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Twelfth Night
Sunday, January 6 2002

The price we pay

Approximately 26 years ago I damaged the tip of the ring finger of my left hand while using a radial arm saw. When the plastic surgeon came to the emergency room to salvage what he could of my fingertip, along with his surgical skills he provided a lecture about using power tools. I appreciated his medical skills but resented his comments. I wasn't a schoolboy and I had been working with and around dangerous equipment for much of my life. I know the dangers and don't take chances. I work as carefully as possible but accidents do happen.

I didn't think fast enough to ask him whether he had ever stuck himself with a needle or cut his fingers with a scalpel. Doctors have long faced the possibility of injury and even death from diseases contracted from their patients. Nevertheless, they have a desire to be doctors and enter the medical profession in spite of the dangers. Many have hobbies or jobs or participate in recreational activities that can lead to injury or even death. To desist from any of these activities because of fear would be avoiding the challenge of living. People who participate in very dangerous work or play often say that they have never felt so alive as when they were close to death.

Perhaps that is a little strong to make my point, especially when I am just trying to rationalize my latest injury. As Jon mentioned yesterday, I cut off the tip of a finger. It happened last Saturday afternoon. I was making a final pass with a board on my jointer. I was anxious to quit for the day and wasn't as careful as I should have been.

Well, we spent several hours of last Saturday in the emergency room. It was my third trip to the emergency room in 30 years, all for finger injuries. In spite of the accidents, I will continue to work with my power and hand tools. I enjoy working with wood and making repairs to our houses. Besides, Pat tells me I am a lot cheaper than a hired repairman.

I still have all of my fingers, albeit three of them are scarred.


If not for the last minute...

A minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him in front of the service station. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump.

"Reverend," said the young man, "sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip."

The minister chuckled, "I know what you mean. It's the same in my business."

Sent by Sallie Covolo

Outlook on life

Among all my patients in the second half of life (that is, over 35), there has not be one whose problem was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given to their followers, and none of them has been really healed who did not regain his religious outlook..

— Karl Jung

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