Bloody knuckles and muddy hands: Signs that say you did something

It takes a little effort and a few scrapes to earn this vista, but it's worth it.

Any time I’ve attempted to do any work on my cars, the one things that invariably happens is my knuckles get a little scuffed up. I’ve taken that as a sign that you really haven’t done anything under the hood unless you’ve drawn a little blood.

But if your repairs are a success, the DYI gratification outweighs the irritation of those little cuts and scrapes.

You got your hands dirty, even a little bloody, but you got the job done.

Similar experiences come from other aspects of life. If your workout doesn’t cause some soreness, you probably wasted your time. You needed to push harder to make it worth your while.

Same goes for your runs and rides. I believe any run is a good one, but to get those wonderful post-run endorphins, you have to gut it out when your body tells you to slow down and walk.

This past weekend, I finally got some outdoors time in. I mean, real outdoors time. Hiking, bushwhacking, scrambling over and under rocks and trees, climbing steep faces, and getting pretty muddy in the process. Technically there was a trail here and there, but it felt off-trail much of the way.

The weather was great — cool, overcast, windy and a little damp. Very moody. Overall, the hours spent exploring a new part of the Wichita Mountains was, for me, therapeutic.

The weathered granite is pretty rough on your hands, so today mine are pretty chewed up. I noticed a few cuts and scrapes on my arms. Upon taking off my sweat-soaked shirt I noticed lots of similar cuts all over my shoulders, sides and back.  And lest I forget, there was plenty of leg soreness (particularly in the calves) to go around.

It would be silly to call them “war wounds” for obvious reasons. But I can liken them to the soreness felt the day after a tough session at the gym or the blessedly relaxing fatigue after a long run. Those aches and pains let you know you’re alive.

In fact, they’re a lot like the after-effects of spending time under the hood, cussing those tight spaces and stubborn nuts that end up being real knuckle-busters to us wanna-be shade-tree mechanics. When the car or truck roars to life and everything works as it should, it’s pretty satisfying.

So I went outside and got myself some bloody knuckles.

No complaining here.

Just a little hard-earned satisfaction.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088

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2 thoughts on “Bloody knuckles and muddy hands: Signs that say you did something

  1. Great post! Long story made short…the Wifey and I went to Red Rocks to do some mtb during our honeymoon. She bit the dust hard and literally almost fell off a mountain. Bike scrapped up, legs, arm you know the deal. That was almost 10 years ago and every time we go for a ride now there is the scar on her knee and forearm to remind us how much fun we had.
    Moments made like these, outdoors with the family, really do last a lifetime!

    • Dude, I totally agree. With the exception of the scarring on my left lung from altitude-induced pneumonia in 2008, I wear each scar proudly not because of something I accomplished, but rather as a reminder of the good times I had. A shiny bike, unscratched helmet, sparkling pro and unblemished boots are a sign of things not used. The same can be said of ourselves. I don’t mind looking a little weathered or feeling a little sore!

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