Posted by: silverback | 2010/05/31

control freak

God knocked my dick in the dirt a few weeks ago. i think it’s His way of letting me know He loves me, but i need to take care not to get too big for my britches. i occasionally need to be humbled. since i base a large part of my sense of self, hence my ego, on being physically fit and capable of amazing feats of derring-do, God knows the easiest way to take me down a notch or two is to stage a series of events wherein fred gets jacked up.

i think there’s some more to it, but basically i tend to be a control freak, manipulating people and events so that i can get what i want most of the time. God (and my wife) (and a few other people who love me) (and a few who don’t) knows this. removing me from the drivers’ seat from time to time is important, and not insignificantly beneficial to those around me who are affected by my actions.

i was unloading the second of two huge loads of firewood my wife had scavenged from a client of hers. we had twice filled both our trucks with very large, oak “rounds,” which is woodburner-speak for unsplit sawn logs. these logs weighed, on average, 80 pounds apiece. we had hand-loaded them into our respective trucks on subsequent weekends, and i was unloading them on a bright Sunday morning before heading out on a mountain-bike ride with friends – my bike and gear were already loaded. i was, in fact, unloading the very last of these logs from the very last truckload when i got smote.

i had been stacking them as i rolled them out of the truck. not satisfied to simply roll them into a big pile, i was placing them one atop the other in a completely anal-retentive manner. i had the bright idea to roll the last one out right on top of this other, using physics and geometrical vectors to precisely land an 80-lb wooden boulder. it bounced.

when it bounced, i instinctively stepped back and put my hand on the log to give it a push towards my second choice of landing spots, again attempting to force the laws of physics to conform to my will. somehow the laws of time and space bent in that moment, and my hand ended up between the log and the protruding trailer hitch of my wife’s truck. in the tiniest fraction of a second, the impossible became reality with a solid CLUNK – the sound of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object despite my flesh and gristle between them. i cursed very loudly – loud enough that my neighbors thought they heard me yelling for my wife.

i took a look at the damage and it appeared to simply be a horribly deep cut – one that would doubtless require stitches, but it didn’t feel as if i had broken anything. i ran inside, peeling my broken and twisted wedding band off as i went, and quickly ran it under some cold water. i then wrapped it with a clean dish towel that Laura had the presence of mind to throw at me, and slammed an ice pack on top of it, again courtesy of my fast-thinking wife. further cursing my shit luck, i asked my lovely wife to drive me to the Emergency Room while i texted my riding companions & told them not to expect me.

hope nobody's squeamish

my left ring-finger was indeed broken. “shattered,” and “crushed” were the exact technical terms bandied about by the ER doctor upon checking my films. my wife was a trooper, hanging right in there examining the wound & snapping photos, until the moment she saw the x-ray. at which point she turned an interesting shade of green and broke into the type of sweat that you see and say to yourself, “that girl is going to puke.” admirably, she pulled it together.

two days later, i went in for a five-hour surgery & came out with a screw, five pins, and what appears to be a single twist of hypoallergenic baling wire bundling all the shards together. my summer itinerary of riding mountain bikes, dirt bikes, and race bikes is down the tubes. i’ll probably have the external fixation in place until sometime in August, and even then there’s a good chance more surgery will be necessary to “unstick” the tendons from the healing bone. and then there will be months of physical therapy.

on the bright side, i am fortunate to be among the class of Americans with adequate health insurance. it will probably heal back to more than 90%, which is fine for the least-useful finger. i have a good doctor, who had already installed a screw in my left scaphoid on the last occasion God saw fit to smite me. my longsuffering wife is more than willing to provide me with the help i need to get my pants buttoned or wash my left armpit for me, should i ask.

through it all, i feel my biggest task is to divine the lesson, and learn it. i have been through enough good and bad times to believe that everything in my life happens for a reason.

it probably has something to do with my control issues. it could also involve needing to learn how to sit still and enjoy a lazy day with my family, or some quiet time of gratitude with my Higher Power, or giving “my time” to those who need it more.

it also likely involves a shift i had been manipulating, a pattern of ditching my wife and 5-year-old son at a time they need me the most, to go do the things i like to do. i had figured out that if i made plans before Laura did, i could essentially claim dibs on the free time and make my exit.

i suppose it could also simply be shit luck. there’s a reason i don’t gamble.



  1. I’m sorry about your hand. GROSSSSS!!! Probably more expensive than a few month’s heat without the woodstove. Argh. You and Caroline can hang out with the kids this summer while I take your wife riding. xo

  2. Be really careful about that ‘tendon sticking’ thing. Mine never freed and I have a normal-looking, but 50% functional digit. Get a 2nd opinion before they cut you open again.

  3. Sad to hear about this Fred, but maybe I can catch you in the twisties now 🙂
    Get well soon!

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