“I’m lookin’ for the man who shot my paw”

splinter vertical“You and your puncture wounds,” MJ said as she prepared to do a little surgery.

MJ is, as we’ve stated before, lovely and talented, but also eminently practical and resourceful, a kind of female McGyver. Or perhaps Norm Abram.

“The right tool for the job,” she said as she packed off for the pharmacy to get the right tools for the job at hand: remove the Lincoln log-sized splinter that had embedded in my foot two days before.

Yes, I do have a history of stabbing a thorn in my paw.

This splinter incident happened Thursday night when E (my good friend and college sweetheart, soon to be married to a college professor) visited Princeton. As I turned from the sink, in my stocking feet, a splinter from the hardwood floor jammed into the middle of my right foot, sliding horizontally into the flesh. I winced, sat down, tugged at the end of the splinter.

But a sizable chunk broke off inside my foot.

I took off my sock, and rubbed the spot with my thumb. It was tantalizingly close to the surface. I tried to pick it out with my fingers. “You need longer finger nails,” E said.

E was kind enough to have a look. She put on her reading glasses, and tried for several minutes to work it out with her thumbs, while I tried not to writhe too much in pain.

No success.

We decided it would probably work itself closer to the surface if we let it go over night. The next day, it was still where it was before, and had me hobbling and limping around campus.

Which reminds me of an old joke:

A three-legged dog limps into a bar and (in a western twang) says: “I’m lookin’ for the man who shot my paw!”

Did I mention the dog could talk?

Two days later, on Saturday morning, MJ was in town, and she came up with a two-fold plan: A) find the right tools, which would help her succeed with minimal pain and avoid being blamed for hacking open my foot and not getting the slab of lumber out, and B) avoid being kicked in the face if her patient involuntarily jerked his knee.

MJ clearly found the right tools. A magnifying glass would let her see better (and keep her face out of kicking range); the pointy tweezers would give her more precision.

We both took a deep breath. She found the end of the splinter with the tweezers. I clenched my fists. She gave it a tug.

And in an instant it was out. Painless.

But then I heard a gasp that was not my own. Then the four-letter equivalent of “wow.” MJ held up the splinter to get a better look. About 3/4″ long, blood-covered and menacingly pointy.

I’m grateful for such kind visitors who are willing to play Androcles to my raw-pawed lion. From what I remember, that story worked out well for both of them in the end.

Another upside: I got a magnifying glass out of the deal.


Splinter with magnifying glass

3 thoughts on ““I’m lookin’ for the man who shot my paw”

  1. MJ

    If I weren’t already in trouble for bullying the lion into buying the wrong phone, I would have just yanked it out with my teeth.

  2. Willard Duff

    So, MJ would get her nose that close to the wound site? NO! That’s a good enough reason to buy the tweezers and the glass to afford a safe distance for manipulation.
    Dad Duff

  3. Willard Duff

    Just thought of something else you got –these photos of your tomentor “through the looking glass” that will preserve the incident .

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