I just read an article about our hands, how they are represented in fiction and wider culture and how they might evolve in future given our increased dependence on swiping, double tapping and other touchscreen and computer related actions.
A comparison was made with how our jaw has evolved to incorporate cutlery, though no mention was made of chopsticks.
I’ve been thinking about my hands quite a lot this week, after I took a painful blow to the webbing of my right hand while playing cricket. I was bowling during an unusually tense period of play – shitemongers like me don’t usually bowl when the game is in the balance – and the batsman thwacked the ball high in the air. After several eternities, it headed back down, in the region of long off. I was underneath it. I was ready. I dropped it.
Heading back to field, I realised my hand was covered in blood, so I went off the field in search of non-existent bandages. I watched us lose narrowly, but deservedly. Our fielding had been woeful.
Before my injury, I had done the scoring for the team. There are lots of strange symbols to mark for each ball, and you need to get into a rhythm of checking every section to ensure the numbers make sense, like a complicated board game or simple programming.
Clutching a short stub of a pencil, my hand moved from column to column, entering a squiggle here or a dot there. I sat on a tree trunk, concentrated hard on the game and the umpire’s signals, and didn’t look at my phone for hours.
While I was scoring, we were immortalised my a local painter.
A week on, the gaping hole between my fingers is gradually closing, though at the time of writing it’s still heavily bruised and there remains a notable canyon, like one of the canals of Mars. In times of indecision I find myself staring at it, stretching my bruised fingers, and marvelling at the healing process.