Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I've invited you all here today because I'm ready to name the murderer....

Many, many moons ago, when Hubby was 19, he took a year off college and worked for a plastic-injection mold factory that manufactured (primarily) Little Tikes toys.

To this day, the brand name makes him twitch.

Hubby worked on the line, waiting for molten plastic to squirt into the mold, set, and for the mold to open.  Then he reached in to grab the newly-formed toy.  And so on.

You had to be quick.

The mold closed down with over a thousand pounds of pressure per square inch.


You see where this is going, right?

At this point, I should really mention that Hubby lived on the Big Island of Hawai'i for three years, from age 13 to 16.  He's the only guy his size that I know who's been beat up (admittedly, he was 13, but still, not exactly small) simply because he's haole.

All that to say, Hawai'i is a melting pot of Asian and Polynesian cultures.  Living there is very much a crash-course in Japanese, Korean, Hawai'ian, and a handful of other cultures and traditions.

But I temporarily digress.

One day, Hubby was not as quick as he should have been, and the tip of his left index finger (and the edge of the middle) got stuck in the mold.  He slammed the emergency stop button and had to actually get someone else's attention, get them out of the "OMG, BLOOD!" zone-out,  had them get the foreman, and got a fast ride to the hospital.

Where he proceeded to crack stupid jokes, his preferred method for dealing with severe pain.

No, I am not kidding.  The doctor who was attempting to cauterize the (many) bleeding vessels had to put down his laser after the last zap had generated a smoky cloud, and Hubby said, "Mind if I smoke?" with a drugged-up giggle.  The nurse walking into the room turned around and walked right back out.

He's fun when he's doped up and scared and in serious pain.

All that was left of the tip of his finger was what could be wiped off the inside of the mold with a paper towel.  (Eww.  I know.  Exactly what the doctor said when he looked in the paper towel after a nurse walked in with it and said, "They brought the finger.")

It took forty-two stitches to close up the end of his index finger and the collateral damage on the middle finger next to it.  The doctors didn't think that he would even have a fingernail left on his index finger, but he does have a tiny, rather deformed fingernail.

I told you that story to tell you this one.

Now, Hubby was down to  9¾ fingers (by his own admission) before I met him.  So I've always known him this way, and never really thought anything of it.

And Hubby, with his rather warped sense of humor (which is, undeniably, one of the reasons I love him), likes to have fun with his missing quarter-digit.  Like affecting a startled look when someone points out his finger, as if he's just now noticed it's gone.

Last Sunday, during second service, Hubby and I are sitting in the pew in front of Jester and Mitzy when Jester notices the finger.

Hubby does an abbreviation of the startled routine, then whispers over his shoulder to Jester, "Yakuza."

Jester looked momentarily confused.

"Japanese Mafia," Hubby clarified quietly.

Which sent Jester into a cough as he tried to not laugh.

I got to tell the whole crazy story after service was over.

I told you, he has fun with it.

Now, I've told you that brief vignette to tell you this:

Tonight, Small Fry noticed the finger for the first time.  "Daddy, what happened to yewr fingewr?"

"If you tell her Yakuza..." I muttered under my breath.

"Yakuza," Hubby says, wide-eyed.

Right on cue.


"Can you say Yakuza?"

"Yakuza," Small parroted fairly well.

"It really got smooshed in a machine," Hubby confided.  "But if anybody asks you, you tell them 'Yakuza.'"

"Did it howrt?"

"Oh, yes."

"Did it blood?"

"Yes.  It bled a lot."

"Did you cwry?"


"Did you hafta have a bandaid?"

"A big one."  Hubby grinned at her.  "So, now what do you say when someone asks you about it?"

"Yakuza!" she whispered, with just then right amount of hushed awe.

Then Small contemplated for a moment.

"I'm gonna tell Gwramma it was Yakuza!"


  1. My daughter was adopted by a Hawaiian family. Native Mom, Irish Dad from my home town. I always know her dogs are in trouble when she starts yelling at them in Hawaiian.

    This story just cracked me up and I'm going to send it to her.

    1. All of our cats (except one) have Hawai'ian names, and for awhile, I got the oldest one to answer to hele mai, which means "come here."

  2. Thanks for sharing this story with us


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