Paper cuts

Shannon Freese

A friend extends a piece of paper to me. It’s a note passed in class (we’re too old-fashioned for texting). As I grab it, the paper slides against my fingertips and slices my finger right open. Paper cut.
At the moment of acquiring any paper cut, the first word out of my mouth is, “%*&#!,” or something of that profane sort.
The initial minutes of a paper cut aren’t very painful, just obnoxious. It seems no matter where I get it, the paper cut wants to bleed for hours. There must be a special artery in my fingers or my blood flow is really good because it just goes on forever like a Michael Bay film. It’s almost as dramatic, too.
The first thing I want to do is put my finger in my mouth, but that’s disgusting. So none of that; instead, holding a tissue against my finger is the better option. And after the cows come home, it’ll stop bleeding and I’ll toss the tissue and continue with my day.
But that’s when the real trouble starts.
The worst thing about a paper cut is the weeks after first acquiring it. The initial problem that comes along is the Band-Aid question. A paper cut is almost too small to waste a Band-Aid on, especially considering how bothersome a Band-Aid on a finger can be. It gets in the way when I’m writing, picking things up and texting. All of these things are vital to get me through my day unharmed and sane.
Then again, if I don’t put a Band-Aid on it, everything I touch will sting. Anything with salt on it will burn. Anything with alcohol in it (like Germ-X, OK?) will send my paper cut into boiling fury. Warm water even angers my paper cut. There’s also the extremely painful moment when my pencil or pen tugs at my paper cut and pulls the flap part of it back, making it more of a gash than a paper cut.
Once the skin by the cut is loosened, it’s all downhill from there. It’ll snag like a cheese grater, and I’ll be in pain all day.
The only thing worse than a paper cut is a paper cut on the crease of my knuckle. It hurts when I hold things, when I reach for things, when I move. … Basically all the time. It’s unlike any pain on this earth. My hell would be having a paper cut that doesn’t heal while being in a room full of snakes, but I’ll discuss the snakes another day.
Paper cuts take forever to heal. I’ve seen slugs run the New York City marathon faster than some of my paper cuts have healed. The only good thing about a paper cut is the miraculous moment when I realize that it’s gone. After weeks of battling with pencils, pens and potato chips, suddenly my paper cut disappears. I don’t remember its improvement or recovery. It’s gone, just like that. It’s as if some paper cut god has flown down to my house in the night and taken away my grievances. But paper cuts still stink.
Today, I hate paper cuts.