Friday, February 17, 2006

Way to Go, Grace

There are few nudities so objectionable as the naked truth. ~ Agnes Repplie

My wife has less-than-subtle ways of reminding me that I am a klutz. Tonight it involved opening a new box of plastic wrap.
Plastic wrap is the ninth wonder of the modern world, right after duck tape (and it is DUCK, not DUCT; “DUCK” is a military acronym for the product that was originally developed to keep LST’s and tanks stuck together). My wife is a firm believer in its use. In fact, she wraps a sandwich more thoroughly than the priests of ancient Egypt wrapped mummies. She also uses more square feet of plastic wrap than they used square feet of cloth, which means we use a lot of plastic wrap. So it was with some joy that we found that a store brand wrap worked as well or better than the brand names. Unfortunately, the box was designed by either a madman or a really shrewd marketing man, more likely some combination of the two.
See, on most wrap boxes, you open the flap and stick in the box, pulling the wrap between that flap and the outside of the box, cutting it on the exposed teeth. The problem with plastic wrap, of course, it that it tends to slide down into the box, forcing you to pull the box open, scraping your knuckles on the cutter in the process, to fetch forth the wrap. The store brand, though, had a clever difference. After opening the flap, you remove a section from the top of the box, creating a slot to pull the wrap through. Then, when you cut it off, there is still wrap protruding from the slot. Very clever.
Except that in removing the slot material, you can easily rip off the whole front end of the box top, meaning that, after being cut, the wrap falls back onto the roll, which is a real pain. So removing the slot material has to be done carefully. This is what my wife was attempting to do this evening, when I volunteered to help.
“Gimme that,” I said sweetly.
“No,” said my dearest, “You know how you are with sharp edges.”
Oh, how sharper than a serpent’s tooth is a wife’s rebuke.
I can’t help that I was born a klutz. Not only do I manage to cut myself in clever and imaginative ways (fortunately, I clot well), I have no athletic ability. In fact, attempting athletic endeavors tends to lead to injuries.
In my mind, of course, I can readily visualize making smooth moves in any athletic arena. It seems so effortless. For example, when I played golf, I could imagine my swing being as smooth as that of Jack Nicklaus. My practice swings bespoke imminent birdies and pars. Unfortunately, my real swing looked as though I was stricken by St. Vitus’ Dance on the down stroke, followed by an epileptic attack on the follow-through.
At least I never suffered an injury playing golf. Basketball, on the other hand, has been a virtual house of horrors. My ankles got to where they would start to hurt when I walked into a gym. I played on a team in an industrial league once. The entire team was lousy, but we had the best looking uniforms in the league, so it wasn’t a total loss. As bad as the team was, I still was the guy on the end of the bench, getting in for a couple of minutes a game. Finally, as we were completing a 1-12 season, the team captain said all the bench warmers (which was mostly me) would start the last game.
You know, when you’re 1-12, it would seem we couldn’t have done much worse than the regulars.
Anyway, I was excited, so I began the warm-up drills with a vengeance -- and managed to seriously sprain my ankle during the layups. I mean seriously. Ankles are not meant to make crunching noises when you land. I still got to start, but after limping up and down the court a couple of times, I came out. To add insult to injury, I had to miss a day from work and was told that if I was going to hurt myself playing basketball, I should take up another, safer hobby.
My dear wife waited until I healed to rub it in. But she only did so for a short time – like about 20 years.
Oh, about the plastic wrap box. I’ll have you know I successfully removed the slot material without damaging the box top. It was a job beautifully done, and I even managed to get out of the kitchen before my wife saw the scrapes on my knuckles.

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