Fickle Finger of How ’bout That?

July 8th, 2007 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

Heart-shaped contusion on index finger

The mark of change is protean. The new red heart on my index finger is one, but not a middle-age-crisis symbol.

It did remind me of my early 20s, when I lived at on East Third Street in the East Village, directly across the street from the Hells Angels™. There and then, they’d happily tattoo anyone they liked who was close enough and drunk enough. Their technique was simplicity — wrap the pointy end if a sewing needle almost to the tip in white cotton thread. Dip in indelible ink and prick. Repeat.

My accidental tattoo is less remarkable, which never stops a blogger.

It comes from disassembling the residue of 18 years of three sons’ fun, friendship and fantasy in the form of a play structure. Number one son, just 28, outgrew climbing, reading in, sleeping on and playing with friends around the CedarWorks play structure a lot of years ago, but his 16 and 13-year-old brothers are not all that far out of it, in dad years.

To them, one or two years is a looooong time. Hah!

It time to discard the old playmate. Ironically, it stood the whole time in the shade of a gigantic American beech, whose limbs started over 20 feet above ground and is quite unsuitable for a tree house. Our 10-foot high CedarWorks buddy was the dingy beside the Queen Mary.

Cedar lasts but this was getting a bit unstable as the bottom support structure became one with the ground. The adult son no longer is here and the youngest is at camp, so #2 and I set to the task.

I had forgotten the maybe eight years ago, I had fortified the whole damned thing. The youngest is a rough one. He and his buddies threw themselves on the rope ladder and slide pole repeatedly. They leapt on the movable platform sections and hopped unmercifully on the rungs. By the bye, the structure took it all; it was only my paternal protectionism that inspired me to take nail and hammer to shore every damned rung, dozens of them.

So, Eli and I ended up with a claw hammer, straight-blade screwdriver and needle-nose pliers each to chip into the cedar and expose enough of a rusted nail head to extract it, dozens of them.

About half way through, I twisted and attacked one recalcitrant sliver of steel viciously enough that I snapped the wire-cutter part of the pliers shut on my fingertip. Ah, it was the classic cartoon moment of nonsense symbols and flashing lights. Suddenly I had an instatnt heart tattoo; who knows how long it will remain?

So there we have it. The cedar members will transform into two tree zones in front of the house, which are in need of replacement. The dogs that urinate on them won’t care and I’m sure my sons won’t either. Yet, my wife and I know that the afternoon-into-night of pirate ship and spy perch and fort live on in their pedestrian way.

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