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Father's Day stories: "My Dad Was a Crazy Man"

In honour of Father's Day, we're sharing some of the best stories about fathers that we received in our BloodLines writing competition. Here, Francois Verpaelst shares the story of a hilarious fashion crisis his father had after a serious accident with a chainsaw.

"My Dad Was a Crazy Man" by Francois Verpaelst

My dad, may he rest in peace, was a crazy man, in the best sense of the word. As just one example, I always like to tell the following story.

It was late summer, and my father was sawing firewood in our back yard. Suddenly, the chainsaw bucked in his hands, and he had to block it before it hit his face. He nearly lost a finger in the process. Hand bloodied, finger hanging on by what appeared to be just some skin and a few tendons, he came into the house to bandage it up. I freaked out when I saw his bloodied hand, but he was as calm as a cucumber.

Most people at this point would get themselves to the emergency ward, but no, not my father. Just as he was about to head out the door with his bandaged hand hanging by his side, he stopped suddenly and declared he looked like a mess. He went into the bathroom and took off his dirty work shirt, and started to wash himself, doing the best he could with his one good hand. Looking in the mirror, he then decided to shave.

After carefully assessing his cleanliness in the mirror once again, he went to his bedroom. A few minutes later he came back out wearing dress slacks, a nice shirt, and fancy shoes. As nice and cleaned up as he looked, he still lamented mildly that he could not put on a tie with just one hand. He was quite the picture, all perfectly dressed up, but with one blood soaked bandaged hand.

Again, most sensible people would get someone to drive them to the hospital, but not my crazy dad. All spiffed up, my father then drove himself, one handed, to the emergency ward. My father told the doctor how he nearly cut off his finger while using his chainsaw. The doctor looked at him and said “Mr. Verpaelst, you were using a chainsaw dressed in your Sunday best clothes?”

His reply was, “Of course not, I washed up and changed before coming here!” I can’t remember what the doctor’s reply was, but I'm sure it included some head shaking. Luckily for my father, the bone in his finger was not damaged. They stitched his finger up, and sent him on his way.

Every time I tell this story, someone always suggests that he might have been in shock at the time he decided to get all cleaned up before heading out to the hospital, but I doubt it. He had already lost his pinky finger on the same hand earlier in his life, and so I really think he was just more concerned about his looks than he was about the condition of his nearly sawed off finger.

To this day, whenever I have to face an emergency situation, I always try to be as calm as my father was on that occasion, minus the changing into fancy clothes part of course!


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