You need hands.

Whoever would have thought that Max Bygraves would turn out to be some sort of guru?

You need (he sang) hands………and then went on to give a very limited list of what they were handy for: holding someone, expressing sincerity, crying, thanking God, holding a baby, stopping a bus, and clapping when Max has finished singing.

I would like to take issue with nearly all of those and add a list of lots that I and my plastered arm plus hooks have researched all by ourselves without the aid of a lyricist.

I do agree you need two hands for a baby or you’d be swinging it around by its foot; they never respond well to that, if memory serves.  You would also need two hands for the nappies, or it could get nasty, two hands to catch the baby and dress them and two hands to feed them when they get to solids.  At the earlier stage you don’t need hands at all if you do it the way nature intended.  What a wonderfully peaceful thing that is!  I do recall how I tried in vain to wind him, he never had any.  With hindsight I realise there was no room to take any air in at all, winding is an invention that belongs to plastic bottles.  I used to panic when he fell asleep feeding, thinking he might explode on an unexpressed burp.  Once they get to the crawling stage two hands are completely inadequate.  Five might do, at a pinch, at least one set on three foot long arms.  However in the main I do agree with Max, you need hands for babies.

Hands for holding someone are not necessary in the plural, you can do it with one, or, if they are very expressive types, one and a plaster, though you do have to be careful not to knock them out.  This goes: How have you been? What have you done? Oh give me a hug errrrr  and then they stagger backwards and go round in circles for a bit and then I know (because I can’t feel anything through this plaster) that I’ve bashed them on the back of the head with the hard corner where the plaster accommodates my thumb.

Hands for sincerity?  Not necessary, just shout down the phone as usual, this goes: I have an arm in plaster!  I have a broken bone and another broken bone!  I have hooks sticking in the back of my hand!  It hurts!  It hurts a lot.  I am broken!  I do not want to take part in your consumer survey which will only take ten minutes!  If I have ten spare minutes I will use them to go to the toilet because it takes me ten minutes to get the appropriate clothes removed.  So I do not have ten minutes for you.  I do not believe from your accent you are called Boots, I do not think that name can be found anywhere in the Bangalore phone directory at all. Go away!

You do not need hands for crying.  When the frustration gets to you just let the tears run down your face taking your contact lenses with them.  Easy.

I have no intention of getting on a bus with one arm in a sling.  It’s difficult enough getting into a car.  Mostly, I’m walking.  Thank God for legs.  And feet.

And did you notice?  I thanked God there without using both hands.  All right, one finger on the keyboard.

That’s another thing.  I thought I was the well-known one handed typist until this happened.  Now I know I use both hands.  Who’d have thought it?

Hands for clapping?  I think not, any vibration is bad news for the bones inside the plaster.  The fifty miles in a car and fifty miles back to visit my mother just about finishes me off; I come in, sit for a bit and then go to bed.

This is the stuff you really need two hands for:

Contact lenses, opening envelopes, sewing, painting, moulds, demoulding, modelling, putting on socks, pulling up pants, jeans, pyjamas and any nether garments, using epilators, razors, tweezers and most hair removing tools, putting in rollers, shopping, shopping trolleys, handbags, purses and all associated activities, cooking.

Cooking is an absolute pain.  I am incensed that I, a vegetarian, am covered in splashed gravy whilst trying to cook for the family.  My previously pristine plaster is Jackson Pollocked, with everything I would not wish on there at all, never mind soaked in and not coming off until cut off.  My plaster is imbued with onion and I have to sleep next to it.

I have been out doing a bit of building maintenance.  I ladled the water repellent liquid on the concrete step and up the wall and, just for the half hour that it took, felt like me again.  I haven’t been out gardening but I shall have a go tomorrow.

One questionable advantage of this inoperative arm, hand, fingers another day gone is the empathy with the one handed.  If a charity collecting tin for the one handed, whether disabled soldier or thalidomide child is shaken at you, you should use your two good hands to put something in there.  I am so lucky because I will recover, people with bits missing can’t do that.  Their frustration is permanent and our sympathy should match it.

Most of all I feel for the craftsmen of yore who had their hands amputated by the despotic rulers for whom they made something fantastic, to stop them doing it for anyone else.  The craftsmen who built the Taj Mahal and the mediaeval glassblowers of Murano who escaped, among them.  I cannot imagine any pain to sear the soul with the same fire as that of the skilled artisan at the top of their game, having their hands cut off.  Anyone who is any good is never at the top of their game because making something really good makes you want to make something better, if you are any good at all.  The people who make something fairly OK and sit back in satisfaction are usually not much cop.  I have never interviewed a real artist who didn’t have the next one in his heart and head as he put the last stroke to the one he was just about to finish.  Creativity is a habit.  Like all habits, the more you feed it, the more it grows and wants.

For example, the habit of having two useful hands.

It’s handy, I like it, I want mine back. As he requested: Let’s hear it for Max Bygraves.  (Close but no cigar.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ – short handed at present.

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