C. C. Finlay (ccfinlay) wrote,
C. C. Finlay

The Dog Who Outsmarted Me and Broke My Hand

The weather was perfect today -- mid-70s, sunshine, breeze, and the leaves all changing colors, the kind of day that makes fall my favorite season. After the boys' soccer game, we rented a canoe and paddled our way down the Big Darby all afternoon. Apart from one kayaker and a couple fishermen, we had the water to ourselves today -- everyone else must've been at the Ohio State game.

Four years ago when we were out on the river, we saw an odd pair of ducks, a female Muscovy with a male mallard. They were out on the water again today, only this time joined by a female mallard -- cross-species polyamory! There were also some painted turtles out sunning themselves on logs and one big snapper that we floated right by and let alone. In the thicker parts of the woods, jays zipped through the sycamore trees that lined the banks, blue flashes against the bone-white trunks.

chance88088 tells me that this journal needs more stories like the recent one about my brief courtship with the soft-headed girl. At her request, I'm telling the story about the dog that outsmarted me.

When I was 14 or 15, my neighbor had a dumb but good-natured Dalmation with the wildly original name of Scooby. Out behind our trailers, there was a small field between the bottom of the hill and the creek. There were railroad tracks on the embankment on the far side of the creek, and when the freight trains rolled through at midnight I remember lying in bed listening to the windows rattle as it passed. So it wasn't that big a field. We'd let Scooby run loose in the field, and one day we had the brilliant idea of chasing and tackling him, which he accepted with good fun.

Kids circled around him, diving for him and missing him, rolling in the grass. I noticed that he was watching us chase him, zigging one way then zagging the other to make us miss. So the next time he came close to me, I dove for the zag, caught him, and tackled him. I told him he was a good boy, let him go, and the next time he came close, I dove for the zag, wrapped my arms around his waist and rolled with him again.

I was feeling a little cocky now 'cause I wasn't the only one catching him, so the next time he ran for my part of the circle, I dove for the zag again -- and he added a third zig. My right hand hit the middle of his back, slipped off, and I landed on it with all my weight, snapping the fingers backward and breaking the bones across the middle of my hand.

I didn't realize it was broken at the time. I just figured I'd jammed the fingers bad, so I went home and put ice on it and didn't worry about it. But by the next morning, my whole hand was swollen to twice its size and ugly purple, so we went to the ER and got it patched up. You can imagine how I got teased for it. Make up your own embarrassing reasons for having your fingers in splints, add in the sense of humor that belongs to teenage boys, and I'm sure I heard it.

It never did heal right -- one of the knuckles is visibly sunken. For twenty years, I had pain in this hand, especially from typing or writing, and I just figured I was doomed to early arthritis. But I complained about it to my massage therapist a few years ago and she spent a hour working on the bones. Whatever she did, it did the trick, because I haven't had any problems with it since.

So that's the story of the dog who outsmarted me and broke my hand. I haven't tackled dogs again since, except for the time the pit bull grabbed my greyhound by the throat. But that's a different story. And since I'm trying to finish stories for Scalzi's issue of Subterranean and the spicy slipstream antho, I'll save that for another time.


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