I haven’t had a long and prestigious career of celebrating 4/20, and this year was–well, I’m not sure how to finish that sentence. I guess it all depends on how you look at it.
I suppose I had more or less forgotten that the hallowed day was coming up, until I was texting with D about the wall-to-wall mindfuckery that is Tiptoes on one fine Tuesday evening. Somehow, this conversation led into running over the well-trod ground that is my having never seen Space Jam, and that in turn spun into a mutually reached decision that April 20th might be just the time for a double-header.
The complications? Such an endeavor clearly requires snacks, and D was ready, willing, and able. She purchased all of the necessary components or making guacamole and we were ready to have a nice, relaxing evening in, enjoying the spoils of our culinary prowess while we watched Michael Jordan dunk on cartoon aliens. And then, I had to go and ruin it all by slicing my hand open with a chef’s knife.
The sheer dumbassery of such a tale is compounded by the fact that I narrowly avoided slicing ANOTHER finger open moments before, when the blade glanced off the nail of my left index finger and took out a chunk, but did not break skin. “Whew, that was close!” I said, and switched from chopping an onion to pitting an avocado.
It only took two tries to extract that pit before the knife skittered right and sliced clean through my left pinkie. It’s a surreal moment when you examine the wound and see a huge gap where there shouldn’t be a gap, but no blood. Then: lots of blood.
I’m not a real queasy person, but I’ll admit that I was at something of a loss. Luckily D helped me wrap the wound up with a makeshift paper towel bandage and helped me get an Uber to the hospital. Once there she even stuck around the whole 4 hours I had to wait to get stitches, entertaining and assuring me that I didn’t need to apologize for ruining the evening. She was a real trooper, I must say.
I was prepared to feel like a huge jackass for walking into a Bushwick ER with a boo-boo on my pinkie, but it turned out to be a slow night. I got fast-tracked upstairs almost immediately, but from there it was a few hours of sitting in a chair, before being moved to another room where I sat in a more uncomfortable chair.
While waiting, I took stock of the other patients. One guy seemed to have a similar hand wound, but his may have been a crush injury from machinery (one nurse informed me that almost all the hand injuries they get at that location tend to be factory workers). At least one kid was very, very high on something, and some of their nurses kept getting him to stand up and walk around. It seemed like his grandmother had brought him. I wondered how she was going to talk to him about it the next day, if at all. Another kid was bleeding profusely from the nose, but seemed completely alert.
The doctor finally came in, asked what had happened, and barely reacted when I said I was cutting avocados. She cleaned the wound out, examined it, then told me the cut was too close to the nail-line and she was going to have to call a hand specialist. Another forty-five minutes later, the very annoyed hand specialist came in, looked at the cut, then left the room to go yell at the first doctor for not doing it herself. However, his tone changed somewhat when he prepped me for stitches and looked at how deep the cut was. “What kind of knife did this?” he asked. When I told him it was a very sharp, fresh-out-of-the-packaging chef’s knife he only nodded. “Why do you ask?” I wondered. “It’s a really deep cut,” he responded, sounding almost impressed. He then added, somewhat bewildered, that he sees at last 2-3 cases of avocado-related wounds per week. This was repeated by the doctor who examined my stitches nearly two weeks later. Anyway.
Watching the doc sew up my finger while pumped full of numbing novocaine was certainly an experience. By that point it was past midnight, and I couldn’t help but reflect on how this wasn’t exactly the night I had planned. By 1:30, we were out of there, and took a cab back to Ridgewood to finish the guacamole.