Last Saturday morning, I received the following text from my sister:
Call my cell asap
We were scheduled to head to my parents house to celebrate my sister’s 40th birthday with a special dinner on Saturday evening, spend the night and then have Easter dinner with extended family on Sunday. I figured they needed me to pick up something along the way to my parent’s house.
Or maybe not.
I called my sister and she blurted out “Dad just cut off his thumb with the table saw. I am in the ER with mom.”
My immediate reply was “Do you think mom is still going to have dinner tonight?” And lest you think I am a heartless thug, this isn’t my family’s first rodeo when it comes to my dad and his accidental self-injury antics…..
Long ago in a remote rural location far, far away, he inadvertently cut himself with a chainsaw while clearing the land that would become the location of our family home. I was 6 at the time and with dad when the Maryland Chainsaw [Nearly a] Massacre took place. Dad passed out from loss of blood and came to a few hours later. Luckily, I wasn’t too adventurous and didn’t wander off to the cliff (!) overlooking Breton Bay (!!), just 100 yards through the very thick woods my dad was trying to clear.
Not as long ago, in a less remote rural location [because others had discovered the joy of country living], far, far away, my dad took up blacksmithing as a hobby. One day, my mom arrived home from work to find blood everywhere in the kitchen and a note that said Lillie, had to go to the dentist in my dad’s scrawl. It seems the village smithy had been pounding on some iron, but didn’t have a very good grip on it. As he struck the iron with a hammer, that piece of very hot iron slipped from the grip of his tongs and began a trajectory that ended at his upper lip, taking out his two front teeth as he exclaimed “Oh Thit!”
And then there was Saturday. Dad was making his last cut of the day on some wood project with the table saw. He ended up taking off his thumb just under his finger nail and the tip of his index finger. My sister had texted the picture of the severed thumb to me and my two other sisters, but I won’t show it here. I’m saving it for America’s Funniest Home Amputations — I hear it’s a new reality series in development.
What I will show you is my heavily medicated father and what he described as his new Easter bunny hand puppet:
He also started answering the phone “Thumbs Up”. Yeah, those pain killers were definitely doin’ their job.
Later that evening, he sent out an e-mail to family, friends, and co-workers with the subject line: Table Saw 2; Pete 0. But he didn’t send it to his four daughters. That’s ok, we got ahold of the list and I crafted this little update that I sent to everyone:
Dad. Did you think not putting us on your e-mail blast list about your most recent misadventure would prevent your clever offspring (we learned from the best, after all) from providing a bit of perspective for all your family and friends? Look, dude, if we can get a picture of your bloody stump on facebook before the doctor can order your pain meds in the ER, we can figure out a way to add all your friends, family and co-workers to our special e-mail list — a.k.a. Dad’s at it again, and somebody’s gettin’ disinherited over it.
Since my sisters are a bunch of sissies, I will do the honors of crafting the…..
Top 10 Things We Have to Rename Because of Dad
10. Was Called: Thumb
Now Called: Humb
9. Was Called: Give me a high 5
Now Called: Give me a high 4.75
8. Was Called: Table Saw
Now Called: Nail file
7. Was Called: ER Room #4
Now Called: The Pete Himmelheber Memorial Self-Inflicted Thumb/Teeth Injury Lounge & Suture Room
6. Was Called: The neighbor’s front yard
Now Called: Front row seat to the Himmelheber circus
5. Was Called: Valium
Now Called: Lillie’s “vitamins”
4. Was Called: Retirement
Now Called: Dad’s in the ER again…..
3. Was Called: Pete
Now Called: Franken-Himmel
2. Was Called: Green Thumb
Now Called: Sorta Bloody Red Thumb
1. Was Called: Becky’s Inheritance
Now Called: Diane, Nancy & Susan’s share upped by 1/4 (coincidently, the same share as dad’s thumb has been reduced by)
-Becky “Two Thumbs Up” Himmelheber Rice