Mrs. Hillbilly Mom suffered and on-the-job injury yesterday. She has not yet filed for worker’s compensation. As of right now, no work days have been lost for her recent disabledness. Here’s how it all went down.
My classes are working on projects. They have known since the beginning of the year that it was due this quarter, and did preliminary work in class in January. Now the crunch is on. Out of the goodness of her heart and the depths of her coin purse, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom purchases colored paper for the pupils to use on their display boards. Also, glue, scissors, tape, colored pencils, and markers. Sometimes there is carryover from year to year, as with the scissors and colored pencils. But there is always a considerable outlay for the paper, which is around six dollars for 100 sheets. Considering that each project needs about six pieces for the main headings, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom invests a pretty penny or pocketful on these materials.
Let the record show that in different years, the clientele exhibit different levels of buffoonery. You might not think a pair of scissors would have the handle broken off through the normal use of cutting a piece of paper. But it happened. And somehow those markers are allergic to their own caps, what with some being left bareheaded, and others having a contrasting color cap ensconced upon their pointy noggins. Glue sticks are capped and returned to the bin, even when all glue is gone. Same with the tape dispensers. For some reason, we collect those clear plastic rollers. But the most wastage seems to involve that pretty paper.
Yesterday, for example, brought me an orange origami flying bird, a bright blue foldy thingy that opens up to different surfaces to tell what kind of car you will drive, how many kids you will have, how much money you will make, what kind of house you’ll live in…and various other details of your future. Funny how paper can be so prophetic. But the most outrageous waste of expensive Mrs. Hillbilly Mom’s pocket money paper was the neon yellow sheet that was used for pencil scribbles by one who did not even have a display board, partner, or project parts in the room, and was then crumpled up and tossed at the wastebasket against the rules, missing, of course and attracting the desired attention from cronies, who catcalled and ridiculed the waster.
But that’s not the injury, my friends. No apoplectic forehead vein burst to render Mrs. HM disabled. No, it was all about the paper, and its thirst for blood. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom’s blood. As I tried to open that plastic wrap, which held that 1/5 ream tighter than Spanx on Oprah, tried to unpeel the clear plastic skin like a chemical facial on a society matron, my left ring finger was sliced by the edge of 1/100 of that package.
Thank the Gummi Mary, the part of that finger which would hold my wedding ring if I wore it was not damaged. It was the tender semi-circle of cuticle just below the nail, a vertical slice that smarted like the dickens.
Of course I was in the middle of ten tasks at the time, including but not limited to taking attendance, filling out an assignment sheet from an office worker, fishing out a Sharpie and a permanent marker for two pupils, gathering a week-and-a-half’s worth of work per special request by Mr. Principal, who had entered my sanctum, and trying to maintain a semblance of order. So I could not tend to my wound forthwith, but set aside the paper pack, got rid of the intrusions as efficiently as possible, and proffered the Sharpie to the asker.
“Uh…I don’t know…”
“What? That? It’s not even dripping. I’m about to put on a BandAid. Here. It didn’t touch the Sharpie.”
Seriously. You’d think I needed to call in the HazMat team to decontaminate the scene. The bubble of blood was bobbling, but not gushing as from an artery. I fumbled for a bandaid, through three boxes, because these kids eat them up like illicit snacks, it seems, to cover old injuries and imaginary ones at the drop of a hat. The only one I had left, out of three boxes, being Rugrats, Angry Birds, and SpongeBob, was a scrap of something that looked like a squid in the ocean. Or an angry unidentified bird.
I wrapped up my booboo and went about business as usual, the deadly body fluid contained.
I had to put on another BandAid this morning.