Life as a one-armed bandit

2008-04-01 00:00

Anyone who glibly claims that they’d give their right arm for something has probably never actually tried to get through a normal day minus this crucial appendage —

unless they’re left-handed or ambidextrous.

Until just recently, I too was guilty of making such claims and my poor arm was traded willy-nilly, often in exchange for mere trivialities — a fatter bank balance, a thinner waistline, more pudding, less cholesterol …

And then, following an operation that involved the slicing and dicing of my shoulder, I underwent a dramatic change of heart.

My trusty right limb has been out of commission for a couple of weeks and I can say without hesitation, it has been very sorely missed — literally and figuratively. So much so, that I’ve realised it’s completely indispensable and something to love and cherish from this day forth — not unlike one’s husband, wife or dishwasher really.

Aside from any aspirations as a trapeze artist being entirely thwarted, for someone like myself who employs actions rather than words as a means of expression, being reduced to the status of a one-armed bandit is no fun at all.

In fact, it comes a very close second behind the loss of my big middle finger — another of my cherished and well-used appendages that is currently imprisoned in a sling along with the ailing arm.

Being rendered armless is the ultimate frustration. I mean, how is one expected to survive on our roads without the full benefit of either body part?

While my left hand copes admirably with steering and gears, the right one yearns to express my discontent at the scores of idiotic road users who seem to swerve across my path.

Worse still, not only is my freedom of expression severely hampered, but there are numerous other activities that are nigh impossible to perform.

Without getting too lavatorial, if you get my drift, the simplest of tasks has become an exercise in contortion.

Cleaning your teeth with the toothbrush clutched in an impotent left paw requires intense concentration, because, while extra-minty toothpaste with polishing micro-beads may result in a dazzling white smile, the effects of scouring your face with it or jamming it up your nose are far less appealing. And if you’re thinking that an electric toothbrush would solve the problem, let me clarify something — more power in the wrong hands, or in this case the wrong hand, is disastrous.

To further enhance my lopsided peculiarity, when it comes to applying make-up, I’ve decided that going au naturel is preferable to looking like an escapee from the circus.

I suppose I should be grateful that I don’t have to shave my face. It’s dicey enough trying to negotiate a razor around my legs and underarms without committing hara-kiri.

And then there’s the little matter of feeding myself.

If it were not for my husband, whose culinary repertoire has been stretched to the limits, I’d be a poster girl for Weigh-Less.

Watching me fumbling about with a fork in my feeble left hand may require a little endurance on my part, but extreme tolerance on his.

Of course, there’s always the bright side. For the time being, I’m not expected to cook anything, wash anything or make anything. But I am able to sit at my computer and type, and until my shoulder comes right, it’s all that’s left to do.

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