The Splinter That Ruined My Day

September 8, 2010

Today’s post is brought to you by Matt’s thumb.

Hey.  I’m Matt’s thumb, and this is my very first guest post on his blog.  I had a great time camping with Matt over Labor Day.  Well, mostly a good time…

See, the first day of the trip seemed to be a little bit cursed.  Matt was super tired after a long drive right after church, and he was running out of daylight.  Matt and his wife tried to quickly set up their tent and getting dinner going while a ton of gnats bothered them.

Luckily, there was a ton of firewood laying nearby, so I suggested to Matt that we go grab some and get a fire going before it got dark.  We hadn’t been there more than 30 minutes.  As Matt pointed me toward the first piece of firewood, I saw something that looked rather dangerous, but for some reason, I didn’t say anything.

You’ve heard of those guys who get nails shot into their brains and stuff like that and live?  Well this wasn’t a nail, but it was still pretty freaking hardcore.  That very first piece of wood that I tried to grab, well, it had a huge splinter right on the end, much like a nail made of wood.  We’re talking about 3/8s of an inch (or 1 cm).  And as I went to grab that firewood, that gosh darn splinter somehow shot itself instantly right into my head, right underneath my nail!

Here I am posing with my injury, next to a dime so you can see how big and manly I am compared to a dime.  I look pretty beat up.  Sorry about that.  I’m a little embarassed by my appearance, as I usually try to maintain a trim figure and nice white half moon.  There wasn’t a first aid station at the park we were camped at.  Since we were in the middle of nowhere, there was no nearby hospital either, and I think you can tell I was in no condition to hitchhike for help.  So I’ve had this thing stuck there for a couple of days now, but don’t worry.  I’m okay.  And through this experience, I learned a few things about Matt, and I’d like to think about life.

Chicks Dig Scars

It’s got to be true.  Women are drawn to men who have been injured.  Now, Matt doesn’t have any major battle scars.  His scars are from landing his knuckle on the oven element, or being splashed with hot water.  He’s never even broken a bone, or ruptured both his achilles tendons like Eugene Cho!  But you should’ve seen the attention I was getting from Matt’s wife.  Matt was even getting jealous of me.  I could see it in his eyes.

That being said…

Chicks Probably Dig Scars More When the Guy Isn’t Being a Huge Crying Baby

Matt likes to put up a big front.  He likes to talk about if a burglar came into our house, or someone tried to mug him and his wife that he’d bust some chops, roll some heads, and throw some roundhouse kicks around.  But after this experience with him, I have my doubts…

I firmly told Matt to calm down and that he was looking foolish, but he was squeezing me pretty tight, and running around rather frantically, so he didn’t hear me over his wimpering.  He was shouting something pretty incoherant about first aid.  Matt’s no wimp, mind you.  I helped him canoe across 50 miles of northern wilderness, twice.  But the guy’s just got no threshold for pain, and it’s pathetic.  I don’t know how that dude was able to free himself from beneath a fallen boulder by sawing his own arm off, but my hat is off to him.  It’s a good thing I wasn’t having a baby, because I think Matt may have fainted.  I think once he realized I wasn’t going to give him blood poisoning or anything, he finally chilled.  I was the one with a wooden spike in my head, and I never lost my cool.

One last thing I noticed while Matt was totally freaking out.

It’s Amazing How Something so Small Can Ruin Your Day

I’ll admit, having a wooden spike rapidly shoved into my head was pretty inconvenient for me.  I’m an important guy.  People look to me for leadership, as the one opposable digit on the entire hand.  But I’m not even the thumb Matt uses most.  He’s left handed.  I don’t even help him on his blog!  The worn out spot on his space bar proves that I’m just along for the ride while lefty does all the spacing.  Sure, I won’t be able to give the old thumbs up for a while, but it’s all right.  Middle finger has promised to pick up my slack while I’m laid up.

Of all the things that could’ve happened, this wasn’t the worst, by far.  In fact, just that morning, Matt got a call from his friend whose Dad had a brain tumor that had to be removed.  And just before I became impaled, Matt and I drove about five hours and not once did we get into a multi-car collision, flip the vehicle, drive off a cliff and blow up.  Not even once.

Yet while Matt was frantically searching for a non-existent first aid station, he was totally acting like this was the worst thing ever, like we might as well have had a car accident.  How could God put that splinter there?  And after Matt totally gave a kicking sermon about Him just that morning!  But that’s how people are I guess.  They have their plans, and they get really bent out of shape when a splinter comes along.  And they tend to forget when that splinter is really hurting that their biggest problems are already taken care of by a God who loves them.

It’s always good to have a life lesson in a near death experience.  What’s the worst injury you’ve had?  Did you find you have a high or low threshold for pain?  When was the last time your day got ruined by something small?

23 responses to The Splinter That Ruined My Day

  1. In the meantime, while Matt was running about screaming, moaning, and cursing the day of his birth, Matt’s wife pulled the splinter out.

  2. Ouch! I got one of those once while I was doing red cedar roofing. It was in my middle finger, so showing it off was rather humorous. I cut it out with a utility knife and stuck it in the ocean, then wrapped it with a band-aid.

    I have had a few worsts – taking an 70 MPH slap-shot to the teeth, crashing my motorcycle at the racetrack in the vicinity of 90 MPH (broke a few ribs, my wrist and tore the meniscus in my knee), and being rear-ended at a stop light; dislocating a vertebrae which left me unable to stand up straight for 15 weeks… I don’t do too well with pain, and I go into shock easily. I so want to be Rambo or Chuck Norris.

    In spite of all that, the most painful might have been watching both my parents die of cancer. I hate cancer. In the end, I remember how desperate I was a few months before I met Jesus – I think that was the worst pain I have ever been in.

  3. Ever notice that the whole world is made of splinters?

    And hot coals.

    Once I stood on a ladder trimming a high hedge while smoking my pipe. Since I worked with a chain saw, I wore high boots for safety.

    Went to knock out my pipe on my heel, a common practice. The burning coal from my pipe dropped down inside my boot!

    Turn off the chainsaw. Climb down the ladder. Unlace the boot–burning all the while.

    That sucker burned through flesh down to the ankle bone.

    My beautiful wife, ever sympathetic, said, “Well, John, the Surgeon General warned that smoking can be hazardous to your health”.

  4. Mr. Thumb, you make some good points. But wouldn’t your importance sky-rocket if Matt had indeed sawed his arm off, no doubt the left arm, since you were still around to be injured.

    Sorry I had to be THAT guy. Great post.

  5. Thumb, I’m so glad you have middle finger to pick up your slack. Now THAT is family.

    Worst pain ever? 2 years ago, I woke up and couldn’t get out of bed. There was this awful pain in my abdomen, and I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t really take a deep breath… couldn’t yell for someone’s help… could hardly talk. I ended up calling someone and making my way to the ER… where after lots of water and time, they gave me some great Opiates and told me to have a nice life.

    And just hours before, I was accepting my own, seemingly inevitable death.

  6. I’ve had seven root canals…those have sucked pretty heavily.

  7. Worst injury? When I broke my arm. But really, I don’t remember it hurting that much, just being a huge massive inconvenience (this was back in 1984 and I had an old-timey plaster cast that I had to keep perfectly dry and it smelled bad and it was in the summer and I couldn’t swim and I was hot and itchy and hated it). When I jammed a paring knife into my hand, that barely bled at all, but man, it hurt like a mother.

    And that splinter is pretty horrifying looking. I don’t think I’ll be back to read this particular post again, ’cause it scares me!

  8. I’ve never had any broken bones either. I’ve had excruciating sun burns on more than a couple occasions and I really messed up my ankle in a stupid dunking contest the week before our first basketball game in high school. That sucked. By the way, that splinter looks huge. Either that or your hands are tiny. Either way, looks like it sucked…

  9. I fell off a curb. Sounds pretty innocuous, no? Well…no. At first they thought I had just sprained my ankle. Apparently I have a very high pain tolerance because a few weeks later, an x-ray showed a crack in a bone in my foot. A few more weeks and that crack had turned into a piece of bone actually broken off. Surgery to screw the bone piece back on. When I was still having pain several months later, an MRI showed that the cartilage between two bones was damaged. Surgery to remove the cartilage and screw the two bones together. Third surgery about a year later to remove two screws that were working their way out. So, to recap: fell off a curb. Two years, three operations, and many non-weight-bearing weeks later, it was fixed. I do have an awesome, 6-inch, crescent-shaped scar on my foot, though.

    Then there were the two knee replacement surgeries. But we won’t discuss those because just thinking about that pain still makes me cry like a baby.

    But that splinter? Totally giving me the willies, man. Ouch.

  10. I had the top of my finger cut off in a saw, and another shredded. Kind of ruined my day a little bit.

  11. Most physical pain I’ve ever been in was definitely shortly before they induced me with my son (my first-born). He was breech, so they did an “external version” – basically, they pushed REALLY hard on my belly and got him to turn over. Even with the epidural, it hurt like a mug. And was scary as all get-out (emergency c-section, anyone?). I’ve had him and another baby since then (one without any drugs at all, on purpose), and still nothing holds a candle to those five minutes of OB and nurse, standing over me, pushing him.

    Scariest in terms of “what does this mean for _my_ life?” was the years 2000 and 2001. I had two lumps in my right breast (one right after the other), but they weren’t looking like cancer in the scans, so we tried every antibiotic/antiviral/antiparasitic known to man to try to get them to go away. Finally, after months of not really knowing for sure, they were each removed (Sept 10th, 2000 and July 28th, 2001). They were both benign, but the first was discovered in Jan of 2000, the second in Mar of 2001 – that’s a total of 13 months of wondering if I had cancer (not to mention the third lump that showed up a couple of years later, but disappeared due to the magic of breastfeeding).

    It turns out that I _do_ have a pretty high pain tolerance, but moreso, those 13 months of wondering led me to a place where I realized that I seriously didn’t fear death. Oh, it’s not something I’d seek out, but I’m not at all afraid of it and that’s VERY freeing. It lets you do all sorts of things that make no “common sense” and are therefore actually acts of faith. (Keeping in mind though that unless God calls you to that specific non-sensical thing, it’s just a non-sensical thing.)

  12. Worst injury? Mmmm….it was either the time when I nearly ripped out my finger nails clawing my way up a 45-degree angle with a 40 lb pack on my back, orrrrr…..less dramatic…my knee going down onto the metal edge of a giant cooler as I went to get a jug of milk and on that same day nearly squishing my fingers as I bagged my groceries…you know, some days, grocery shopping is just as dangerous as hiking in the wilds. LOL

  13. There are three injuries that have affected my life in someway.

    I was stupid enough to dig in my bookbag without actually looking in when I was in the 5th grade. I got a pencil tip stuck into my hand and there’s a black mark where I got stuck. I remember scaring my teacher by flailing my hand around and shrieking.

    I’ve got a scar on my forehead from where I had a rock thrown at me when I was two (no recollection, but my mom remembers).

    I stepped in a pothole and twisted my left knee a little in the 8th grade while walking home from school with a pocketbook, a bookbag, and my bass clarinet case.

    • The pencil injury and the knee injury weren’t that bad, but I was pretty shaken up from what I remember. I thank God that I haven’t been seriously injured because these scars and other injuries are just child’s play compared to some other stories.

  14. Both my kids have had splinters like that. And had the emergency room treatment to get them out (one on the day it happened, the other had to sleep on it). It’s amazing what you can do to distract them while waiting for the anesthetic to work, and while the doc is digging it out.

    And, like Matt, apparently it HURTS!

  15. You should think about cutting out and doing your own blog Mr. Thumb…it would be a hoot!

  16. Bleh. I get chills every time I look at that pic of the sliver. I was never meant to be a nurse.

    Hilarious post, Matt!

  17. Matt,

    When I got to the part about Eugene Cho and his Achilles, I bust out laughing. Eugene is my pastor, and the ironic thing when he injured the second one, his wife told him as he was heading out the door to go play basketball, to “Don’t come home injured” (or something to that effect). He even tweeted her statement, and then a couple hours later had to fess up that he did in fact hurt himself. Poor guy.

    The worst injury I had was when I broke my big toe. I was getting some ice at the grocery store, and 3 10lb blocks of ice fell out and landed on my foot. I walked around with a geriatric cane for about a month while it healed.

  18. hey matt’s thumb,

    you’re a wimp.

    eugene’s left & right achilles tendons