Harmless? I don’t think so!
Hey! You got something in the mail – open the envelope and see who it’s from!
AAARRGH! PAPER CUT!
Paper – it surrounds us every day, lying in wait for its next victim, taunting us with its flimsy appearance, waiting for its chance when our guard is down. And then it strikes!
Memo pads, glossy flyers, magazines, cookbooks – none of us are safe. Heck, even happy-go-lucky comics have been known to harm children. And people wonder why Johnny doesn’t read anymore…
Paper – if only it cut like a knife
So why do these stationery-inflicted slices hurt us so?
As we all know, paper is made from pressed pulp particles. (Say that five times fast!) If looked at up-close, you would see that paper has an irregular, jagged edge that, therefore, leaves behind an irregular, jagged cut, unlike, say, a nice clean nick from a scalpel.
The other problem is that our fingers are loaded with nerve endings, including pain-interpreting nociceptors – handy for tactile exploratory uses but not so much for getting hurt. And because the cuts are shallow, they aren’t quite deep enough for proper clotting to take place, so cuts take longer to mend.
It’s a perfect storm. And it explains why the paper tray in the copier is always empty!
Rock, Paper, Scissors . . . they all suck, but paper is the worst
We all know rocks and scissors are dangerous, but paper? Really?
Ah, there’s the rub. We overlook it, and it makes us pay. So not only is it hazardous, it’s got inferiority issues. Vindictive little bugger.
And don’t downplay the “gateway” effect
Malicious, spiteful and it hangs out with a rough crowd. I’ve already detailed the problems with pencils, and that’s just the beginning. Inevitably, paper use leads to worse things. Heavy-handed staplers, sharply fanged staple removers and don’t get me started on paper shredders—those implements are just tie strangulations waiting to happen!
What to do about paper?
Obviously, the best approach is to avoid it altogether. There are other options – computers, tablets, Etch-a-Sketches. All I’m saying is that it doesn’t have to be this way.
If you must handle the stuff, arm yourself with protective creams, such as Vaseline and beeswax, invest in some nice gloves or those fun little red rubber fingertip things for turning pages.
Prevention is worth a pound of cure. And until scientists come up with one for papercuts, it’s the best we’ve got.
Don’t leaf it to chance – be careful out there!