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Imperfection is a Virtue

I have one hand – not only one hand or just one hand – the one hand that I was dealt when I arrived on this earthly scene just a few to several decades ago.

And here’s my answer to whether or not I need a hand with that or if you can give me a hand as I am often and kindly asked: No.

Except for the woman in Whole Foods who blithely (and blindly) told me “it helps to use two hands,” as she breezed past while I was wrangling a banana bunch from the useless hook that held it. You, lady, could use a hand with your people skills.

I am also a passionate home cook, which made the prosthesis with a hook that I wore for the first 35 years of my life an extremely useful kitchen hack – stirring pasta in a pot of boiling water, grabbing hot pans out of the oven or hammering a knife into the tough shell of a butternut squash. A person could get used to that. But I shed that prosthesis years ago – mainly because its bulk and straps were really interfering with my fashion game – and promptly discovered a whole new world of possibilities in the kitchen.

Sloughing off a part of myself that had been deemed an essential service from birth led to a lot of lightbulb moments and a better way of doing things. The roundness of my “special hand” (as my son has called it since he was a tot) creates the perfect tool for tossing pizza dough, pressing pie crust, kneading bread. And delicate fruit like figs and tomatoes meets a much better fate as it’s gently held in place rather than crushed between the tongs of that hook before I can even begin to slice it.

And there’s the rub! In these surreal days as we’ve become a nation of home cooks slouching toward the end of this purgatory through a barrage of recipe chainmail, I am much better served marshaling that spirit of discovery I felt in the early days of being semi- handless. Yes, I don’t exactly know what’s next or how I’m going to navigate it. But I’ll work with what I got. Because imperfection is a virtue. How ‘bout I give you a hand with that.

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