Friday, January 21, 2011

Blogs, Hands, and the Everything Drawer

Every home has an "everything drawer," usually in the kitchen, where we toss...well...every small item we don't know what else to do with or where else to put. A key to who knows what? Three pencil stubs. A book of matches. A half-burned candle. A couple of business cards. An almost-empty roll of Scotch tape. A very pretty and perfectly good kid's marble. An odd-shaped piece of metal which obviously has some purpose and belongs to something, but God knows what. Things that we are afraid to throw away because we know the minute we do throw it away, we'll remember what it was for and that we really, really need it.

Today is Thursday. I need a blog for tomorrow. I do not have a blog for tomorrow, which is why I am sitting here now frantically searching through the "everything drawer" of my mind. What I'm looking for is something...anything...I can use as a piece of flint to spark a blog. And as my search becomes more frantic, I myself become more frantic, which of course is totally counterproductive.

I'd started out, quite confidently, to do a blog about writing blogs, and then it occurred to me that I seemed to recall having already done that not too long ago. Didn't I? A quick check of past blog titles doesn't show anything, but that doesn't mean much: often the title and contents of a blog have little or nothing to do with one another. Still, I do seem to remember doing one, so....

And I noted while looking to see if I'd already done a blog on blogs, that I've now done 436 blogs just on this site alone. Dear Lord, is it any wonder I sometimes have a problem trying to come up with a new topic?

As I pause, mind churning, I look down at my hands, just sort of lying there, the heels of my palms on the base of the keyboard, waiting for me to have my fingers do something constructive, and I remember how proud I used to be of my hands. (I know, "proud" is an odd word to apply to hands, but I sincerely used to take an odd comfort in looking at them, because they were the smooth-skinned hands of a young man.) Just now, palms still resting on the keyboard base, I raised the backs of my hands and my fingers up and toward my wrists, and as they rose, they became a mass of wrinkles and puckers and creases and crevices which I stare at in a mixture of utter disbelief and something very akin to horror. It's as though all the flesh that used to pad the space between the skin and the bones beneath had somehow disappeared, leaving only skin and bone. Whose hands are those? Not mine! They're not hands, they're tree bark.

Lifting them from the keyboard and forcing my hands forward and down, the skin tightens and smoothes, and if I squint a bit, I can almost ignore all those tiny splotches. Clenching my hands into fists, the fingers hidden from me, the knuckles where my fingers join the main part of the hand become oddly white, as if the skin were being drawn tightly directly across the bones of the knuckles...which in fact they were.

If you are young enough not to be able to understand what I'm describing/experiencing here, I do envy you, and I advise you to take the time, every now and again, to study the backs of your hands, and appreciate them. Be proud of them.

Now, just when I was about to give up on this little side trip to nowhere, figuring it wasn't accomplishing much in the line of writing a blog for tomorrow, and that I wasn't going to find anything in my mental "everything drawer," I suddenly realized that I had in fact found something...please don't ask me to describe it, or to tell you exactly what it's for or how it works, because I couldn't tell you...that's why it's called an "everything drawer," after all.

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