Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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Joe's Neighborhood

Bad luck as… comedy?


Bad luck is bad luck. True enough. But there are certainly different types of bad luck. There’s the really bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it’s a matter of life or death. Like getting trapped by a falling boulder and having to cut off your arm to survive. Ouch, that’s what happened to motivational speaker Aron Ralston. Or the bad luck of being caught out in a winter storm with no visibility and freezing winds and having to hold onto an ice-covered rope to get from the barn to the house, aka “Little House on the Prairie.” Who wants that? And it is certainly bad luck to stumble upon a bull shark that travels 700 miles up the Mississippi River only to snack on you during Shark Week. That’s such bad luck that it weirdly seems like just desserts — for the shark.  

But then there is the other kind of bad luck that’s just… mildly unlucky.  

The cry comes from upstairs.

“Joe, can you come fast,” my wife said in a high voice, tinged with controlled panic.

I do, and I find my wife with a knitting needle sticking in her butt.

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By the way, my very precise granddaughter informs me that I cannot say the word “butt.”

“Really, Juliette, so what can I say? Derriere? Fanny?”

“No, grandpa, ‘tushy.’ ”

OK, folks, there’s a knitting needle sticking in my wife’s tushy (a very skinny, U.S. size 1 — for you crazy knitters out there).

You are probably not very sympathetic to this scenario. But knitting needles are long and sharp and are essentially a stiletto knife, which is automatically considered a “dangerous weapon” under Iowa Code section 702.7. And there’s a reason for that. 

“Stilettos were developed in late Medieval and Renaissance Italy as anti-armour knives. The slenderness of a stiletto blade focuses the force of the attack into a tiny area, which multiplies its pressure enormously. This means it could pierce plate armour or cut through chain mail rings.”

Yup, a knitting needle is an anti-armour weapon just waiting for an unsuspecting knitter to blindly impale herself or himself.

In fact, a search online revealed how dangerous this dangerous weapon can be. The British Medical Journal reported a fatal brain injury caused by a baby rolling off a changing table onto a knitting needle. ABC News reported a knitting needle piercing a woman’s heart after she tripped on the stairs, And the Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery reported a knitting needle ascended the body of a woman for 33 years after a self-induced abortion. My goodness, who knew? Story after story after story. And I don’t even count all the articles about knitters poking themselves in the thigh. That seems like a prerequisite to even being called a knitter. 

OK, a knitting needle is no joke.

But a knitting needle in your tushy?

In a few days, it will be 43 years since I married my wife. It was a forced marriage, of course. Forced by me. Here’s a surprise for my reader, I am not quite the catch my wife is. Therefore, I had to propose quickly (two weeks after we met) so as to lock down the sale before my wife could reflect on my personality and good looks and her future in-laws. So I tread lightly in the arena of wife humor. But…

… a knitting needle in the tushy? I wanted to take a photo, but my guardian angel cautioned against that clever idea. And I wanted to suggest we call the neighbors and charge admission. I might have done so in the early years of our marriage, but 43 years later? Perhaps too soon. So I bit the inside of my lip and treated the puncture wound, as any good husband would do, and bided my time. Well, I’ve bided long enough.

But now I’m having second thoughts about becoming Mr. Jokester. I remember back in law school an old professor would always ask us students to consider “whose ox is being gored?” In other words, who is really paying the price for what happened. Isn’t the person with the knitting needle in their tushy really the one being gored? How dare I make fun of someone else’s pain? Particularly if that someone is my sweetie?


“Knock, knock. 

Who’s there?


Needle who?

Needle a little more target practice before your next sweater.”

Yup, I crack myself up. 

Joe (formerly married to Theresa) ♦

Joe Weeg spent 31 years bumping around this town as a prosecutor for the Polk County Attorney’s Office. Now retired, he writes about the frequently overlooked people, places and events in Des Moines on his blog:

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