Ginger fingers

It is my wife’s birthday. She gets a kick out of the fact I call her MILFy. She says it makes her feel sexy, like one of the MILF’s on It turns her on, which turns me on. Everyone’s a winner.

Anyway, I was making dinner. The menu was a last-minute decision based on a foundation of fatigue from four days of making my garage look like something out of Man’s Big Package Magazine. I went with a miso-soy halibut, lemon-ginger linguine, and sake-brown sugar apricots. I called it Hyphenated Meal.

The halibut was marinating–sake, mirin, miso, brown sugar, and soy–and some white wine was simmering with some lemon zest on the stove. I’d just spent several minutes zesting a couple of lemons with a bird’s beak paring knife. I don’t have much experience with that blade and I’d been so careful I actually exhaled hard when I finished. Now it was onto the easy stuff.

I peeled the ginger quickly and sang along with Scott Miller’s “Bastard’s Only Child.” I was dicing the first piece of ginger with a giant German steel chef’s knife when I came to the part where Miller sings “Mama must be hurtin’! She’s bouncing on her springs and callin’ out God’s name!” The next thing I know, I was taking the name of sexual intercourse in vain and wondering, “Did I just cut off my finger?”

By the time looked at my left index finger, the blood had obscured the actual injury. My wife sprang to action and then said, “I think I’m going to puke.” She isn’t a nurse.

I grabbed a paper towel and sopped up the first blood. And there it was, a crescent moon gone from my fingernail and a pea-sized slice off the finger tip. And, well, there was a lot of blood.

“Do we need to go to the hospital?” my wife asked.

I immediately thought of my brother, an ER doc, who would say, “There is nothing they can do with that.”

A year or so back, my dad clipped off the pad of his index finger. Over the phone, my brother advised him to grow a sack and rub some dirt on it. Actually, I think he probably used some medicine-guy terms, but the implication was the same. I looked at my injury. It wasn’t as bad.

“No,” I said. “We have any gauze?”

My wife stopped gagging long enough to find a first aid kit and bandage me up. I looked like ET with an albino finger.

Dinner was still in process.

“Let’s go to the Japanese Steakhouse,” my wife said.

I barely heard her. I was bent over looking for the rest of me on the cutting board. I ask you: do you think you could spot your finger tip in a pile full of diced ginger?

I couldn’t either.

And so, a dinner, three hours more garage work, and a clean dressing later and my left pointer is still throbbing and bleeding. As I type this, I realize how many things I do with this finger. It’s not going to fall off or anything, but the little boxing glove I have on the end of the finger is going to preclude certain activities for several days. Like…well, playing guitar for one. No reason to elaborate any more. Last thing you wanna think about is…well, like I said.

And yeah, I left the ginger out of the pasta. I’m not sick or anything.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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7 Responses

  1. Pauly says:

    Post useless without pics.

  2. BJ Nemeth says:

    Bleeding for several hours is not good. Very few people regret going to a hospital to hear “Everything’s fine.” But if you wait and later hear, “If only you had come in to see us sooner …”

    If I were in your shoes, I’d bite the bullet and visit the emergency room. And this is coming from somebody without health insurance who dislikes doctors and hospitals.

  3. Da Goddess says:

    Urgent care, not the ER — during normal business hours, usually and sometimes into the evening.

    Be glad it was just the tip of a finger and not a tip of something else. I’m pretty sure Mrs. Otis would prefer not to have to deal with circumcisional inconveniences.

    And Happy Birthday to the Mrs.

  4. Astin says:

    I did something similar with a mandolin while slicing potatoes for a gratin. It’s amazing how much blood flows out of a fingertip.

    Gauze, tape, ice, and elevation for a looong time and it finally stopped, but throbbed and stung for days.

    Can’t tell it happened now though.

    Hell, I sliced my finger peeling potatoes just as people were showing up for Eh-Vegas this year.

  5. MGM says:

    *snort* I laughed out loud. At least twice. And there’s this line you wrote (quoted?) that I think is gonna stick with me: “There is nothing they can do with that.”

    I’ve a feeling I’ll be using that one from time to time.

  6. Al says:


    I sliced off the exact same part of my fine about a year ago. Good news is, the missing chunk of flesh will grow back. The bad news is, your fingernail is will never really be the same again (it kind of doesn’t reattach to the part of your finger under the nail).

    Also, while it healing you periodically forget about it and jam your hand into your pocket to get something out. Hurts like hell.

    All the best.


  1. August 5, 2008

    […] a little less than 24 hours. I consider that a win. As I mentioned last night, my left index finger lost a battle with some German steel. I thought the story was enough to sate the bloodlust of my sick audience. Obviously […]

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