February 29 2012

1. Yesterday the last of my recent order of edged weapons arrived. It’s an ax, or a hatchet. While taking the sheath off to look at it, I promptly cut my finger open. As I was cleaning and bandaging it, I could not stop laughing. Something along the lines of, “This totally figures, you ridiculous idiot!”

2. This brought to my attention some basic principles that I clearly internalized at a very young age. When we lived in rural Upper Michigan, my father volunteered as an EMT, a volunteer sort of paramedic. (I read all his training manuals with rapt fascination.) But, to the point, we were in a small town hours away from hospitals. This was farming, logging, and mining country, where the most common cause of accidental injury was drunk driving. An injury had to cross some sort of threshold before it “counted” as a wound worthy of medical attention.

Can you walk on it? Ice, elevation, rest, you’ll be fine.
Does it stop bleeding when you apply pressure, in about five-to-ten minutes? You’re fine, keep it clean.
Can you move the joint without screaming? Ice it, wrap it, try to rest it.
Are your pupils the same size and reactive? Put a package of frozen peas on your head and sit here for fifteen minutes.
Sure, that burn will blister, but let’s keep it clean and dry and protected, skin grows back.

So, having cut my finger open to an unknown depth on a brand new ax, giggling like a lunatic, I washed it and applied constant pressure and after five minutes, it stopped bleeding. There ya go. Doesn’t even count as an injury.

3. I thought I was sick on Monday. This was a reasonable assumption, since N and M were both clearly ill. I left work early, came home, slept for three hours, and was almost perfectly fine. Some days, I do wish that my work schedule did not make for going-on-fifteen years of disrupted sleep patterns.

4. Today is Leap Day! Happy calendar re-adjustment day, everyone!

5. Yesterday I was a bit of a badass. I worked out, making four new personal records including a ninety-second plank. I taught school to the kids. I edited everything in my in-box. I cooked for three hours, ridding the house of a significant number of dodgy vegetables, and making tasty food for the next week.

Here’s the thing. Of course there are scads of chores undone, goals unmet. That’s what today is for. That’s life. The universe, and our lives, trend towards entropy. Every day is a rear-guard action in an ultimately unwinnable contest against both physics and human nature.

But that is no damn kind of reason to give up.

I don’t cook the food so that I never have to cook again. I cook so that the quality of my life is improved. I don’t work out so that I never have to work out again. I work so that the quality of my life is improved. The same holds true for cleaning, and doing the dishes. I teach my kids because I want the quality of their lives to be improved, not to avoid doing it tomorrow.

I create order in the world not because I am trying to defeat the universe, but because I am a happier person when there is order.


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