The Shiny Can
A shiny thing on top of the garbage - - must have it! Reach to pick it up - - sudden pain! Hand red and hurting! Scream, cry! Find mother! Carried to bus stop. Bus ride. Strange place. Man does something with bent pin.
This is the stream of memories of an incident from early in my third year of life. My father came home for lunch, opened a can of sardines, and left the empty can in a garbage bag in plain sight. It was the kind of can that had a metal tab that you would insert into a slotted key. Then you would wind the key, which would exert enough pull on the can’s top to tear it off, and it would end up at one end of the can, wound around the key.
The can was bright and shiny, and I reached my right hand inside it, palm up, to get my fingers under the wound-up top. I didn’t notice that as I moved my hand towards that goal I was cutting it on the can’s recently-created sharp edge. Suddenly I experienced something I couldn’t remember ever having before - - sharp pain and bleeding. I was clueless about what to do, but I did what any two-year-old would do. I screamed and cried as loud as I could. I’m sure my mother must have wrapped something around my wrist. I vaguely recall her carrying me to the bus stop, although I was old enough to walk. I have a faint memory of a man (a doctor) using something like a bent pin on the place where I’d been cut. If I look very hard I can still see traces of the old injury nearly 75 years later.