Sunday, April 8, 2012

There will be blood.

There was blood in my apartment yesterday afternoon. Uncle Slappy's blood. And a pretty picture it wasn't.

Here's what happened. Uncle Slappy and I were in the kitchen, fulfilling a request of my daughter for some latkes for lunch.

For those uninitiated in the rites of Jews, it's Passover now and will be for the next week or so. That means, among other things, that Jews can eat nothing that isn't Passover approved. No flour, no leavening. Latkes--potato pancakes made with matzoh meal as an emulsifier, fit the bill. Beyond that, they are delicious and deliciously, gloriously greasy.

Though Uncle Slappy and I are too anti-religious to follow any such strictures--in the words of Uncle Slappy, "a God who cares what you eat, how you dress or how you pray, should have been paying attention during the holocaust," we respect (though we don't understand) those who follow the myriad rules and regulations most religions demand.

In any event, I had bought for Uncle Slappy and Aunt Sylvie a small vegetable grater, slicer and julienne device and we were testing it out on the Idahos. Slappy in his exuberance began slicing a potato without employing the safety device. In just a minute he had removed a cottage-fry-sized slice of his thumb.

There was blood everywhere and an 85 year-old man spurting blood. My wife jumped into action. Sylvie was in full panic, thinking, though it was just the tip of a thumb, that this was the end of Slappy.

My wife brought out bandages.

Slappy, who by now had wrapped his thumb in a couple paper napkins, was possessed by an ethereal calm. "A scratch," he said. "It's just from a bloody part of the body."

"Let's go to the hospital," cried Sylvie.

My wife calmly laid gauze over the wound.

"That gauze," Slappy said looking at vintage Johnson & Johnson packaging "is nearly as old as I am."

My wife--this is her unique and unmatched talent--ignored him completely and continued applying tape to Slappy's thumb.

After about 30 minutes, the blood was staunched. Slappy and I returned to making our latkes.

"I think you lost a pint of blood," Aunt Sylvie said.

Slappy paused for a moment and gave it right back to her, "Can I quart you on that?"

And then, as a coupe de grace he proclaimed, "They're not latkes if they don't have a little blood in them."

He reached for the platter and put three latkes on his plate.

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