Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chronicles of Life … No. 2 dilemma

Pencils are a danger to mankind and should be described as weapons, not writing utensils. Therefore, I am personally boycotting the use of pencils. Oh sure, pencils look all safe and appealing. You sharpen it to a tee and prepare to write away. Don’t fall for it. Pencils will injure you. I have learned one too many times about the dangers of pencils.

My pencil injuries started off with randomly poking myself occasionally. I always seem to write on myself. It’s not so bad with a pen. All I end up with is ink. Write on yourself with a pencil and you get scratches. Really painful scratches that sometimes draw blood and not lines.

Just this week I somehow managed to scrape off a bit of skin on my hand. Don’t ask me how. Of course it bled profusely. I had to treat it with a whole bottle of peroxide and a tube of Neosporin. OK maybe just a capful of each. But the bad thing is the cut is so awkward I can’t get a Band-Aid to stick there. So now I’m walking around with an open wound. Even worse I could cut myself in the same spot again.

However, none of these incidents compare to my worse pencil experience ever. One day I was walking with a pad in one hand, pencil in the other and a camera around my neck. I made a sudden movement to take a quick picture. Before I could push click, I felt a sharp pain shoot up my hand. I thought I was dying. I looked down and realized in my haste the pencil had collided with my hand. In the process, an inch of pencil lead broke off in my thumb. I almost fainted from the sight of it. And I couldn’t get it out.

I thought about calling 911, and then I went into panic mode. I just knew doctors would need to amputate my thumb. I called my parents in tears, but they thought I was over dramatizing the whole situation. Excuse me, but there’s a pencil lead in my thumb. HOW WOULD YOU REACT? Pain soon started spreading to my whole arm. Something had to be done immediately. So I stopped crying long enough to pull the lead out with tweezers. Left behind was a big bleeding hole in my thumb. I probably used half a bottle of peroxide and globs of Neosporin to clean it up.

Currently only two pencil battle scars are visible on my body: my new open wound, and a little gray circle under the skin of my thumb. This will forever serve as a reminder of why I must boycott pencils. Of course I’ll probably be back to using a pencil again in a few days. Scars fade and the gray circle’s not that noticeable. One silver lining is I won’t get lead poisoning. Pencil lead is made from graphite. However, pencils still aren’t safe for human use. At least not for me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chronicles of Life … Dueling Memories

Not so long ago, I was one of the best duelers in the West. At least I was in my mind. Granted, I’ve never actually been there. For me, the West was at my grandparents’ house. There I fought many a battle. My granddaddy often played the villain in our imaginary town, and I was the sheriff. We would fight for the title of “Quickest Draw in the West.”

“This town ain’t big enough for the both of us,” someone would say. “I challenge you to a duel!”

Granddaddy would count out “One, two, three,” and yell, “Now draw!” We both would respond with a loud, “Bang!” as we pointed our weapons (fingers, random objects and of course toy guns).

“Oh you got me!” one of us would yell.

Sometimes Granddaddy would draw first and get me. More often than not, I got him, because I was the quickest draw. Or at least he let me think I was. Dramatics would ensue with his death drop. And oh what a drop Granddaddy could do. He always managed to fall into his favorite chair. Some days he played possum, and would jump up saying I missed him. The duel would have to start anew. After checking to see if he was really gone, I would gallop off into the sunset (actually the kitchen) on my faithful steed Widow Maker.

Now Widow Maker was no ordinary horse. For one thing, she had the head of a horse and the body of a broom. You know those old school stick horses. Nonetheless, I loved Widow Maker to death. Granddaddy would share tales of all the riders Widow Maker took down. She turned many a wife into a widow. Only I was able to calm Widow Maker enough to ride her.

It’s funny how I should think of Widow Maker and those duels after all these years. That was well before my brother was born. I probably was 5 or 6 at the most. Just today, my mom sent me a text message asking if I remembered Widow Maker. Indeed I did. Those fun times with Granddaddy and Widow Maker first came back to my mind on Sunday. While leaving the library, I noticed someone had this giant rocking horse on the back of a truck. Immediately I thought of Widow Maker, Granddaddy and those duels.

These days, I don’t find myself in many duels. My best dueling opponent ever has gone to Heaven. And Widow Maker has long since gone out to pasture. Actually, I think my granny took her to the glue factory. She didn’t like Widow Maker for some reason. Once while cleaning up the house, Granny told Widow Maker to get her behind out the way (in not such nice terms).

I’ll always have the precious memories of my dueling days. And the title of “Quickest Draw in the West.” Don’t believe me? In the words of yesterday, “I challenge you to a duel! One, two, three. Now draw. Bang!”