Manual Ballet


“(Homer’s) big hands left his lap, where they had been playing ‘here’s the church and here’s the steeple,’ and hid in his armpits. They remained there for a moment, then slid under his thighs. A moment later they were back in his lap. The right hand cracked the joints of the left, one by one, then the left did the same service for the right. They seemed easier for a moment, but not for long. They started ‘here’s the church’ again, going through the entire performance and ending with the joint manipulation as before. He started a third time, but catching Tod’s eyes, he stopped and trapped his hands between his knees.

“It was the most complicated tic Tod had ever seen. What made it particularly horrible was its precision. It wasn’t pantomime, but manual ballet.”

“The Day of the Locust”, Nathanael West

Awaiting the Metro 603 bus at Fletcher and Riverside Drive at ten o’clock this morning I had a “Homer’s Hands” incidents that caught me by surprise.

When I headed out to Ralph’s market in Silver Lake to fetch some yogurt with the last $2.85 available on Paypal.I failed to wear my customary leather gloves or any other form of bandage wrap for my cracked and sore hands.

I’ve been out of gauze wrap for two days (the stuff is expensive, $4.99 a roll at CVS) and the elastic wrap fabric wrap that routinely holds the gauze bandages into place is losing its Velcro, rendering them all but useless (these are much cheaper to replace at one dollar per at the Bargain Hit! store on Sunset Boulevard — near Stories Books and Cafe where you can find my latest book from Silver Birch Press on the fiction shelves.)

Suddenly, while waiting for the bus, my hands exploded, and that exercise in “joint manipulation” that West describes was in full play as I desperately tried to unlock the suddenly seized up joints in my fingers and exfoliate the dead, dry skin from my palms and fingers. The reason I wear protective hand coverings in public is to prevent just such an embarrassment from happening (luckily there were no other commuters at the bus stop at the moment).

CVS has men’s basic black leather gloves on sale at the moment for $9.99 (my gloves should be replaced as they are two years old) and then the cost of the gauze wrap and the outer wraps would run around $10.00-12.00 plus a tube of petroleum jelly would be another five bucks. My budget for such supplies is, as stated, absolutely zero, zilch, nada.

Any contributions toward my Healing the Hands fund are gladly, most appreciatively accepted at my Maginot Line via Paypal: (As a matter of course I sparingly give out my Paypal addy publicly but this is an urgent medical issue that Medicare will not pay for.)

Thank you


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About Rodger Jacobs


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