Wednesday, September 08, 2010

because I'm right, that's why



Ever since the dawn of time, I have had a problem with how Joe slices his bagels. See, quick poll: what would you say is the safest way to slice a bagel? Probably to lay the bagel down flat and move the knife horizontally through it while stabilizing it from the top with the flat of your palm, right? Or if you have a sturdy enough bagel, maybe prop it up on its side and slice straight down towards the cutting board. Or else get one of those crazy bagel cutters that Sky Mall keeps telling you to buy.




What's the wrong way to slice a bagel? I HAVE OPINIONS. One wrong way, one dangerous way, in my opinion, is the way Joe does it, which is to hold the bagel in his hand, with his fingers wrapped around each side like a taco shell, while sawing the knife directly into his palm.





My argument is that regardless, he should probably be more careful with how he wields a knife. But especially as a plastic surgeon, whose very livelihood is dependent on the precise control of his hands, he should damn well be wearing chain mail if he's even thinking about sawing a blade directly into his palm, or better yet, slice the bagel like a safe human being. Joe, on the other hand seems to think that intention is the key to causality and that bagel knife misfire is outside of the range of possible outcomes, because what is he, and idiot? I counter that, idiots or not, most people who cut themselves probably did not intend to do so, and that bagel-related lacerations are probably the scourge of the ER and likely one of the most common kitchen injuries. To which he responded--what is that thing that kids do, where they put their fingers in their ears and start singing loudly so that they don't have to hear you? That.

Anyway, feel free to weigh in on this debate, which while it has been raging in our household for years, though it has unfortunately had zero effect on how Joe chooses to slice his bagels. Maybe a little tour of the ER on a Sunday morning would have more impact. Or a quick tour of his disability insurance premium rates.

53 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:50 AM

    I have a friend who, in college, had to be taken to the ER for just this sort of injury! (He's a cardiologist now, btw.)

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    1. Anonymous1:16 PM

      I designed and hand make an oak bagel cutter.....if you want to see it, type in TOM'S BAGEL PROP on google

      Delete
  2. Anonymous9:54 AM

    You're totally right, Michelle. Just ask Google.

    "A friend who worked in a busy New York City Emergency Room told me that the Number One injury on Saturday and Sunday mornings is “Bagel Cut.” I’m sure there’s a fancy medical term for it but it’s a lateral laceration across the palm of the hand. OUCH! My friend said it’s so frequent that there’s even an insurance code number for it."

    (http://hubpages.com/hub/Store-Thaw-Slice-Bagel-Safely)

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  3. I would totally buy one of those crazy bagel cutters if I were you. Or pre-slice the bagels when you buy them.
    I've never cut myself on a bagel but I've had my share of kitchen-related injuries, and it is not hard to slip with a knife.

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    1. Anonymous1:18 PM

      I designed and hand make an solid oak cutter.....if you want to see it type in TOM'S BAGEL PROP on google

      Delete
  4. Allison10:18 AM

    Actually, my mother cut her thumb and severed the flexor tendon cutting a bagel exactly that way. She had to have surgery to reconstruct the tendon and still only has limited flexion of the distal phalanx. We bought her one of the fancy bagel cutters after that.

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  5. I personally cut my bagels the way Joe does. Every time I do it I dothink it is dangerous I've just never been able to master bagel cutting any other way.

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  6. As someone who used to think like Joe, I can strongly attest to the use of a "bagel cutter"...after I practically took my thumb off and ended up in the emergency room.

    As college senior I was cutting a still partly frozen bagel. I pushed hard to get through the last part and was suddenly pouring blood everywhere. My roomate had to drive me to the emergency room and I have a nice scar across my hand as proof...

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  7. Joe is just being foolish. You are 100% right.

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  8. I have one of those bagel slicer things, works great!

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  9. Anonymous11:12 AM

    I used to work in a bagel shop. The very first thing they told us was NEVER CUT THE GODDAMN BAGEL IN YOUR HAND, because IT'S INCREDIBLY STUPID. The proper way to cut a bagel is to lay it on the board flat, hold it down with your palm (fingers lifted out of harm's way), and start slicing. Then, if you wish, you may turn it onto its side and finish slicing down toward the board. That's all I have to say.

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  10. You are so very right! Your hubby should bow to your awesome knowledge in this case while he can. Get a bagel slicer. For the love!!!

    Reading his technique was bad enough but I can't tell you how badly I cringed when I read the surgeon bit. Jeezus, man. Think of the children. In this case, children=your nerves, tendons and phalanges!

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  11. Anonymous11:44 AM

    Agree with the posts that say to lay bagel flat, secure with flat palm and slice parallel to palm and counter. Seriously, it's good kitchen safety, like making sure pot handles aren't hanging off the counter or making sure everyone knows the oven door is open. It's even more surprising that your surgeon husband does it, I mean would he leave a sharp on his field, hand the tech a needle whose point wasn't safely tucked into the driver? Didn't think so...plus he should be setting a good example for the kiddies...plus if he ever did get into an accident, it's such a stupid way to lose your livelihood, better make sure he knows of a good back-up teaching job...(Nothing against teachers, one of the best teachers I ever had in med school was a surgeon with a really bad intention tremor, he let residents do everything up until the end, when he would let med students close...)

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  12. Vivren11:46 AM

    No one does the insert through and then rotate to cut all the way around method?

    Also, yes. That is an idiotic way of cutting a bagel but the only way to get Joe to realize is this possibly only after he cuts his hand. I say stock the kitchen with hard bagels and sharp knives.

    My college dining room had those bagel cutters. They work really well, provided you don't have too-soft bagels.

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  13. Joe is correct. You should not "push" a knife through a bagel. You should slowly pull a serrated blade horizontally to the direction you are cutting. People who use their own muscle strength to cut 1) don't know how to use knives, 2) likely don't keep their knives sharp and 3) are the ones that cut themselves.

    I wouldn't trust a plastic surgeon whose hands weren't good enough to cut a bagel without cutting himself.

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  14. This is not about motor skill, which Joe obviously has is spades, this is about minimizing hazard. Accidents happen to the best of us, but they happen less if we avoid dangerous situations. My powers of ambulation and balance are pretty well-honed, but I still don't run with scissors.

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  15. Anonymous12:47 PM

    Ah, the "New York bagel injury" as I so fondly know it. Have sewn up a few. Well, I've sewn up the ones I didn't have to call hand surgery to come in and fix the tendon on. So, yeah, it's dangerous to slice bagels that way. It's a risk that I (as a lowly ER doc) won't take.

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  16. I used to work in a bagel shop. That was the first thing they taught us, similar to PP...

    Although then I blew off the advice a few years later, and guess what I did? Yes, cut myself.

    It only takes once...it HURT. And bled like crazy.

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  17. I cut my bagels the way Joe does. And now you've convinced me I should master a new way.

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  18. When running with scissors, hold the handle in your palm and the blades running up your forearm. It is about motor skill and knowledge how to correctly do things. Did your dad teach you guys nothing? When is the last time anyone saying they've cut themselves sharpened their knives?

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  19. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Getting a bagel slicer would end the debate...

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  20. Sarah5:12 PM

    I could not even look at the video. Oh! Of course you are right.
    However, last year I had an illness that affected my coordination for several months. I found it nearly impossible to chop or slice anything. My brother bought me kevlar gloves, but urged me not to put them to too severe a test. Still, it would be better than nothing.

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  21. I vote for bagel slicer...cheaper than the disability premiums, for sure.

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  22. I cut my bagels the way Joe does. But I started wearing an oven mitt in the bagel holding hand after I cut my thumb pretty badly.

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  23. Anonymous8:36 PM

    Joe may think that he has the bagel cutting under control, but can he guarantee that Cal/Mack/Cooper won't run into him at just the wrong moment? I don't know; it seems foolish of him to take such a risk with his main professional tool when the tradeoff (cutting a bagel differently) is so small.

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  24. Anonymous8:37 PM

    Have you considered that Joe is just biding his time until he actually does slice through his own hand? - and then you'll have to support him - Maybe he really just wants to be a trophy husband. Does he like Pilates and Nordstrom? - He'll need to keep his bodacious bod in shape and in the latest fashions to maintain trophy status. You'll need to establish a relationship with a good jeweler. You're from NYC, so you must know about 47th St.

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  25. Anonymous9:34 PM

    mimi says, "joe, don't be a dumbass."

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  26. Anonymous8:55 AM

    The bagel store here will slice all the bagels for free using a machine, so no one risks getting hurt.

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  27. Anonymous9:18 AM

    Joe-do you realize the intensity of the "i told you so" phase of this debate will last? Admit the error of your ways and man up already.
    Misha
    who drove a utility knife through her palm a year ago. It took MONTHS to heal.

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  28. Anonymous9:41 AM

    You are right Michelle.
    The only advantage to doing it Joe's way is that when you cut your hand, you are reminded that patients with hand lacerations can really be in a lot of pain. I learned this the hard way. Tell him to reform or let you cut his bagel.

    Can you even get a good bagel in Atlanta?

    another NY expat doc

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  29. I'm guessing that Joe is left handed. Cutting like that is a very left handed thing to do. So is using 2 feet to drive. Both of which are dangerous.

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  31. Stephan3:28 PM

    i cut bagels open just like Joe does
    haven't cut myself yet *fingers crossed*

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  32. Get the bagel cutter; it is pretty good. Maybe when Joe uses it and realizes it is faster to use the device than to meticulously do so with his own method, he would switch over naturally.

    The cafe i used to work at, bought the bagel cutter since two of the cafe staff cut themselves. For a cafe that sells a lot of bagels, the bagel cutter certainly sped things up.

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  33. Of course Joe is wrong. Joe, admit it. Get it over with.

    I agree, however, that the real question here is Can you get a decent bagel in Atlanta? You certainly can't in Portland, Ore. (When we decided to move here my mother's first question was "Do they get the NY Times out there? It's not quite the stockade she envisioned but while objects calling themselves bagels are to be found, they are not "decent."

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  34. Anonymous10:01 PM

    So what will he say when the day comes when he accidentally slices into his hand? And how soon after do you chime in with the inevitable, "I told you so."

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  35. I think that this is a clear case of a surgeon's perceived infallibility versus an anesthesiologist's prepare-for-the-worst-to-prevent-it-from-happening mentality.

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  36. The bagel slicer on the picture looks handy. Seems reasonable if it saves some ER visits.

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  37. Anonymous9:09 AM

    Michelle,
    Thought you might like this: (Google it to get link.)

    Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943 – Plog Photo Blog

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  38. My lovely SIL is an emergency room nurse and she told me this is the number one wound they see in the ER between the hours of 5 am and 9 am during the work week. People are cutting their bagels like Joe and inevitably end up cutting into their palms.

    I have to say I am guilty of it, but I have taught my kids how to slice them your way - it's a do as I say, not as I do kind of thing. :D

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  39. It's not like we are limited to Walmart and Family dollar here in Atlanta. We have many malls and many stores where you can buy quality merchandise. Try Crate and Barrel.

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  40. Anonymous9:50 PM

    I thought Joe was in ophthalmology? Did this change to plastics? If so, when?! I must have missed it!!!

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  41. Anonymous10:04 PM

    I second what anon at 9:50 said. I distinctly remember that Joe was in ophthalmology!!

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  42. Anonymous11:46 PM

    To Emmy: Crate & Barrel sells bagels?

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  43. Anonymous7:12 PM

    To 10:04 .. after I posted my comment (9:50) I did a quick google search and found a blog entry by Michelle from 2006 that Joe was applying for a fellowship in oculoplastics (Ophthalmic plastic surgery). Link: http://theunderweardrawer.blogspot.com/2006_09_01_archive.html

    Whether this ended up being the case I have no idea! I did no further searching!! But I'm guessing it must be true and Michelle just left the plastic surgery bit out when describing Joe to make it easier?

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  44. Anonymous10:52 PM

    as any good boy scout knows always cut away from any body part.

    I think Alton Brown did a segment on cutting bagels, or that may have been avocados.

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  45. Anonymous1:54 PM

    Michelle, this is why women have children - - to use them as pawns in changing husband behavior!

    Let Cal cut bagels!

    Buy one of those Safety Knifes for cutting pumpkins and teach Cal to cut foods. Set him up to cut bagels "just like Daddy" and with any luck, Joe will correct his bagel cutting technique, become a good example, and you will all live happily ever after! . (Or, both of them cut off their hands).

    If you aren't willing to risk that, get a SkyMall slicer, teach Cal how to use it and make a big deal about it is his "Special Job." Cal is the family bagel slicer now and forever more - and Joe's hands are spared!

    Or . . . if you are willing to take bigger risks, give your kid a knife and let him start cutting food. (Safety

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  46. Anonymous8:39 PM

    Maybe he secretly hates his job as a surgeon and is looking for a sneaky way out?

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  47. When we bought life insurance, the salesman asked if we did any skydiving or ice climbing. I think disability insurance salespeople should ask surgeons to show them how they cut bagels before writing their policies.

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  48. Nobody has mentioned my system, which I have used for an eternity without injury.

    I start the cut just as Joe does, but only cut deep enough to seat the knife, maybe 1/3 to 1/2 through. Then I set the bagel on a cutting board on edge and safely finish the job, sawing straight down.

    My mother used to get four slices out of a typical gargantuan bagel with that system. Oh, the lox it could hold! (Seriously I couldn't eat a whole one anyway)

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  49. There are these safety awareness cards that I used to use with dementia patients in occupational therapy. (You show a picture, they identify the risk). One of them is precisely that technique.

    So maybe Joe needs safety cards?:)

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  50. I know a plastic surgeon who was out of work for 6 weeks recovering from a bagel slicing injury. Not good.

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