Musings of An Old Man

by Brian K. Moore


In the mid 30s I worked for Uncle Fred quite a lot. Uncle Fred manufactured small gas heaters in a small, family operated business located in the basement and garage of his home.

When I say worked that doesn’t mean that I got paid for it. This was mid 30s, deep depression days. I ate at his house and once in a while he would slip me a couple of dollars or even a five.

Because he had a heart problem, I would drive him on trips up the Central Valley to sell the heaters to hardware and furniture stores and the like. He was in his early 60s and I was 16. On these trips we would talk a lot about how things used to be and things that he had done or had seen happen. On one trip he told me that he had seen a guy stick a needle through his hand, in that fleshy place between his thumb and forefinger. The guy told him that the only time it hurt was when the needle went through the skin on either side. That made an impression on me and I decided to try it.

I got a needle from my mother’s sewing kit and sterilized it in the flame of a match, and stuck it in my hand. It hurt, but not very much, but it didn’t go in easy. I had to get a pair of pliers and push it in. I could have ended up breaking the needle off in my hand. But the guy was right. It didn’t hurt until it came out the other side, which it did only after pushing up a big bump of skin and flesh. When I got it pushed out far enough I had to pull it out with the pliers. Needles don’t go through flesh easily.

I doubt if there is a moral to this story, except that now that I have done it the reader doesn’t have to. He can just accept my account of it.