Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.



Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:28 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I have the broad hands of a German peasant farmer.
My hands are covered in the little scars of a careless life. Tiny chemical burns from High School chem lab. Fine knife scars from Boy Scout camp. Calluses on the knuckles from time spent with a heavy bag and doing pushups on clenched fists. Deeper scars from doing my own, inexpert, home repairs. Gouges from sharp metal inside computer cases.
My hands are strong enough to hold gallons of paint like a weekend athelete palms a basketball. Usually, my nails are uneven and bitten, the cuticles worried raw through absent-minded bad habits. I have old, smooth calluses on my palms, from my attempts at lifting weights, that have softened with time. But, for all that, I think they’re gentle hands.
They’re not the delicate hands of an artist. My fingers are short and broad. Not meant for etherial works of beauty, but the hard labor of the field. And, I have used these miracles of physiology hard. Time spent with nails and concrete and paint and glass. These hands of mine have tightened pipes and fittings and bolts that others would have needed a wrench to secure. Strong hands that have hurt people, both intentionally and accidentally. Never used like my father or grandfather or great-grandfather, all of who worked, at one time or another, in hard manual labor, but, still, hands that find a way when they have no choice.
I’m lucky, really, to have hands like that, but, truth be told, I always wanted those beautiful, delicate hands of an artist. Deft hands that pour magic out through a pen or pencil or brush. Hands that create beautiful art, art that makes the breath catch in your throat. I tell myself that they’re good hands. That gentle strength is good enough. That someone, someday, will hold those hands and smile. That those soft, strong hands will hold someone and make her feel safe and secure, even if only for a moment in a darkened theater while a slasher stalks the screen. I pray that those broad hands will one day hold a small child and make her feel safe, too. That those hands traced with tiny, careless scars will be daddy’s hands. Will be the safe passage from one side of the street to the other.
Hands are miracles made flesh. All the little bones and tight tendons and strong muscle that let us touch our world. That let us push and pull and poke and prod our world into the shape we make it. Hands can hold a weapon or a pen and change the world forever. They can show an opponent how we hate. Or a loved one how we care.
But, tonight, I’ll fold my hands and thank God for my miracles, both large and small. And, I’ll pray that He can use those hands to work a little more and, maybe, work a miracle or two yet.


  1. I don’t think your physiology determines whether or not you can create art. If that were true, many Christmas cards (with artwork created by disabled persons) would never be sent. To me, the limitations of the physical world in general and our bodies in particular serve as a foundation to our art; boundaries which must be acknoledged and worked within, but often challenged.

    I may never play guitar like Brian May, whose spider-like fingers quickly creep over the neck hunting for the next chord, but the strenght of my broad, short-fingered paws allow me to create some killer sustain.

    There was a point in reading this post, where I felt as if I were reading a poem. The flow of words is just right in places. Seems like your farmer’s fingers seem to be creating art by tapping on the little keys connected to your PC. You could do that with your nose, if necessary.

    Comment by PM — 1/18/2006 @ 7:59 am

  2. And, to think, I wasn’t even drinking last night, just a bit morose at having possibly hurt someone’s feelings or made them extremely uncomfortable. Ah, well, I’m glad you found my writing a bit lyrical. Even an old dog like me can learn new tricks.

    Comment by the Network Geek — 1/18/2006 @ 9:23 am

  3. You really are a terrific writer and from what I can gather, writing is an art form. And, perhaps more importantly, the fact that you can write like this without a drink on the side amazes me even further.

    Comment by Deirdre — 1/18/2006 @ 1:36 pm

  4. Aw, well, thank you. I wasn’t fishing for compliments, really. I think of myself as a work-a-day writer more than an artist. I’m nothing like James Joyce or, even, Margaret Atwood. At best, a low-rent imitator of my betters.
    If it makes you feel any better, I’d just finished a clove cigarette. (Which I’ll be giving up again, Real Soon Now.)

    Comment by the Network Geek — 1/18/2006 @ 1:47 pm

  5. You see, that’s just how clever you are –to have used an Irish writer and a Canadian one in a reply to me… volumes I tell you, volumes.

    Comment by Deirdre — 1/18/2006 @ 1:53 pm

  6. Art doesn’t come from the hands, but from your soul. In past blogs you accused yourself of having character flaws, none of which are obvious to me. You have had a life that has left you scarred and callused, yet hopeful and caring, just like your big, beautiful, comforting hands. Don’t ever doubt how valid and valued you really are, just as you are.

    Comment by Cheri — 1/18/2006 @ 7:48 pm

  7. Thank you.
    Deirdre, you make me feel far more clever than I think I really am. I knew that about those two authors, but didn’t even think of that when I gave them as examples. Subconscious at work, I guess.
    Cheri, I honestly don’t feel very valued most of the time, but I think that’s more about me than anything else. There is much about my past that simply won’t make it into this blog, for one reason or another, that would, I think, demonstrate quite easily how deeply flawed I am and have been. But, I also think that everyone is flawed. It’s just that I’m more aware of mine and less forgiving of mine than I am of other people. But, these comments go a long way toward helping me with that, so, again, thank you.

    Comment by the Network Geek — 1/18/2006 @ 9:51 pm

  8. Wow, I love this post. It is so thoughtful and just great writing. I guess hands can tell volumes about a person described by a creative writter.

    Comment by Forever Confused — 1/25/2006 @ 12:19 am

  9. Well, thank you. I’m not sure it’s a very accurate picture, but it is how I see myself, as expressed through my hands.

    Comment by the Network Geek — 1/25/2006 @ 6:06 am

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