Goofy Dad Stories (3) – The Finger in the Door

Goofy Dad Stories (3) – The Finger in the Door

Goofy Dad Stories (3) – The Finger in the Door

A few years ago at a little K-8 school in Arlington, Virginia, called Rivendell School, I was performing my usual role at 3:00 p.m. I was safely conducting students into waiting cars and the welcoming embraces of expectant parents and drivers. I had fully realized by this time, of course, that sometimes parents could be a little distracted during this carpool process.

As I guided a sweet little cherub into her mini-van this particular day, a Friday, I believe, I started to close the sliding side door, when this charming young lady of eight decided she wanted to jolly well close it herself. Unfortunately, she forgot to mention this flash of insight to the current doorkeeper… me. I was leaning with my right hand at this time in a very strategic place near the door opening, so that I could have the body balance needed to close the door authoritatively with my left hand. That is correct, my friends, my right hand was perched at the one vulnerable spot, where the door indeed closes.

Well now, this was unexpected, I thought, as she proceeded to close the door shut on my right forefinger. My trusting if not naïve belief at that moment was that certainly this situation will be noticed and remedied post haste. Au contraire. The elegant and unaware mom in the driver’s seat spoke those words that chill me to the marrow to this day, “Don’t forget to lock the door, honey.” To which the obedient child replied, “Sure, mom.”

Sure enough, I heard the familiar sound of lock engagement… on my finger. Well, I continue to surmise, I’m sure this music-loving, well-meaning mother will certainly notice that someone is attached to the outside of the car. In a clear rebuke to my logic, she proceeded to locate her favorite radio station while instructing her darling passengers to buckle up. She then confidently shifted into Drive and carefully merged with the traffic on a rather busy side street. Obviously, I have very little choice here. So I merged as well, accompanying the car down the road, my finger on the inside of the car, and rest of me on the outside, running and knocking on the window and begging to seen, if not heard. Wrong again.

She picked up speed and headed toward Glebe Road, which is one of the busiest roads in the Western Hemisphere. So, I naturally ran a little faster, actually quite a bit faster, sideways, as she continued picking speed. I furiously knocked on the door, the window, the luggage rack, anything that might capture her attention. Evidently all the sweet angels buckled in safely were already digging into their homework. I guess the mom’s favorite song was on and didn’t want to be disturbed as well.

Finally, finally, she turned her head, wondering what all the commotion was about. Gee, she’s thinking, I wonder if I have a flat? No, I suggest, you don’t, but I do… a flat finger. As we locked eyes, her look of horror helped me a little bit, but not much. She quickly stopped the car near the corner of Glebe Road, unlocked the door, and slid it open. My L-shaped finger joined the rest of my body, and I was released from the menacing jaws of the Caravan.

At that time, catching my breath because of the 100-yard sprint, I looked back, way back, to the student waiting area. And I’m glad to report that I inspired more joy and laughter than I ever thought possible. It must have looked pretty funny, and I had to join in the merriment. Don’t worry about me, though. It was only a flesh wound, as they say. The flattened upper case L became a full-bodied lower case l soon enough. Carpool can be dangerous business.