by J. J. Smiley
Bad decisions bad consequences.
|Which path to travel,
Which way to turn,
Concrete or gravel,
There’s rubber to burn.
Sometimes there’s no gas station attendant from which to get directions.
Some decisions are ripe with benefits while others leave dire consequences.
It was a small project. I need only drill a small 3/16 hole in this three inch by one inch piece of strap metal. I looked at drill press on the work bench, then in the box next to it. The chuck key, of course, was nowhere in sight. Well this won’t take long and I’ll just hold it carefully, while I use the hand drill. The correct bit was already in the drill so I would be done in a minute.
Holding the metal in my left hand and placing the tip of the bit in the necessary location I pulled the trigger and began pushing, just a little. The metal resisted more than I thought it would, so I pushed harder. Still resisting, I escalated the pressure even more.
Everything at this point was a blur. The bit snapped. The now flat end of the turning drill bit drove itself into my left thumb. At the same time I let loose the trigger, but the motor didn’t slow or stop fast enough. There I stood, the only witness to the self inflicted injury. A fine testament to poor decision making, it was little funny but more pathetic than anything else.
The drill bit had twisted in, but not like a bullet pushing everything out of its way. Nooo, it was more like corkscrew embedding its self into the soft flesh with no intention of letting go. The flat broken drill bit end was now sticking out of the other side of my thumb. Now, more surprised than angry, that it happened, I stood there realizing that I could also, not let go off the drill.
I had already dropped the piece of metal and had maintained my thumb position relative to the drill, but the drill and bit were doing most of the work. I gave an ever so soft pull to the drill, immediately the truth was evident. I could not pull the bit straight out of my thumb.
All that remained was the horrible idea of having to reverse the polarity of the drill and literally unscrew it from its current lodging. I felt about the bottom of the drill handle with my right pinky finger and managed to nudge the small switch to the reverse position.
Drawing in a very deep breath, I depressed the trigger. It was a variable speed drill and the trick was to have it turn, not too fast, not too slow but just the right speed. Darn you Goldie Locks. I tried not to do more damage coming out than I did going in, if that were possible. The pain, of the drill bit coming out, was not as bad as I would have thought. Adrenaline at this point was more likely deadening any pain receptors.
Upon exiting the wound I heaved the drill at the work table, were it landed safely and with indifference to my plight. I cradled my left hand into my right with the damaged appendage sticking straight up in front of me. The drill bit had gone into grizzle and flesh but somehow missed any bone. I stared at the thumb that looked, for the most part, normal, with the exception of course of the two opposing holes. There was but a small oozing of clear liquid with only the tiniest of crimson specks inside, like a glass marble with air captured bubbles, coming from either of the damage sites.
My anger had risen considerably since the extraction and I was thinking that if it started to bleed I would take the hatchet and cut it off completely for sheer spite. These highly intense perverse thoughts came over me like a tidal wave and my thumb must have took heed. My vicious, vindictive thoughts may have in fact caused the small veins in my thumb to contract and constrict. Mind over matter must really work I thought.
Regaining some composure, I went into the house and cleaned the wound, wrapping it perversely in gauze. The result looked like a fussy white tennis ball stuck to my hand. But the bulge of material would keep it clean, absorb any body fluid and act as a bumper as well. I found the aspirin and took some in anticipation of the shock wearing off.
Feeling better I went back outside to clean up the garage, the wife pulled up in the driveway fresh from shopping. As she got out of the car her cheery voice exclaimed “Hi honey anything new?” I stood, with one hand behind my back, and replied “Nope, I know where I am and I’m not stopping for directions.” I of course knew she wasn’t paying attention as she reached into the trunk, to get a bag of groceries.