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The importance of thumbs

January 18, 2010

Yesterday I managed to cut my thumb.  Quite badly but also quite stupidly.  I did it trying to squeeze the lid of a tin can into another can, so I could put them both out to recycle.  Somewhat inevitably I slipped and sliced my thumb open.  Ouch.

All very annoying (it bled for ages) but like a brave soldier I plodded along – with my arm in the air above my head to slow the bleeding, all of which ‘B’ found very confusing.

Of course, yesterday was Sunday and today is Monday.  If you’re a regular reader (bless you!) you’ll know that Monday is ‘Daddy Day-Care Day’.  My wife’s at work and I’m in sole charge of our little rugrat, known here as ‘B’.

The progression of man - from

The progression of man - but evolution can't stop stupid or clumsy

Science has never been my strongest suit but it is only now I realise that Darwin was right.  Opposable thumbs are an amazing piece of evolutionary development.  We’re scuppered without them.
With a rather sore and heavily plastered right thumb (I’m right handed, of course) I’m almost disabled.  There are so many things we rely on our thumbs for!  Just today I have found it extremely difficult and therefore takes ten times as long to do:

  • Any form of button, popper, zip or the like (getting ‘B’ dressed and in his coat this morning took eons – when it normally takes merely an age)
  • Enough to make a man almost entirely useless (or at least more useless, eh ladies?)

    Enough to make a man almost entirely useless (or at least more useless, eh ladies?)

    Changing gear on my bike (stick shift mounted on the handlebars – change gear with a mere flick of the thu… ouch!)

  • Any sort of eating or cooking – here’s an experiment for you: try buttering a slice of toastwithout using your thumbs.  Even opening the margarine tub is a challenge!  Throw in a baying two-year-old, demanding “Toast an’ Marmite!” only cranks up the difficulty

That’s just in the first few hours of today.  I’m sure there are more challenges to come.

Practically the trickiest thing though was last night.  I’d bravely battled on throughout the day (I know, I’m a trooper) and heading for bed, I had to take my contact lenses out.  For those that don’t wear them one normally takes them out pinching the lens between thumb and forefinger.  Between thumb and forefinger.

I ended up doing it left-handed.  My thumb had better heal soon, before I gouge my own eyes out in my left-handed incompetence!

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