What makes my thumbs different from yours

When I open my hands palms-down in front of me, I see two little mounds — calluses — in the Vs between thumbs and forefingers. I think of these parts of my hands as oar locks, where the shaft of my kayak paddle — the pole-y part between the flat paddle blades — rotates in my grip. When I travel via canoe, clutching the T-grip of a canoe paddle, the shaft of that paddle builds the calluses, too.

But those hard little bumps at the base of my thumbs, they’ve always been there, and I haven’t always paddled. They may have started with a tennis racket, or a jungle gym bar. In 4th grade at Valentine Elementary School, I wanted to be Nadia Comenici, earning 10, 10, 10 on the unparallel bars. At every 15-minute recess and the hour at lunch, I’d practice over and again my most perfect cherry drop, hanging from the bend in my knees upside-down and swinging, swinging until my chest was parallel with the ground. I’d release the grip with the back of my knees and fly …

Or I’d attempt a dead-man’s drop, where I’d sit upright on top of the bar and drop backwards, gripping with the back of my knees and releasing at just the right moment. Fuh-woooop …

Minutes, hours, days later, when I landed, I’d raise my arms above my head, signaling to the imaginary Polish, Romanian, and French judges. My routine was complete. And … now Amy Sanderson or Kathy Crimmins or Michelle Amestoy could take their turn on the bar, provided they were wearing shorts under their dresses. Girls weren’t allowed to wear shorts or pants at Valentine Elementary.


2 thoughts on “What makes my thumbs different from yours

  1. What makes your thumbs different from mine is really quite simple: YOU ACTUALLY HAVE THEM! LOL

    Hope things are going well for you Ann!

    Thumb-Free and LOVIN’ Life,

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