Here's a challenge: open a childproof aspirin bottle with one hand tied behind your back--or if you lack rope or you don't want to put your loved ones to the trouble of tying you up because it's 2 a.m. and they're all sound asleep, just imagine that your left hand hurts so badly that the mere thought of grasping an aspirin bottle makes you feel faint and you need a little something to take the edge off the pain so you can get back to sleep and you know aspirin won't help much because last night you took a Percoset and all it did was make you dopey without putting a dent in the pain, so you stumble to the kitchen gently cradling your tender throbbing left hand to your chest and grab the aspirin bottle (with its childproof cap that's hard enough to open when you're not in pain) and open it up.
With one hand.
Because the other hand HURTS.
What have I done to my hand?
How could I have injured any body part this badly without being aware of it?
That's one of life's little mysteries. There's just a faint bruise and a tiny bit of puffiness--and the pain. Let us not overlook the pain.
Do you want to know what this pain reminds me of? Well I'm going to tell you anyway: it reminds me of the time I dropped a book on my foot. It was a big book, a bound volume containing a year's run of a weekly community newspaper, which slid out of my hand and landed with the narrow edge right on top of my left foot, which immediately started to turn colors and swell up like a Macy's parade balloon. Fortunately, there was an Emergency Medical Technician present to provide prompt medical care. He took one look at my ballooning foot and said, "You ought to get someone to look at that."
But I did get someone to look at it and the verdict was nothing broken but lots of what they called "soft tissue damage." Do you want to know how long it took my foot to get back to normal size and usefulness?
Well I'm going to tell you anyway: a full year. Twelve months. In the meantime, my injury led directly to my being cussed out by the mother of an Eagle Scout--and trust me, you haven't been cussed out until you've been cussed out by the mother of an Eagle Scout. She was upset because I didn't show up to take photos at her son's Eagle Scout ceremony. I apologized for inconsiderately spending the afternoon at the emergency room getting x-rays, but what could I tell her? "I dropped a book on my foot"?
Frankly, the cussing out felt appropriate. My foot was already screaming at me, so why shouldn't everyone else?
Now my hand is screaming at me in the same annoying way, except without the swelling and the vivid colors. What did I do to my hand? I don't know, but I'll tell you what I can't do with it: open an aspirin bottle.