Do not exhibit your sore finger for all to strike upon, and do not complain of it, for malice always pounds where it hurts most. ... Gracian #145
Due to a little medical emergency last night, my output requiring typing may be bit sparse for the next few days. With apologies to Father Baltasar, we’ll see how fast the brainbone can adapt.
I have sabraged champagne bottles for decades, and have demonstrated and taught the fine art to friends and colleagues. Sabraging is the classical method of opening champagne with a sabre or sword that has been practiced by officers of almost all armies when wearing their (now ceremonial) long knives. Not being so accoutered, I have substituted a garden machete with equal effectiveness, if not the formal grace of a hilted sword.
Last night was our traditional monthly gathering of brothers for the study of psychostochastics held in my downstairs ‘man cave’. This seminar is now established in Nevada County for over a decade, and enjoys a more hoary provenance in soCal where eager students first gathered ages ago and continue in the pursuit to this day. In both locales we use poker as the medium of study which organizes and focuses the teaching methodology while promoting a certain level of enthusiasm and attentiveness in the attendees. The affair includes dinner and appropriate libations to lubricate the bonhomie and subsequent academics which will occupy us for the evening.
Our group includes local notables and a dedicated contingent from Auburn who always arrive with a magnum of champagne. A physician among us had never witnessed sabraging, and I was asked to do the honors. After being handed a cold magnum and while explaining the preliminaries, I took my position with the business end pointed toward the lawn. With one mighty swipe of the machete the cleanly severed neck and cork were destined for the center of the grass, followed by a bit of the bubbly arcing a couple of feet in front me. Instead, the whole bottle exploded in my left hand with large shards falling through my fingers followed by a gush of blood as the largest piece neatly sliced my ring finger to the bone.
Fortunately the fellow student standing two feet away instantly recomposed himself as a physician, examined the now very bloody hand, determined that a band-aid would definitely not serve, and dispatched me to the local ER for some more serious medical attention. So in bloody shorts and with hand wrapped in several rapidly reddening towels, Jo Ann rushed me to the Sierra Memorial Hospital’s ER where I continued bleeding while signing countless forms assuring the establishment that I would not stiff them for their services or sue them for lack thereof, after which I received a new dressing and was directed to go bleed in the waiting room.
Two hours later they were ready to take X-rays, and we wondered whether I was ready for a transfusion. They needed the pictures before the wound could be cleaned and then sewn back together. But that’s another story for another time. With seven stiches re-establishing structural integrity in the finger, and a mighty metal splint protecting the injured appendage, we arrived back at Casa Rebane at around 10pm.
By that time the dinner was over, and the seminar was in, shall we say, intense progress with the chip trays giving evidence as to who had been learning from whom during the intervening hours. I was able to join in for a round or two appealing to more intact hands to shuffle those sweet little tickets.
Several of the brothers good-naturedly asked whether I would again offer to sabrage the next bottle of the bubbly. Absolutely I would. However, bowing to discretion as the better part of valor, I might perhaps now use a towel to wrap the bottle so that if lighting were to strike twice … .