Friday, October 16, 2009

COLUMN: Finger

Bad news, Quad Cities. It appears that my bed has turned evil. Regular readers of my column may have noticed that I was "on vacation" last week. Truth be told, I was right here in my apartment, paralyzed by an overwhelming fear of my bedroom furnishings.

It all started two weeks ago when -- wait, scratch that.

I guess it really started two YEARS ago when I bought a new bed. Furniture shopping isn't exactly my idea of paradise, ergo I decided to go whole-hog and get one of those pricey, enormous uber-mattresses that would hopefully last for years and years. You know, the kind with the pillow top and the depth so massive that science has yet to invent a sheet big enough to fit it? I have one seriously pimped-out bed.

But about a year ago, things started going downhill. I was routinely waking up with a wonky back and it seemed like the mattress was becoming lop-sided and sagging to the middle. This really ticked me off, given the relative newness and high price tag (a tag, mind you, that I quickly cut off under penalty of law upon arrival - does that make me a felon?) I had to do something about it.

That "something" was to begin sleeping on the couch every night. I just couldn't bring myself to admit that my extravagant mattress was a back-killer and a horrible purchase. And besides, my couch is pretty comfy, backache free, and stragetically located in close proximity to both my air conditioner AND my television. There are far worse fates than my couch, so I resigned myself to permanent living-room-dweller and pretty much handed over my bed to my two cats, who didn't seem to complain much.

This brings us to two weeks ago, and the onset of The Cold From Hell. I know, normally when I catch a cold I write some kind of pathetic woe-is-me column. But every time I've opened the paper lately, all I see are horror stories about H1N1 and people a lot worse off than me, so this time I kept my yap shut. This was no swine flu. It was just a yucky fall cold, and I decided to just be a big boy and tough it out.

And the first rule of "toughing it out," I've learned, is to whine pathetically to your girlfriend so that she becomes your indentured servant for a week. I was the sick one but Amy deserves the medal -- she ran herself ragged cooking and cleaning and doing my laundry while I lurked under a blanket of phlegm and pathos. I can't express in words how grateful I am -- so I tried expressing it in sneezes instead, and I think she understood. She even bought me a Snuggie, but I'm pretty sure it was just to take embarassing photos and post them on Facebook.

Well, the other night I was plastered to the couch while Amy was hanging up laundry when she called out, "Honey? I think I figured out what's wrong with the bed!"

Did I mention she's awesome AND SMART, TOO? I hobbled into the bedroom as she lifted up the mattress and the bedskirt. Somehow, likely in one of my help-I'm-being-chased-by-faceless-ninjas dreams, the box springs had popped right out of the bedframe and were sitting there all weebly-wobbly. And since the mattress was comically thick, I had no clue whatsoever. All I needed to do was just scoot the box springs over until they popped back into the frame, like sooo...

NYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! Suddenly I was no longer scooting the box springs. In fact, I was on my knees, screaming like a baby, cradling the ring finger of my right hand. It turns out that, while I was fixing things in a safe and cautious manner pursuant to OSHA standards, the bed had sprung to life and bit down on my finger really hard. The only other scenario involved me being an idiot and carelessly pinching my finger in-between the two weighty pieces of metal -- but clearly I'm too smart for that, so Evil Possessed Bed is the story I'm sticking with.

Immediately Amy came to my aid, and being the caring and chivalrous gentlemen that I am, I responded with a polite, "GEEET AWAAAAY!! I NEEED AIR!!! ICE!!! HOSPITAL!!!"

Well, I didn't need the hospital -- I don't think. I didn't GO to the hospital, anyways. I don't think my finger's broken because I can move it. It didn't even get particularly black and/or blue. But it hurts like a mutha even now, a week after the fact. I fear my best Guitar Hero days may be behind me.

So that's why I was "on vacation" last week. My hand hurt too bad to even contemplate typing. My bum finger is usually responsible for hitting U, I, & O on the keyboard, and it turns out that it's really tough to compose a half-vowelled column.

And yes, I know that there are people out there who continue to have it worse than me. I'm whining over a smooshed fingy while Stephen Hawking writes entire books based on eyeblinks. But I'm a whiner, so let me have my moment. Even though I'm left-handed, I'm rapidly learning how important this random digit on my right hand can be.

This was made painfully clear the next morning in the bathroom. How to say this in a family paper? There's a product whose slogan is "nature calls, Charmin answers." Well, for 38 years, Charmin has answered with my right hand. Faced with a left hand of Charmin, it was as though all of the coordination in my body went on holiday. It was SUCH a nightmare that I ended up pulling a muscle in my shoulder and falling clean off the toilet. There I landed on all fours -- shoulder aching, finger throbbing, nose running. I am SO super sexy.

The good news is that I'm on the mend. The cold is almost gone, my finger appears to at least remain attached to my hand, and my shoulder's fine. Better yet, my bed is level and comfy and beckoning. Too bad I'll never sleep in it again. It's already tried its best to break my back AND my finger -- and I'm pretty sure that yesterday I heard it growl with the thirst for human blood. Hopefully I'll be back to column writing speed by next week -- it just might be without U's or I's or O's. Sawry everybhddy. Whsh me lack!

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