Four weeks into the term and it’s time to introduce the band saw. I do a demo, explain what to watch for, a little written quiz, and then one on one they demonstrate their proficiency. It’s important for them to get it. They can tell from my attitude that this is serious stuff and some of their bravado lessens.
A single incident and my teaching career could be over. Mess up here and I have to live with the fact that a kid in my care got scarred for the rest of their life.
And I don’t know if I can do that.
Ten minutes later young Kevin comes running up, all wild-eyed as he clutches his hand to his chest.
“Mr. B., Mr. B., look what I done,” he says thrusting forward his hand.
Bright red, arterial red, everywhere. It looks like he has gone about an inch into the end of his thumb. And so quickly, too.
Damn. Have to figure out what happened later, right now, just act. Elevate the hand, compression bandage, no time to look too closely, just get him sitting down before he faints, send a runner to the office for help, try to calm the other students.
The vice principal comes in, a no nonsense women used to taking charge in any situation. One baleful look from her and the students quickly retake their seats. Young Kevin looking a little strange as she starts to unwrap the gauze for just a wee peek. Not like he’s going to faint or anything, but just kind of off somehow.
“Can you come over here,” she says waving me over for a look.
It turns out that young Kevin, the little devil, was born with a bifurcated thumb.
Somehow he has managed to keep this a secret up until now. And, what with the aid of some ketchup packets scoffed from the cafeteria, has now played the ultimate trick on his favorite shop teacher.
Cancel the ambulance, try to regain some measure of order and get the kids back on task until mercifully the bell finally rings bringing the period to a close.
And as for Maiuran, well I believe in early Salem they used to stone such individuals, believing them to be from Satan.
Sometimes the old ways really are the best.