I discovered two things; our little digital 'snapper' camera is not at all easy to use with just one hand, and secondly and a little more alarmingly, my hand looks rather weird!
I merely intended the picture to be an illustration while I talked about my painful hands, so I'll get that part out of the way before I deal with being bemused by the hideous appearance of the things at the end of my arms.
Over the years of playing rugby, I have sustained a few minor hand injuries; fingers deliberately pulled back, hands stamped on accidentally or otherwise, the occasional crushed knuckle - that sort of thing. Sometimes dashed painful old boy, but nothing really traumatizing.
Unfortunately, over the last few years I think that my hand injuries have started to catch up with me. In the cold weather they begin to ache when I use them - I sort of expected that as I got older, but the most debilitating thing I experience is real pain whenever I put them under strain - such as when lifting heavy objects. They're getting old and tired...
I'm self aware enough to understand that a significant part of my psyche is attached to the idea of being a physically strong person, and even to being a fairly big man (even though I never perceive myself as such until I see a photo). This loss of some faculty is a nuisance, uncomfortable physically and to be honest, downright embarrassing. As a result I over-compensate by doing things I shouldn't really try to. Last year, for example, I was chopping wood (as in chopping up some two foot diameter sections of tree trunk). I was doing this using an awl (a big, blunt-ish axe with a flat part on the back) and a ten pound sledge hammer. I was stubbornly doing it on my own, holding the axe steady while I hit the back of it with the sledge. Being a big macho man. Mistake: I have a forearm injury from that very day which still lives with me. Just stupid, I guess.
*Note to spell check: 'Axe' is spelled this way, with an 'e' on the end. I mean; 'Ax'? Really?
The pains seem to be here for good (or evil), and so I am now (shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, been recaptured, bought for a child's plaything, sold three more times and finally sent to the glue factory) going to have to look after the old digits. Gloves in winter, then. Gloves for gardening...gloves for...well most things I suppose. With one exception: I refuse - categorically refuse to use to wear rubber gloves for dish-washing (or any other purpose really). I am from the old school (and just for the record I dislike the phrase 'old school' being used to describe anything older than five years) of washing dishes - I believe that plates, bowls, pans etc. are all more effectively cleaned by hand rather than machine. I see the proof almost every day. But I digress.
...But you know what? I'm going to have to mention this appearance thing because it's bugging me much more than the achy/injury thing.
I mean look at it...I knew that my fingers were all bent (part hereditary, part injury), but I never thought my hands looked ...well...creepy...that is, until now. Bloody hell. There's clearly not much I can do about this, is there? I mean, implants wouldn't look good (what would I do with boobs on the back of my hands anyway?) and nail polish is out of the question. So now I'm reflecting on all these years of having creepy hands! Missed opportunities to be a hand model, methinks - maybe I should make casts of my hands and sell them for Halloween? How many people have I quielty freaked out
I'm rather stunned that I've got to this age, and I think that this is the first time I've seen my hand objectively, and it's horrible. To all the people who have had to put up with my unsightly hands, I apologize unreservedly!