How Not to Use a Box Cutter

It seems like every other Saturday I spend my time telling you what I got in my co-op basket and this Saturday isn’t going to be any different. Because I got (fanfare!) the Tropical Pack again.


This week we got bananas, lettuce, pineapple, a ton of broccoli, oranges, garlic, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, a honeydew melon, avocados and nectarines in our regular basket, which is great because we are freaking OUT of produce.


Look at all this goodness. Another pineapple, a plantain, a COCONUT, lemons, more mint and vanilla beans, ginger, mangoes and, oddly enough, lychee fruits.

These are lychee.

I’d never encountered a lychee outside of Japanese candy, so I was pretty excited. So excited that I looked up how to open them and did it on the way home with one. It was really juicy and super-sweet. I’m still excited about them. We have been out of fruit for like two days now, so I’m extra-glad I got the tropical fruit. Mister E is once again glad because he’ll be able to have mangoes. I am once again stymied by vanilla beans. Guess we should just get some vodka.

The problem with the coconut was that it was way harder to open this time as opposed to last time. Mister E sprayed the kitchen with coconut juice trying to get it open. I had to Google “how to get tenacious coconut meat off its shell.” The advice that was given me involved a paring knife and leverage, which worked to a point. It also involved me stabbing myself in the hand. Literally. My left thumb and the ball of my hand are swollen from where the point of the knife went in and I am fairly certain I felt it hit something hard. It reminded me of the story about why I’m not allowed to use box cutters.

As I’ve mentioned on multiple occasions, I used to work at a health food store. To this end I often used a box cutter to open the stock. I also used to have a little PDA that I used for writing notes. I wanted to use it to write stories, however, so I bought one of those foldable infrared keyboards. The problem with that was that it was inside one of those hard plastic packages that behave very much like the outer shell of a coconut. If you want to get into it, you have to cut into it.

Unfortunately, my scissors were not up to the task. They broke right in half when I tried to use them, so I decided that more drastic measures were required: my box cutter.

I’d learned basic box cutter safety before. Cut away from your body, don’t cut too deep, etc. Everything was actually going fine until a cat jumped up on my lap to see what I was doing. Not wanting to slice up my cat, I jerked the box cutter sideways and somehow sliced right across my leg above the knee.

WARNING: This is pretty gross, so you might want to not read the next bit if you’re sensitive.

My skin sort of unzipped, like when you split open a sausage and stuff starts pushing its way out of the casing. In this case it was shiny whitish stuff that I later realized was my leg-fat. There was also a dark red part under it that I identified as muscle. I only got a glimpse of it before the blood started pouring out, though.


My first thought was “Holy shit! That is far too close my to femoral artery for comfort!” My second thought was “okay, it’s not pumping, so I didn’t hit the artery.” The last thing I thought before I pressed two washcloths over it and hopped next door to CNM’s house was “Holy shit, this is a lot of blood.”

Predictably, CNM freaked out. But she grabbed her purse, shoved me in the car and sped to the hospital ER. A wheelchair was commanded and she wheeled me inside like a shopping cart onSupermarket Sweeps. The triage nurses did not share our view that my still-gushing leg wound was serious business, but thankfully the cop at the door did. Thanks to his intervention, I got in to see the doctor, who cut off my pants leg and had the most sadistic nurse ever inject me with lidocaine so he could sew me back together. She was nothing short of a malignant bitch, who told me that I shouldn’t be flinching over the lidocaine because I have tattoos.

“Yes,” I said, holding back the urge to hit her with the tray the supplies were on. “But I wanted those.”

That was really the worst part of it, right up until the suture reaction a week later and the early removal of the sutures that left me with a big old scar. However, the next day I got up and went to work without painkillers and wearing the cutoff shorts I made out of what had been  – until the ER doctor got a hold of me – my one pair of khaki pants. I was promptly sent home by the hippies, who told me I shouldn’t be on my feet until Monday. As I was headed out the door, one of my much younger coworkers gave me the metal sign.

“Fuck yeah,” she said with a grin. “You’re hardcore.”

Still not sure what she was referring to, but I’ll take it.


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