I was instantly transported back to my childhood, circa ages 4-10, when there was NOTHING WORSE TO ME IN THIS ENTIRE WORLD than enduring the removal of a splinter. Worse than eating hotdogs. Worse than grade school—which I absolutely hated. And, worse than being paddled.
That’s right; I’d take paddling over having a splinter removed.
I grew up on a farm, so splinters, unfortunately, were a common occurrence. I could endure the pain of achieving the splintered state. I could NOT endure the excavation process that went on to remove it. And that’s exactly what it was.
For some reason, the splinters were always completely sucked into my skin with no part remaining at the surface. Mom would have to perform surgery with a pin, needle, butcher knife, what-have-you, to remove it. Of course I was a tricky patient. I refused to (a) sit still, (b) let her look at whichever finger happened to be stuck or (c) allow her to proceed without screaming bloody murder.
To get around all those factors, Mom would shove a cookie(s) in my mouth while Dad and at least one brother sat on my extremities with splintered appendage corralled. Gagging, crying and practically sweating from the horror of it all, I squalled my way through the removal process, thinking I was surely on the verge of death by cookie lodged in esophagus, when Mom would say, “THERE it is!” and hold the wee little sliver of evil up for all to see.
Brother would yell, “FINALLY!” Dad would say, “All that commotion for such a small thing.” And I would dry my eyes and ask, “Can I go get a new My Little Pony now?”
Because that was the deal: Good behavior during removal of a splinter resulted in a new My Little Pony. My brothers were certain I was working the system and raking my hands across pieces of wood to gain splinters and earn more ponies. My parents were just happy I survived the removal process.
My actions during those excavations proved otherwise. Yes, I loved My Little Pony figures, but NO WAY was one of those plastic horses worth the pain of almost dying during “surgery.”
I made my parents proud today. One splinter. No cookies in my mouth. No one sitting on me. A clean removal by tweezers.
I guess their little girl is all grown up.
By the way, I don’t know who that small child is in the photo, but I can sure as heck relate.