Saturday, December 5, 2015

Val Ham-Handedly Questions The Pony's Effectiveness in Helping Donors During the Recent Blood Drive

We have established (or at least the ACT interest inventory established) that The Pony is really not all that interested in helping people. He is, however, required to help people as a member of the school's National Honor Society. They hosted a blood drive last week. Let the record show that The Pony did not sign up to donate blood. He signed up (or was signed up) to hand out beverages and snacks to donors after their donation.

When I stepped in to ask him about an application, and to tell him I was leaving, I found The Pony sitting at a table, partially obscured by a tower of plastic-enclosed water bottle cases. There were three other helpers at his table. One was explaining the snack menu to him. I was not there to observe his two hours of service, but something tells me he did not leave that seat the whole time.

Flash forward to this morning, when I cleaned out the Thanksgiving leftovers to wash up the dishes BY HAND. The Pony DOES care about helping Val. She's his personal chauffeur, you know. And Chief Ball Holder. So he trotted up the basement stairs and took my containers to the back deck for scraping. The shades were open, thanks to Hick, who for some reason does not enjoy living like a mole. As I ran the dishwater, I saw The Pony battling with Simba, our not-very-likable tawny striped male cat that we rescued from mailbox row as a kitten. Simba strode along the rail like he owned the place, while The Pony dodged right, left, right, left trying to flick the remaining peas from one small serving of seven-layer-salad left over from the Sunday after Thanksgiving. So nice I made it twice!

Simba exhibited no fear of the sixteen-foot drop. He butted his head in every time The Pony had readied the spoon to flick peas. Despite The Pony's admonitions, feinting, and efforts to outsmart, that cat thrust his head into my brand-new Pyrex bowl (with a red rubber lid that burps!) without a flinch. You'd think he still had balls.

The Pony brought back my bowl. "Simba must really like mayonnaise!"

"Yeah. Don't think I didn't see him licking my bowl."

"I tried to stop him, but he kept putting his head in."

"This bowl smells like...a cat? Like fish? It doesn't smell like leftover salad."

"Maybe that's why he kept going after it. It smelled like fish!"

"Maybe. It's going right in the dishwater. Thanks for your help. I'll call you back up if I need anything. I'm going to get out the ham to put in those beans."

Off went The Pony to work on scholarship application essays. I finished that set of dishes, piled them like Jenga our overflowing wastebasket in the dish drainer, let the water out of the sink, and gave my soaked beans a final rinse. In went new water, some minced garlic, fresh ground black pepper, and my secret ingredient (shhh!) Mild Banana Pepper juice. I took the leftover slices of ham out of Frig II and commenced to dicing.

Did you know that a person's thumb has exactly the same texture as cold, left-over slices of smoked ham? It does. In fact, one might not even notice that the sharp knife blade is carving through a thumb instead of a ham slice unless the thumb that is being carved belongs to the carver. In which case there is a delayed sharp pain that must travel the nerve network up the thumb, past the wrist, along the radius, up the humerus, between the clavicle and scapula, dillydally past vertebrae C5 and C4, then reveal its message to the brain.

Did you know that people who are on aspirin therapy tend to bleed freely? Perhaps in the manner of a stuck pig, which is ironic, I think, having gotten a tentative grasp on this irony thing, since HAM is made from PIGS! And did you also know that tiny slivers of sliced leftover smoked ham are virtually indistinguishable from carved sections of human thumb tip? It's true. Let's just say that my pot of ham and beans might be every bit as delicious as that barbecue at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

I called The Pony. Because I needed assistance. Not with the thumb. I was in no danger of exsanguinating, unless, perhaps, you interview The Pony. I was in need of help to open a Ziploc bag of diced ham that I had frozen the day before Thanksgiving, when carving that ham, with the intention of using it to flavor some navy beans. Did you know that it is virtually impossible to open a Ziploc bag with only one functioning thumb? And furthermore, did you know that an open thumb wound does not favor the chopping of a white onion, nor Mild Banana Pepper Rings?

Anyhoo...I called The Pony, who charged up those stairs to see what help he could be. Then saw the Puffs With Lotion with Val blood, and balked. "I only need you to open this frozen bag of ham." The Pony rolled his eyes wildly, like perhaps should have put blinders on him. He tried to squeeze that hamcicle out of the zipped lock, but it wouldn't go. He picked up the sharp knife to cut it. Disaster flitted across my dimming field of vision. "NO! Be careful! You might cut yourself."

The Pony shied away from the bloody Puffs on the burgundy counter, and jabbed the bag and not the zipped lock. He twisted and wrestled and finally got the hamsicle loose. "Do I just drop it in the beans?"

"NO! It will splash boiling water on you! You have to ease it in. Not plop it!"

After several false starts, the hamsicle slid into the beans. The Pony turned tail and galloped away to the basement.

If he has that reaction to a tiny bit of blood on a Puffs, I can't imagine how he felt sitting in the midst of twenties of people hooked up to needles and bags, in various stages of bloodletting.


  1. Maybe you should get one of those chain mail gloves they wear at Chipolte.

    1. Hick has them at work, but none at home. He does, however, have those gloves you can reach into the oven with and not get burned. I'm not talkin' about an oven mitt, either. Just one of the perks of being married to the manager of facility maintenance at a factory that makes saw blades for butcher machinery.

  2. I once tried to chop some frozen food into smaller pieces & chopped my thumb, instead--I had no feeling in it for several years!!

    1. I once tried to get the roots of a molar chopped into smaller pieces and removed, and the root canals filled in by a dentist. Instead, he chopped through a nerve and I had no feeling in the right half of my bottom lip for six months. Note to self: if you think you're drooling, you probably are.

  3. I'm not fond of the sight of blood, although Mrs. Chatterbox watches many TV programs where people get operated on.

    1. I used to watch those shows. But after having a couple of surgeries, they lost their appeal.

  4. You are ASSuming he even glanced their way...

    1. Let the record show that when I stepped in to talk to him, he was looking down at his phone, which was laying on top of a folder containing a 20-page scholarship application.