Saturday, September 10, 2005

Dad's problem

Once when I was a small boy (my guess is less than seven), there seemed to be something wrong with my father's hand, or wrist. He seemed to have trouble doing the things he normally did. There was some gesture he did at the table (which I have since forgotten), that particularly revealed the problem. It may have been in using some table instrument like a corkscrew, or imparting a certain flick to a shaker.

Anyway, I watched him when he did this thing, because I was curious about his disability. I don't recall asking him about it. I probably didn't. If I had, he likely would have denied that he had a problem, or intimidated me to drop the subject.

Despite not remembering what the gesture that revealed his disability was, I do recall that he noticed me observing him do it, and gave me a sour look. After that, he refrained from the gesture. I couldn't gather any good data on his problem. I suppose there was some form of worry motivating me, but I was mostly curious. I did occur to me that he was refraining from doing the revealing operation because he didn't want me to see his problem. I now think I was right.

The whole duration of this episode may have been as short as a few weeks, but it also could have been months.

One day during this period, after he had been refraining from the table gesture for quite a while, we had guests over. He was talking expansively and forgot himself. He picked up the table object (whatever it was), and performed the gesture. His hand or wrist still exhibited that problem, which I now think of as looking disabled. I was pleased that he slipped up, and pleased to get data.

He saw my look and gave me another sour look of his own.

I don't know what the problem was. Maybe he fell and hurt his wrist, and wasn't admitting it to himself or anyone else. But he got over it.
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