Whoever the twit was who suggested, “You’ll get hurt more often by a dull knife than by a sharp one,” was an idiot. Packing lunch today required slicing two prime-o tomatoes.
I sharpened all the kitchen knives three days ago. It’s a tongue-in-cheek habit to tape an 8×11 warning on the cabinet door over the twin knife blocks to remind the head chef (not me) and the sous chef (me) the pointy little boogers are fresh from a session with the stones. It hangs there for two or three days.
This morning put us past the required warning period. The public admonition is now taped to the inside of the cabinet door. I pulled my favorite tomato-slicer this morning – a thin, razor-sharp instrument designed to allow one to adroitly move the most delicate veggies from fresh from the rinse-and-drain sideboard to artistically carved salad, sauté, or sandwich slices, slivers, and segments. One down and in the lunchbox capsule. On the last slice of the second tomato – they get slippery and difficult to hold in a way not squeezing pulp and juice from the last two slices – yes, you know it. I discovered how good I am at putting edges on those knives.
It takes less time than one believes possible. Less contact than one suspects. Absolutely no pressure at all. There is no pain. Not until you realize you have “nicked” yourself. Or suspect you did. Finding you did (there is no blood, not at first) your imagination takes over. From the size of the yet-unleaking slice through skin, you come to a determination of how much pain to imagine. And you are good at imagining. Toss in a little ‘acid’ from the tomato (though it’s actually unlikely) you imagine a burning sensation.
In your mind, the trip from the kitchen, through the living room and the master bedroom, to the bandage box in the master bath is about three miles. You call the Red Cross. Someone should harvest all the blood you know you will leak covering that three miles. Clean knife slices don’t bleed until you remind yourself of that fact.
With a bandage applied, not to staunch the blood flow but for sanitary reasons because lunch is not yet ready for the trip to the office, there’s another handwash, a quick check to see the bandage is doing the job, and a one-handed completion of placing requested luncheon items into the box.
The knife was undamaged through this episode.
Holding back over the last three months – that is self-censoring my ramblings – the frustration that I was not true to my thoughts suggested an experiment. What say I just turn a-loose about twenty-five percent of the pent-up bile and expose more of the way I think and subsequently write when not restrained lest I hurt someone’s feelings? Open-up a little? See what happens.
WordPress has neat statistics that show what’s been read. Unless someone “likes” or comments on a post or page, I can’t tell who read what, but I can see what has been read. I strongly suspect much of the page traffic amounts to someone blinking at a billboard while travelling ninety miles an hour down the expressway. Few really “read” the stuff that gets in their way, preferring to run over it, around it, or if they can, through it without getting anything on themselves.
Low stats. Really low. Even for me, a newbie with an extremely small “following.” I’ve known all along few read more than blog posts. Too much work involved is my guess. That and the modern reader who wants “flash” fiction, pictures, links to audio and yewtoob, and generally pieces that allow them to clutch-in, shift their brains into neutral, and coast to the next clickable intersection.
The blog post, which contained a precautionary, got uncommonly low traffic, even for me. Free-standing pages, even announced within blogs, got zip. Been getting zip. Once again, too much trouble. This underlines (1) my evaluation of today’s audience1 and (2) the value of what I offer.2
Lately, given the social climate, there are so many taboos, too many ways to ruffle feathers, too much intolerant polarity. Choices:
Pick a side and be incorrectly labelled as a such-and-so because some dork hasn’t the mental capacity to understand satire, cynicism, or inquiry, assuming anything not agreeing with their views bigoted, unrighteous, ignorant extremism.
Turn it loose and let the chips fall where they may.
Avoiding the issues is the sissy way out. Even though folk who don’t agree with something I have to say rarely are willing to listen politely, just my getting it out there for them to stumble over may open their eyes. If, banging their heads on the ground when they trip over the lunacy of what I say, they find a few more brain cells receiving much-needed oxygen. Maybe enough oxygen to enlighten them as to how to show me their truth that I’ve been missing. Missing from what they have to say.
Picking a side is not so easy. Sides change. Do for me. Because I’m willing to listen. Hearing, to think. Problem is I will drive away people I value because they cannot understand that disagreeing on one issue does not mean I am totally corrupt, unredeemable. Folks, I accept your warts and pimples. Allow me a blemish or two.
Turning it loose is a tough one. I’m a different generation. Seen some stuff3 not that it’s anything some of you ain’t seen or that you might not have seen worse. Me and mine, those who walked the same halls with me, think differently; our values are different; our priorities are different. Not better; different. You may not believe it, but we see someone suffering, we might be inclined to do something about it. Quietly. No posts on facepages to be humble before, during, or after.
I’ve put my last “creative” piece on here. What I write outside of blogs, which I consider at least in my case, throwaway, will be private. If I interest a publisher, fine. Otherwise, to those I know are interested, I’ll send a private copy. Everyone else doesn’t care, won’t care, and that’s their business and I respect that. Yup, saddens me a mite my efforts in any genre have so little appeal. That’s part of the experiment. I’m out-of-step, behind the times, been too long at the dance.
Here, Alice, take this pill. It’ll make you feel better. Alice doesn’t want the pill? She may have the right idea. Rabbit, might be me what’s wrong!
Watch out! The knives are sharp!4
1 Evaluation. Not judgement. Difference. What the audience wants is not something I, as a reader care for, therefore is not something I spend my time working on.
2 Clearly, I am not mainstream. Given. Accepted without prejudice.
3 Stuff. You know what the unshackled me would (think, say) write here. If you don’t, you ain’t been paying attention, and I don’t believe I’m ever gonna get through to you as to just who the hell I am.
4 I’m betting not a single (expletive) soul will see what I’m saying here.
Annuncio: la versione italiana di “Nicole e la capra che legge libri” è pubblicata in “Short stories” sotto “Writing.”
Announcement: the Italian version of “Nicole and the Goat Who Read Books” is posted in “Short Stories” under “Writing.”