The Hand

by cheri block

My father Hugh’s right arm  could rotate like a Ferris wheel and elongate all the way to the back seat of our Buick Vista Dome station wagon.

This superhuman feat Hugh could accomplish while also driving at a high rate of speed, which in the 50’s, was about 65 mph.

His arm took on Superhero attributes whenever one of his four children riding in the back seat got out of hand. But he was never out of hand because that paddle of his,  flat and worn from repetitive use, like an oar in a Greek trireme, would wheel around and whack whichever child deserved it.

Often, the child who had instigated the ruckus by insulting the dignity of one her her younger siblings–Stevie, Cindy, or Jimmie–could predict not only the angle and velocity of the strike but also its crucial timing device, that neurotransmittal moment when A-P=S, an equation which triggered its involuntary motion. This gift of locational prophecy yielded  satisfying results when the hand missed its mark and landed insultingly on one of the other passengers, who would scream out–not in pain but in injustice–and thus trigger the giant paddlewheel to speed up, wildly and furtively.

Thank God we were not on the Mississippi River.

My mother Joan seemed oblivious to this commotion as she read her Readers Digest condensed version of Michener’s Return to Paradise.

How could that same flat wedge of pain and insult become dexterious enough to practice dentistry on Monday morning?

I always wondered.

Advertisements

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, My childhood and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Hand

  1. Richard says:

    Very funny.
    Both this and the previous post have the makings of a full-length novel.

  2. Cheri says:

    Thank you, Richard. I’ll think about how such topics might inform a novel.
    Holiday greetings to you and your family!

  3. shoreacres says:

    Ah, for the delight of sibling squabbles. Traveling alone in my back seat, I rarely required even a backward glance. I think I might have found life easier down the road if I’d had to either deal with sibs or dodge a hand. I guess we all get different lessons to learn!

  4. Brighid says:

    I’m in agreement with Richard, these posts are wonderful.

  5. wkkortas says:

    This is like Jean Shepherd, but with subtlety.

  6. Christopher says:

    “……How could that same flat wedge of pain and insult become dexterious enough to practice dentistry on Monday morning……….?”

    Assuming “dexterious” to be “dexterous” to the nth degree, you were indeed right to wonder whether your father’s hand was sufficiently pliable for him to practice dentistry, whether on Monday mornings or any other.

  7. Cheri says:

    Oh wow. I misused the word! Thanks for the correction.

    • Christopher says:

      “Dexterous” can be spelled (spelt) also as “dextrous”.

      • Richard says:

        So they are alternative (alternate) renderings, the result of history, geography and convention.

        Perhaps we should not inquire (enquire) too deeply. After all, both i and e are also numbers, mere figments of our untamable (untameable) imagination.

  8. Richard says:

    In order to italicise your first paragraph, Christopher, you must have used many extra is.

    No degrees were needed. Cheri mischeviously employed the square root of minus one for effects its on our physical world, including the extension of Hugh’s arm in one dimension and its conversion into a fairground ride. This was also why she could move so advantageiously from one place to another without being anywhere in between. Likewise, we all moved mysteriiously and desteriously into a New Year and I wish you, Cheri and evryone else a very Happy One, as i do everyone else.

    • Christopher says:

      And a Happy New Year to you too, Richard, and of course to Cheri.

      However, you should know that, as an indefatigable internet searcher, I’ve learned, on reasonably good authority, that very soon, possibly by this April, the stock market will crash to a level not seen since time unrecorded, which will usher in a 25-year worldwide Great Depression.

      I’ve also learned, again on reasonably good authority, that an all-out, no-holds-barred war with a certain rather large country on the northern European-Asian land mass, is around the corner, and could happen sometime in 2015 – an event that will kill off all sentient life on earth, excepting for the beetle, the earthworm, and the cockroach.

      At least this will render redundant any anxieties about the otherwise looming 25-year Great Depression.

      So, while 2015 will likely not be happy, it promises to be interesting, if not exciting.

      I yearn for Deliverance……….

      • Richard says:

        And a Happy New Year to you too, Richard, and of course to Cheri.

        Thank you, my friend.

        However, you should know that, as an indefatigable internet searcher, I’ve learned, on reasonably good authority, that very soon, possibly by this April, the stock market will crash to a level not seen since time unrecorded, which will usher in a 25-year worldwide Great Depression.

        Why is it that when ownership of wealth becomes so far distant from those who earn it, forces conspire to rob those earners of the means by which they create the wealth? Maybe it is because the selfish use of capital and the invisible hand provided the means in the first place. Like Hugh’s hand the invisible hand is too slow for the artful dodger and the indefatigable internet searcher.

        I’ve also learned, again on reasonably good authority, that an all-out, no-holds-barred war with a certain rather large country on the northern European-Asian land mass, is around the corner, and could happen sometime in 2015 – an event that will kill off all sentient life on earth, excepting for the beetle, the earthworm, and the cockroach.

        At least this will render redundant any anxieties about the otherwise looming 25-year Great Depression.

        By the sweat of their brows, earthworms, assisted by beetles, carry the detritus of Autumn to the depths to manufacture the very nutriment in the soil which sustains us all. Cockroaches eat the food off our table, spread disease, crawl up our walls, hide in inaccessible places and frighten young ladies. So despite global near-annihilation, there is no escape from economics and the inevitability of bust and boom, famine and plenty, in seven, not twenty-five, year cycles.

        So, while 2015 will likely not be happy, it promises to be interesting, if not exciting..

        Some of us shrinking violets are never happier than when we are miserable.

        I yearn for Deliverance……….

        I know Amazon had problems just before Christmas, but this is ridiculous………

  9. Richard says:

    The more I read this post, Cheri, the more I see. Your writing truly is multi-faceted.

    I’m still foxed by A-P=S.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s