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Scissors o' death
I found myself in an unusual predicament the other day.
I rolled up behind a car stopped at a light, and, glancing down, I noticed a pair of scissors sitting on the car’s bumper.
“Bummer,” I thought. “Dude’s about to lose his scissors.”
But then my paranoid-parent brain kicked into hyperdrive.
I blame it on my mom.
I wouldn’t say she’s overprotective, but I distinctly recall a time she called to warn me she had read about people who had pricked their fingers on syringes. It seems shooters-up were throwing ’em away in public bathrooms. Unsuspecting toileteers would do their duty, wash and dry their hands, then dispose of the paper towels in brimming bins. The clean-and-dry-handed ones would mash the refuse down in the bins and —Yowk! — get pricked. I never heard how many thousands of folks were so afflicted, but I’m presuming each and every one — and, no doubt, a few of their close relatives — promptly shriveled up and died horrible, awful, painful deaths.
So my mom called to caution me about overflowing bathroom bins.
I believe I was in my mid-30s.
But I get it.
I have kids, so I can easily imagine the most terrible, horrendous badness spinning off the most pedestrian situations.
Which brings us to the scissors.
I immediately envisioned them becoming dislodged, clattering to the pavement, then being kicked up by another car’s spinning tires and flung into the air, where they’d tumble silently but ominously, handle-over-business end … before burying themselves thumb-hole-deep right into some poor sap’s eye socket.
At the very least, I figured they’d make it to the turnpike, then clatter to the blacktop at mile marker 180, where they’d slice through 17 of a speeding 18-wheeler’s 18 or so wheels, causing the Peterbilt of Death to careen over the center line … and, ultimately, causing a 34-car pileup and heaps of dead and dying good people.
(It’s worth noting these were fine-looking scissors; not the cheap-o flimsy blades, the only kind I can find around the house when I have some scissoring to do. You know, the lousy scissors with the bendy blades, with which you chomp-chomp-chomp at even the flimsiest of mutatables before finally giving up and attacking with a steak knife. No, these were the industrial, triangular-bladed beauties I only seem to find at 3 in the morning when I roll over in bed and awaken with a start, surprised to find my spleen has been lacerated and, despite the early hour, seem to recall that, yes, my son DID just happen to have been working on some craft here earlier in the day, and, by gosh, he sure does have a hard time picking up after himself, doesn't he? The scamp!)
Oh, wait. Where was I …
Oh yes, the intersection. With the scissors.
I reached down, planning to reunite the shears with their sure-to-be-grateful owner, but as I had spent the previous milliseconds envisioning the mass destruction they were sure to wreak, the light was about to change, and the car was edging forward. (I also noticed the driver, who had been eying me warily in the rearview mirror, was looking RIGHT AT ME as I lunged forward. Perhaps I moved a bit too suddenly. Or spastically.)
By that point, the scissors were all but out of reach.
It’s probably for the best. I’m sure, given the timing, if I’d managed to save the blades before the car drove off, I would have had to resort to trying to play catch-up to return them. Surely the sight of a guy pedalling maniacally, waving industrial-strength scissors and bellowing for the car ahead to stop is grounds for arrest.
So I watched as car and slicers pulled away.
I sure hope nobody got killed.