Page 3 - TBT_OTNmag_Vol10_October2017
P. 3

and his negotiations with the negative narrative
by Heinrich Pelser
Injuries, those momentarily agonising blows to the ego; or those ones where you look up with a cranky sigh and roll your squinted eyes at your dumb self and then those brutal events where some stunted human or braindead-manmade invention decides to intervene and crush your damn toe or some other oblivious body part. I guess these abrasions of traumatic proportions as well as public service entities and sports are the only reasons humans happened upon cursing.
My brother and I undertook the slightly arduous task of assembling a spaceship of a gas braai for my Dad on the weekend. We skipped the part where we feel like typical men from SA and actually turned every page of the instruction booklet to avoid any embarrassment. We also made the clever decision to start before breakfast to dodge the possibility of being a few beers down before utilizing tools of any sharpness or dubious weight...such as the hammer we all turn to when parts seize to fit into their allocated places.
Between the oohs and aahs of admiring American engineering and too many shiny bits we carefully negotiated every bolt and clicky plasticky thing down to our German precision roots. Suffice to say we were grooving a pork belly on a LP gas furnace in no time at all while enjoying a home brew my father crafted two weekends prior. As we sat down to enjoy our Wee-ber bit of porky goodness my brother and I noticed minute lacerations on our hands, gently seeping blood.
This lead to the realization that we cannot even change a sparkplug without getting a pinkie chomped by an engine part in close proximity or fix a light fitting without getting bruised. Not even mentioning the assembly of Elon Musk’s braai.
My dumbest injury resulted from restoring a M.G. from the 60s. Throwing rusted parts from the dash out the window so I can pick it up and fix later, only to step out of the car putting my full weight on a sharp metal handle with only my bare foot as a snug old ham cushion to take the blow. An hour later I had a GP scraping my foot canyon with a blade to remove shards of colonial tetanus. Sies!
It is like you only realise a piece of humanoid real estate exists once you scrape/stab/mutilate it. Take the trusty old thumb as an example. It is there to secure your coffee mug or thump at a Playstation remote...but grate it with a bread knife or get it sadistically twisted by a can opener and...“oh there you are”. Weeks later the cut will remind you that you have a thumb even after taking a crap, feeling like a quantity surveying Navy Seal trying to figure out how to manage wiping your bum without suffering pain. To return to our recent space braai Dad managed to stall his mountain bike on a steep incline just off the beaten path after crossing a tiny bridge way too fast and having to negotiate a fall into a muddy ravine-like trench of world war proportions. The end result is a muscle that tore from the bone completely, six months of no right arm after an operation and physio for the foreseeable future. I hope the physio is administered by someone fairer than a bear guy with a University loan beard. Fingers crossed.
All in the blink of an eye we can experience life changing wounds. “Hold my beer” type exchanges of faith with mortality where we get to star in our own horror movie for a few seconds only to realize that we are mere flesh and bone structures with so much responsibility to those around us and ourselves. Take care of your proverbial thumb and don’t let your bravado be snooty.

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