The other day, my 80 year old neighbor got the blade of her riding mower caught on a long, snaking tree root that was half in the ground, half out of the ground. So, as a manly next door neighbor, I came to the “rescue”. My wife, this lady and I all tried moving the riding mower but it was a big one and it was not going anywhere due in part to the tree root being wrapped up in the mower blade. So, the only solution I could come up with was to get my ax and hack at the the root hoping to free it up.
So I got my ax. In the meantime, another neighbor, who may be one of the highest ranked manly men in Wisconsin, came by to help. When I arrived, he somehow had lifted the riding mower enabling us to see beneath it. (I couldn’t MOVE the mower before, much less lift it…and I’m bigger than he is). Sure enough, the tree root was completely entangled with the blade. So, it still appeared as though the ax solution was the best and I went about hacking at the root. I managed to sever the root on the right side of the mower, though not without incurring some fleeting feelings of pain in my hand, arms, chest and back. Sure enough, manly neighbor grabbed the ax to free up the root on the other side of the mower and did a full swing, not the very effeminate half swing I had been doing which caused some degree of pain. He cut through the root in about 3 hits – it took me about 20.
So today, several days later, I am left with significant pain in my right thumb mostly and I’m learning first hand (I’ll be here all week) how debilitating a thumb injury can be.
But I suppose the question here is: is this an old man injury (an embarrassing injury you would have never had if the same thing happened when you were younger) or is this a real man injury (an injury after doing something relatively masculine)? The injury occurred because I was using an ax, which ranks high on the manly list of things to do – but it’s quite possible that I would not have injured my thumb if I had been younger and/or swung the ax correctly. So which is it?