All Thumbs

11 Jan

What happened, did you lose your digits climbing Everest? No, he said slurping on Udon Noodle soup, holding the edges of the bowl with strange, fleshy mittens. Did you know in Japan it is customary to vigorously slurp your stock? No. It is; it signals to your host that you love her cooking; the more you love it the louder you slurp; It’s quite the opposite of Western etiquette, don’t you think; it goes against everything your mother has taught you. Yes, but what about your fingers? Ah those, he said; no, I am not a mountaineer, rather far from it. I cannot suffer temperature colder than this room; in fact I thrive in very warm climates, like fungus. He brought the bowl to his mouth and tilted it enough for a bit of liquid to spill over his lips and down his chin, which he did not wipe. But then, how? How did you lose your fingers? Our greatest demerit, he said, as human beings is melancholy; it spoils the appearance or completeness of anything; it fouls the state of being held as the cause of something that needs to be set right. Melancholy is what makes the old new again; it’s what makes us believe in clichés such as History Repeats Itself—a futile, inaccurate marketing slogan often used as atonement and in fact license for transgression—as it implies inevitable celestial or mystical cycles. Melancholy is the infection that lays dormant in all of us. And so one night after a particularly severe case of this black, pensive dejection induced by obtuse reflection encouraged by a colleague and a candidate for a doctorate in psychology, I got hold of a panel saw and proceeded to methodically amputate my fingers; to forever remind me of this awful vice. I left only the pollicals on purpose; you see I was born with opposable thumbs and thought I would at least leave behind something of practical value. With only my thumbs, I would be able to continue to use tools. He tilted the bowl to his lips again and this time did not spill. I can show you a brilliant card trick, he said, would you like to see?

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One Response to “All Thumbs”

  1. dennisfinocchiaro 11/01/2010 at 12:21 PM #

    Great. I love the way it flows. Interesting writing!

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