My father was always pretty handy around the house I recall. He’d change the car’s oil, fix the air conditioner, run speaker wire through the walls…you name it. And it was through this hands-on instruction that I learned my own basic handyman competence and the self-confidence needed to undertake my eventual home projects.
Yet, there’s a price exacted by the animistic spirits of the home, if I understand anything about the supernatural world. A blood price. It’s akin to the Angel’s Share of evaporated bourbon, but more Lovecraftian. The spirits grant the boon of accomplishment, but in turn must be paid a sacrifice.
For my father, this price was quite literally paid in blood. Every time he fixed something, he bled–a hammer to the thumb, a slipped knife to the fingers, a burr on a pipe finding his hand–these are some examples. The project saw fruition, but its culmination always required bandages. At the time, I thought this correlation extremely amusing, the way all kids find grownups getting hurt amusing. Little did I know that the pact would extend to all male heirs. Now I too pay the price.
I was putting up Christmas lights on the roof and a friggin pine needle poked me deep enough to draw an actual stream of blood. I was putting nails into a kitchen drawer to fix a broken slat and I skinned a knuckle. But the biggest price I paid to date at this house was to have a clean oven, and by extension, a properly cooked Thanksgiving turkey. Such was the impact of this lofty goal (impressing in-laws (or showing them up, depending how you want to look at it, wink wink)), that the price needed to be high.
I began cleaning, and noticed that the spray nozzle on the can of oven cleaner was gunked up. I wiggled it, trying to dislodge the blockage, and it popped off. This action released the pressure on the aerosol within that little metal delivery tube. A blast of liquid sodium hydroxide impacted my face, and had I not been wearing my glasses at the time, would have caused ER-worthy damage, for the resultant chemical burn was instantaneous, not to mention painful.
Statistics for kitchen injuries during holidays are rather amusing. We might attribute them to alcohol, fatigue, or simply being in the kitchen more. But I say no–it’s that the stakes of our projects are higher and so the sprites can exact a steeper price.
But the turkey was damn good.