Cut It Off
The room was quiet as a classroom can be on a Wednesday afternoon. The rustle of papers shuffling, feet tapping, and deep sighing were the only noises heard over the hum of the air conditioner and the low murmur of voices giving book reports. Book reports were given every Wednesday afternoon in our sixth grade class. Nobody ever paid any attention to the person giving the report.
I was just as bored, sleepy and restless as the other students seemed to be. I was gazing out of the window while playing with my clipboard. My clipboard was mad of dark brown, pressed wood. It had a large silver clip on the top with a hole designed to hang the board on the wall. I was pushing and pulling my left index finger in and out of the hole. Eventually, my finger got stuck. I could not turn my finger in any direction. I sat on my clipboard and tried to pull my finger loose, twisting and tugging so long my finger swelled up almost twice as big as it usually was. I was getting desperate. Frantically tugging and pulling on my finger to release it from the hole. My finger had to come out, it was almost my turn to give a book report.
After a while, I heard my name called. I knew it was my turn to go to the front of the class and give my report. I clipped my report onto my board and walked to the front of the classroom. Mrs. McSpadden, my teacher, asked me to please put my clipboard down. Bursting into tears, I sobbed I could not put the clipboard down because it was stuck to my finger. Now, I expected her to laugh or scold me for fooling around and getting my finger stuck. After all, I was a sixth-grader and should have known better than to pull such a stunt. But no, she took me into the restroom, rubbed soap all over my finger to see it she could pull it loose, all the while trying to comfort me. I finally calmed down although my finger would not move. I was beginning to think I would have to wear the clipboard forever. Mrs. McSpadden sent a child to the office to get the maintenance man to come and look at my finger.
When Mr. Foley, the school’s janitor, arrived he took one look at my finger and said, “We’ll have to cut it off.” The horror, the gut-rending terror, the agony I felt as I hear three words echo on and on in my mind: “cut it off”; “cut it off”. I could not think coherently. Tearing my hand and clipboard out of Mr. Foley’s grasp, I clutched them to my body. I heard, as if far away, a voice screaming, “No, no! You can’t cut it off!”
Somewhere through the years, I’ve lost the clipboard; but, I still have my finger. Alos, I’ll never forget those feelings of extreme terror and agony I felt as I heard the words, “cut it off”.