digitus impudicus

O the plight of the middle finger. Considered the indecent finger in the western world for thousands of years, and by habit of being the longest digit, is more prone to injury then the others.

By chance last night at Karl's electrician school graduation dinner I sat next to a carpenter named Jim who specializes in dome construction. He was bit by a dog on November 27 and has a nice suture scar on the same middle knuckle of his right hand as me. He's also right handed and having trouble getting it working again. But we were two peas in a pod commiserating on our oddly common misfortunes. Though I'm still shy of socializing, I can't get enough of the community of the maimed, especially fellow hand injury sufferers.

I found reference to an organization called the IFPWMF, the International Foundation for People Without Middle Fingers on ooze.com that I thought to apply for temporary membership in... but too bad, I think it may be a hoax.

Liz Dubois
sent this autobiographical account of the famous illustrator Holly Hobbie:

The year I had Jocelyn we were living in a rented farmhouse. Behind the house a meandering stream flowed through picture-perfect pastures.... One February at noontime I noticed a small animal making slow progress through the snow toward the house. It was a gorgeous little muskrat. The poor thing is starving, I thought. I believed it was desperately venturing toward the house for food. I grabbed a package of crackers and a jar of peanut butter and went to the rescue. We seemed to look each other in the eyes. "You poor beautiful little thing." I held out the peanut butter on a cracker. The muskrat leapt three feet straight out of the snow and struck before I knew it. Puzzling red spots appeared in the snow at my feet. Then I looked at my left hand. I was still holding the cracker between thumb and index finger, but my middle finger was hanging from a thread, severed at the first joint. I am left-handed. They managed to save the finger, but the joint no longer worked, and my finger was permanently bent out of shape. So much for feeding poor helpless creatures in the snow.

Anyway from time to time, I considered the miserable fate of the kolinsky (an asian mink) who has supplied me with a lifetime of wonderful paintbrushes. From a fanciful angle, it seems to me, the muskrat that day struck back at one artist on behalf of his fellow beast.