I Get Hurt a Lot

I am so dating myself here, but when I was a kid, my family loved to watch The Carol Burnett Show, which I hope was genuinely as funny as we thought, but I’d be a little scared to watch it now in case it wasn’t.  One of our favorite characters was an ancient crone, played by La Burnett, who was stooped and moved in slow, miserable discomfort and who would occasionally murmur, “I get hurt a lot.”  Some slick young man (usually played by Harvey Korman) would assure her that she was silly to fret–no one was going to hurt her.   And, of course, she would brutalized in various ways over the next five or ten minutes, just beaten up and battered, and no one would really notice or feel sorry for her.

Not the old lady character, but another one of my favorites from CB.

Anyway, I was thinking of this recently as I surveyed my many wounds.  I get hurt a lot too.

I’m klutzy for one thing.  Especially when I’m overtired.  I think doorways move in our household: one second you’re moving safely through one of them and the next–wham!–the edges catch your elbow or ankle.  (I am grateful that I’m past the stage where I carry infants through doorways because I have a couple of shameful memories of knocking a tiny head or foot against a doorjamb.  Don’t tell anyone.  Actually, that might explain a lot about my kids.)  And our house is usually a mess, with laundry baskets, ottomans, and dog toys lurking in various unexpected spots, waiting to bruise an unsuspecting calf or shin.

Right now my feet are covered in blisters.  Not from the lovely high heeled shoes I wore to my big NYC event.  Nope, from a pair of Converses that I had just bought and was in the process of breaking in. “They’re pinching a little, but I can wear them to walk the dog,” I said to myself last week and set off up the hill to walk the dog.  By the time I made it home, my feet were a mashed-up hash of broken blisters and swollen toe joints.  I went off to New York with bandaids basically holding my feet together.  The first time I woke up in the hotel bed, I had to crawl back under the covers to find the bandaids that had rubbed off during the night. No maid should have to come across those while making the bed.

But mostly I burn myself.  Not on purpose, I swear, although you’d have your suspicions if you saw the side of my hand.  It’s just . . .  I bake a lot.  And I’m the kind of person who rushes through tasks.  Now any good baker knows that you can’t just time your cake or brownies or whatever: you judge when they’re done by the smell, the look, and, most importantly, the feel of the product.  So at some point toward the end of the baking process, I open the oven door, stick my hand in to gently press the top of the cake or whatever, and decide if it’s done or not.  And nine times out of ten, because I’m moving too fast, I knock my hand against the oven rack as I withdraw it.  The last time I did it, my hand was damp and I literally heard it sizzle.   Hearing your own flesh make a lovely cooking noise is beyond creepy.  I ended up with two angry painful red welts on the side of my hand, one of which still isn’t fully healed.  The other is still red, but I know it will fade to a silvery white like all the other little scars I have on the side of my right hand, and up my forearm.

Guess what my husband and my teenage son got me for Mother’s Day this year?  Oven mitts.  Both of them.  Two from my husband, two from my son who was traveling and didn’t know my husband had already gotten them for me.  I may get hurt a lot, but at least I’m loved.  I haven’t had the heart to tell them that you can’t wear the oven mitts when you’re checking the top of a cake for doneness.

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9 Comments

Filed under family, food

9 responses to “I Get Hurt a Lot

  1. “Band-aids basically holding my feet together.” You made me laugh out loud, Claire.

    I have actually walked into walls recently. In the daylight. With my eyes open. My theory is that I wait too long to pee and then I am distracted. This theory also explains – to me, at least -why I am a very horrible baker: I start off promising myself to follow directions exactly but then, I have to pee and I just want to get the damn cake in the damn oven before I leave to pee so I start just dumping shit, unmeasured, into the bowl and I say things to myself such as, “it will take too long to let the butter get to room temperature so if I throw in a jar of applesauce and a few sugar cubes instead, I’m sure it will be just the same”.

    I am, however, kickass at making soup. A person can make a great soup while having to pee.

  2. Claire

    Ann, you have the makings for a brilliant cookbook. “The I-Have-to-Pee Cookbook: recipes that work even when you’re doing the pee-pee dance.”

  3. Claire, this is a GREAT setup for the domestic abuse defense I assume Rob will be launching. “I walked into the doorframe” is SO much better than “I walked into the door.”

  4. Claire

    There isn’t a jury in the world who would side with me against Rob. (by the way, Colin, I found out how to get FB to post the blog immediately–the way it was set up before, it took days).

  5. Claudia

    I think Bill Murray should have to pay residuals to Harvey Korman’s estate every time he acts. I was in LOVE with Harvey Korman and Carol too, of course. It was so peculiar to me about Vicky (wasn’t that her name?) who played Carol’s sister but wasn’t her sister. Two of my favorite moments on Carol Burnett Show were 1) the spoof of “Gone with the Wind” when Carol had the curtain rod still on her dress and 2) When Harvey korman comes home and no one in his family cares that he just won the Nobel Prize because they’re too involved with showing him tricks the family’s new dog can do. I think all of family life was summed up in the Nobel Prize winner comes home only to have the family ignore him skit.

    Too bad there isn’t a camera in everyone’s kitchen constantly on recording people preparing food. I would love to watch U-Tube videos of Claire/Carol Burnett forgetting to put on her wonderful new oven mitts.

    Great post and loved Colin’s and Ann’s comments too.

  6. Claire

    I’m so glad you loved CB too, Claudia. I had forgotten about that Noble Prize sketch–that is truly brilliant. I often see things on TV or in movies and think, “The Carol Burnett writers did that first.” Do you remember the Eunice sketches? So funny and so bitter. When my siblings and I play “Sorry” we always scream “SOR-RY!” at each other like they did in one of those sketches.

  7. annie

    I am a total klutz too…Dick warns me that I better be careful when I get old. But why start now?
    I grew up w/Carol Burnett and totally loved Harvey Korman. I especially liked it when they cracked each other up in a skit. What great memories.

  8. Miriam

    Wow, you sound so much like me. I don’t burn myself all that often but I also don’t bake much. I have broken bones running into things and falling. I also should never deal in multiple floors. I should live in a ranch style home and go to strip malls instead of two story malls. Elevators, Escalators and Stairs have ALL THREE broken my bones. Play on an escalator at age 6 my sleeve got stuck under the hand rail and I had to pull extremely hard to get unstuck. When I was 30 I put my hand up to keep an elevator door from closing as I went in. It was defective and I was kind of jammed in trying to push the thing. Eventually it let go and my hand broke. A few years later on Mothers day when my daughter was tiny I fell down the stairs (I wasn’t carrying her!) and broke my leg. I did the same thing the next year on Mothers day. AGGG. I finally went to a neurologist because I constantly bang into things that have been in the same place forever. I never trip over recent messes on the floor.

    I am always the one to spill a huge drink at a party or restaurant. A while back when I was at a Friendly’s Restaurant I spilled a HUGE glass of iced tea in my lap. I was unable to speak for a while. Icy liquid slamming into one’s private area renders one speechless. I just gasped for a really long time.

    Anyway, the neuro said I have some things in common with my child who has asperger syndrome and to go home and not worry about it. I don’t get hurt as much now I know there’s a reason. I give myself more time. No broken bones for a good while now.

  9. Claire

    Please be careful! You’ve been hurt enough.

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