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.
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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.