Jack Ohman

Editorial cartoonist, writer and Joe King’s alter ego

I'll have three fingers of Jack, please...

03/04/2013 12:18 PM

03/04/2013 12:18 PM

I'm often asked what editorial cartoonists worry about more than anything else.

Ideas? No. Art? No. Topics? No.

We worry about smashing our fingers. A lot.

Like the late concert pianist Van Cliburn, neurosurgeons, and first basemen, we make our living with our hands, and, more specifically, our fingers. You lose a finger, and you're no longer an editorial cartoonist.

You're a stand-up comedian.

So I have eschewed hobbies that involve losing fingers, as a rule.

I remember about 15 years ago watching PBS's The New Yankee Workshop while running on my treadmill and thinking, gee, that woodworking sure looks like fun. I'll get a bunch of power tools and make Shaker furniture.

Ugly, bad Shaker furniture.

So I went out and put $2000 as a deposit on a table saw, a 14 inch drill, a joiner/planer, a dust management system, and more. My ex-wife thought it was a crazy idea, along with all the other crazy ideas I had that led to her becoming my ex-wife.

We get along fine now.

Anyway, while waiting for the delivery of all these cool new power tools, the following power tool-related finger-centric events took place:

1. A colleague cut off his thumb while running a power saw.

2. Another colleague cut off the tips of several of his fingers while running a power saw.

3. One of my ex-wife's friends cut off her index finger while running a power saw.

A pattern is detected.

So after the third incident of fingers/power saws/inattention to detail, I was able to read the auguries and I canceled my table saw order.

The salesman noted that I wasn't the first potential customer to cancel an order in the interim period after learning of an amateur finger removal involving power saws.

So, yesterday, I wasn't running a power saw. I was closing a garage door that was based on a design created during the Spanish Inquisition.

And my index finger and my middle finger were trapped in a crack in the closing door. After about five seconds of thinking, wow, I am not going to be drawing cartoons for The Sacramento Bee anymore, I raised the garage door.

I examined the fingers. They were attached and not bleeding, which was my quick field triage assessment.

So I spent the rest of the day on the sofa, watching Ken Burns' Baseball.

There was a quick shot of Rollie Fingers, the A's pitcher, or maybe it was Vida Blue, and it made me think of Rollie Fingers.

Then I thought of my fingers.

So, from now on, I am no longer going to engage in any finger-risky behaviors.

I've got a Nerf brush and a Tempurpedic pen. 

I've got to go now. I'm going to repair my garbage disposal.

Wish me luck.

About This Blog

Jack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at johman@sacbee.com. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.

 

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