“Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory…lasts forever”- Keanu Reeves in The Replacements.
I have always had soft hands, I think. I’m not sure because I never noticed until I joined law enforcement. It never really mattered until then. There is this stupid unwritten rule in law enforcement that you have to shake hands with every damn cop you see. You’re walking in the hallway, shake hands. In the coffee room, shake hands. Eating in a restaurant? Yeah, though you are allowed to just bump fists if your fingers are full of buffalo wing sauce. Don’t like the guy? Too bad, shake hands anyway. You don’t have a choice. It’s a cop thing.
When I was working as a detention officer before my cop days there was this one guy who had hands like sand paper. I’m not kidding. I don’t know what kind of work he used to do before detention officer but it totally messed up his hands. He had scars all over his palms and the top side of his hands too. I thought maybe he used to work in a factory testing meat grinders with his hands for a living. Or maybe he got in a fight with Wolverine and lost. They were that messed up. One day just to prove how tough he was he brought in a match and lit it on the palm of his hands. Even I have to admit that was cool.
Every time he shook my hand he would give me a look and say, “Dude, you have the hands of a girl!” Then he would look around at everybody in the office until they nodded in agreement. After that he would go into a rant about how men should work for a living and should have the “hands of a man” to show for it. Hands should have scars. He would probably throw himself a party if he lost a finger.
What could I do? I have soft hands. No matter what I do they stay that way. I could slap them up against a brick wall every day for a month ( I tried it) and they will stay soft. I do get calluses and stuff but they disappear very fast. I have had accidents where I burn or cut my hands, but the scars disappear rather quick. I once even sliced a 3 inch long cut on the inside of my palm once. It was ugly and I got stitches. I can no longer tell what hand it was on.
Don’t get me wrong, I have scars. When I was 8 my younger brother through a glass ashtray at me and cut my head open. Would’ve probably been about 10 stiches, had anyone bothered to take me to the doctor. The big school yard fight of 1972 at Alton Elementary? Yeah, I was there. Stepped on a nail. Bled like a stuck pig. The infamous after school Mission High School “band vs. football team” football game of 1979? Yep, I represented. Stepped on a nail again. The pig thing again. The little known (but equally important) pre-pigskin jubilee band practice of 2015? Yes, nearly got my hand chopped trying to fold that damn ladder thing that the drum major stands on. That would have left a hell of a scar. But I stepped back just in time to get out of the way…and stepped on a nail. So, you see, I got scars. Just not on my hands.
I was lucky enough though, never to get scars as a detention officer or cop. Yeah, I got hurt a few times, but no scars. Unless you count the big Influenza-A Epidemic of 2007, in which I got the flu from a bunch of infected suspects whose house I searched one day. When I found out that day that they were all infected I went to the doctor the very next day and got a shot to lesson the effects of the flu. The cute nurse who gave me the shot lost her footing just as she gave me a shot, and ran that first needle across one of my left cheek. Left a small (but cute) scar. Why did she lose her footing? No, she wasn’t mesmerized by my butt. As it turns out, she had stepped on a nail the day before. Nails are the devil.
To be honest though, my hands are not just soft, but very sensitive. I play this game with one of my daughters where I close my eyes and she puts a coin on the palm of my hand and not only do I tell her what coin it is, I also tell her if it is lying heads up or down. On a good day I will tell her the year of the coin (though on that I just mostly cheat).
Yesterday I was at a store getting gas and I ran into Mr. sandpaper hands. I hadn’t seen him since our detention officer days and he walked up and said hello, and we shook hands. His hands still felt like sandpaper. He gave my hand the old “if we arm wrestle I would win” handshake. He held on to my hand for an extra second with a big look of surprise on his face. “Dammit Alvarez, you still have the same hands!” He then called his wife over and I said hello and shook her hand. She said, “Is this the guy you were always talking about with the soft hands?” Seriously? That was 25 years ago! You guys must not have much to talk about.
Lucky for me though I had just recently been the recipient of a nasty scar on my left hand (It will be gone in a week). He actually noticed it and said “wow, finally working for a living a huh? I said, “Yeah, finally.” We both laughed and parted ways. I didn’t tell him I got the scar taking a baked chicken out of the oven the day before. Let him dream.
I think people like that are so funny. I didn’t judge him for not knowing what not to stick his hands in, or, for that matter, not knowing about the existence of gloves. Dumbass.
Anyway, I’m sure if I live long enough my hands will be hard and full of scars some day. Not today, though. Not even close.