It’s the ‘little things’ that matter, they say

BY RANDALL RIGSBEE, News + Record Staff
Posted 3/8/19

They say it’s the “little things” that matter most.

We all know who “they” are. And we instinctively know what the “little things” they’re referring to are.

And yes, those …

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It’s the ‘little things’ that matter, they say

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They say it’s the “little things” that matter most.

We all know who “they” are. And we instinctively know what the “little things” they’re referring to are.

And yes, those everyday moments to which they refer do, if we allow them, enhance our lives beyond measure, I suppose.

But for the last week or so, the popular phrase — tailor-made for memes and inspirational posters — has taken on new meaning for me.

The little thing that’s captured far too much of my recent attention, given its tiny dimensions, is a miniscule speck of wood.

Such a little thing normally wouldn’t rise to a even a faint ping on my personal radar, but given that this small speck of lumber — aka a splinter — is lodged in the tip of my left middle finger, I’ve taken notice.

Not immediately, mind you.

For a few days, I didn’t know it was there.

I’d been working on a project utilizing reclaimed, splintery wood. But exactly when this small speck penetrated my skin and took residence there, I couldn’t say, though I was vaguely aware for a few days of a slight sensitivity in that particular fingertip.

It was only with incremental awareness that it occurred to me what the source of the nagging soreness was.

Partly, this was because the visible black speck under the skin of my finger was so small. Even with 1.75-power reading glasses (a higher strength I reserve only for the most demanding close-up work), I could barely see it beneath the surface of the tip of the problem digit.

The speck — and the accompanying discomfort — were slight enough, I ignored them.

This isn’t my first experience with splinters and such, and I know from experience that they don’t just go away. In fact, I’ve still got a small pencil tip in me from an incident in 3rd grade, so I know such objects don’t merely dissolve.

But this one seemed so insignificant, I had no trouble pretending it wasn’t there, at least for a few more days.

After a week of typing and other routine activities that put pressure on my fingertips, the soreness intensified and I realized I needed to, as they say, man-up and actually address the problem.

With a pair of tweezers and a sewing needle, I set about to repair myself.

I’ll spare you the details, but after a few minutes of picking and prodding at my increasingly-pained fingertip, I concluded — though I still lacked concrete evidence; i.e. my labors produced no small speck of wood — that the problem had been solved.

But my finger, still mildly throbbing the next day, alerted the rest of me that I was in denial.

A few more days passed before I fully accepted that the first attempt to dislodge the foreign object had been unsuccessful and I once more gathered my simple surgical equipment to take another stab.

This time I was determined to be done with it. Needle and tweezers in my good hand, I dug around the troubled fingertip again, and though once I started digging and doing damage, I still couldn’t see the object that was the source of so much trouble, I dug determinedly, eventually concluding that there was no way the splinter could withstand so much tinkering with a needle. It had to be gone.

But just as with my first effort, a day later my fingertip was still sensitive to the touch and I could still spy a small dark speck under the skin, revealing that though it appeared I’d made progress, drawing the splinter closer to the surface, it continued to be a sore point.

They, who were right about the little things, also say the third time’s the charm.

And I believe them, because when I make my third attempt — probably tonight — to remove this problematic little thing from my finger, I won’t quit until I know the job is really done and this petite, pointed sliver of wood that has nagged me for the last couple of weeks truly is gone for good.


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