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Tuesday, December 5, 2023
HomeOpinionThe Papa Files by Vincent Cardegin

The Papa Files by Vincent Cardegin

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Ever stood up without scooting back far enough from the dining room table and caught the front of your middle thighs on the edge of the top?  Makes you sit back down real quick!  And it hurts.  And hurts and hurts.  I only ever did that once, and I wasn’t even old yet, but I learned from that experience.  Since then I always push myself a full arm’s length away before standing.  Even then it’s only about a three-inch clearance.

But not every obstacle is long-term stationary like the table in a dining room.  My wife used to move the living room furniture around at least three times a year, and my shins and piggies suffered until I got used to the new arrangement.  Here in New (Zoo) House, the walls are not conducive to such relocationary experimentation—but if one thing gets moved just an inch out of position, I will suffer; it’s usually just a little bruise, but it’s always followed by a lot of complaining.

When I started watching Cricket I was very envious of the protective pads the batsmen wear on their legs.  They have full coverage from knees to ankles, and they look very comfortable.  I wish I’d had those for my time at Exwork.  Half of my shin scars are from those ten years of wending my way around stacks of pallets on the floor, in the back, and outside, as well as epoxy tables on the floor, in the back, and outside.  There were other accursed obstacles that nicked and scraped bits of skin from many parts of my body, head to toes, but mainly it was pallets that injured me.  And the shin pads I bought from Exwork’s Sporting Goods were too small.  The first day with them strapped right over my shins, I nicked my knee.  So I pulled them up to protect that part of me, and promptly nicked my ankle.  I pushed them down to my shoes, and nicked my shin.  Well, good grief.  I stopped wearing them.  Pallets are ever-changing, different makes and models, changing locations, diverse arrangements of stacking depending on the panic of the time-pressed stacker, and of course the height of the number of pallets.

But as months vanish into years, I grow increasingly annoyed with common obstacles.  I’ve thought about but seriously doubt I can design a house made of one wide hallway, with open niches on both sides for rooms, and in them the drawers slide out from the walls, instead of pointy-cornered furniture.  Does Frank Lloyd Wright have any great-great-great architect grandkids?

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I’m tempted to buy those Cricket pads online, two sets in fact, one for my legs, and one for my arms to protect shoulders to wrist.  And I’d like to either order, or invent, steel-toed slippers.  I’ve stubbed and probably broke pinky and ring toes (for they bruised dark and hurt for days) many times over the years while walking through the house.  But I shouldn’t have to don Iron Man gear just to get up in the morning to go to the bathroom and make coffee and fully wake up in my office while watching recordings of Cricket.  My abode should be a safe place, a home without obstacles.

So here is the conundrum.  Do I pad myself, or Papa-proof the house?  Well, probably neither.  But there is one spot in one place that has lately proven difficult over time, and it never moves, usually.  Over and again I’ve swiveled left in my office chair and bumped the left side of my left kneecap on the left front leg of my desk, which is actually an old dining room table.  Such a glancing blow has made me limp for hours and days.  So eventually I dug out one of my old shin pads and put it on the table’s knee.  (The knee of a table leg is the area just under the top.)  Surprisingly I have not bumped it since then, nearly two years.  Maybe that’s all I really need, visual reminders.  Perhaps sticky notes would do.  I wonder, how many would I have to use for the whole house?

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