help: the Microplane Cut Resistant Grating and Kitchen Glove.

(And just for run, see how many typos you can spot on this site: How To Slice Vegetables.)


What I need is a mandoline. (Not to be confused with mandolin, which would be impossible to play with sliced up finger tips.) But which one do I buy? There are so many out there, so many choices, so many (yikes!) price ranges. Do any of you use a mandoline? If not, how do you slice and dice and julienne without cutting yourself? My fingers are crying out for help! Especially the one that types the “s,” “w,” and “2” on my keyboard. Who knew we use our left ring finger so much?

One more thing, could someone please fetch me a Band-Aid. I seem to have bled out of this one. And while you’re at it, could you tell me how many Points there are in blood…
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