Posted by: Rob | September 9, 2008

Two Thumbs Up

I recently read that the genes responsible for opposable thumbs and walking upright characteristics in humans are located in the part of the genome heretofore known as “junk” DNA. Thank goodness that it hasn’t been removed. Opposable thumbs and walking upright comes in pretty handy at times.

I’ve been working fairly steadily trying to get the outdoor work on the house finished up this summer. Since summer is rapidly winding down and marching toward winter I’m feeling especially panicked these days.

But, I suppose, even I need a break at times. At least that’s how interpret the karmic signs I received from the universe last night.

I had gotten a late start on getting outdoors after supper. I’m working on the north wall of the house, finishing up the box framing to support the manufactured stone that will complete the façade above the basement foundation wall and the finished vinyl siding.

Leaving the less desirable tasks to the end, I was working on extending the 1½” ABS pipe that serves as the sump pump discharge to the outside. I was squaring off the end of the existing pipe to clean it up for a coupling and extension using a hand hacksaw. I had already framed around it a bit figuring I had left sufficient room. But as I stroked the saw my right thumb came in contact with a notch I’d cut on the framing member above the pipe. A loose sliver of wood punched a slit hole into my right thumb just below the nail.

It didn’t start to bleed…until I attempted to remove the lid on the tin of ABS solvent cement. So off I went into the house to wash it off and apply a bandaid.

Back outside I finished up the addition of the pipe extension. I had another custom cut 2×4 strut to install, so I grabbed my hammer, my drill-driver and a handful of screws. I guess my mind was totally elsewhere and not on the task at hand. I inserted the wood piece and held it in place with my left hand as I swung the hammer to tap it into place and…hit my left thumb nail square on.

F**k! That hurt. It started bleeding pretty much immediately. Off into the house again for clean up and bandaid.

With both thumbs bandaided and taped up, I decided to accede to the unseen direction I was receiving. I cleaned up my tools and put them in the garage and called it quits for the evening.


  1. Schadenfreude! you had me smiling and laughing at this. yes, i’m sorry you beat yourself silly… glad you listened to the karmic gods. i likely would’ve kept going until both thumbs were out of commission AND i couldn’t walk upright…

  2. I need my digits. That’s why when there’s work to be done that involves sharp hand tools, I call the professionals. True, I have to somehow find the money to pay these guys, but at least I don’t have to teach myself how to hit the spacebar with my index finger.

  3. Yes, we must always be aware of the signs the Universe sends us. Two sore thumbs is definitely a sign. Be glad you didn’t plane the pad off of one of your thumbs, like my dad did. You only find out how important the nerves in that little fat pad are when it isn’t there anymore.

  4. Ouch. From “all thumbs” to “no thumbs” in two easy steps.

  5. @ gnukid: Glad to be of service providing comic relief and all. Yes, there are times when one must simply pay attention to the karmic gods.

    @unbearable banishment: I need my digits as well. Keyboarding stuff too. I once nearly lost the tip of my left index finger, pinched between the winch line and the live roll on a bed truck. But karmic gods intervened – favourably – on my behalf. I’ve known colleagues who have had close encounters with table saws. I use a lot of saws, including table saws, and I’m always quite cautious around those rapidly spinning blades. All it takes is one careless second though…

    As for professionals, well they are difficult to find, even if I was inclined to hire the work out.

    @ silverstar: Despite some steep learning curves, I’ve not done serious damage to myself. Yet.

    @ kyknoord: Fortunately, I heal fast, so by the next day things were almost back to full functionality.

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