I experienced a fascinating phenomenon yesterday. I’m referring to the impact of a momentary lapse of judgment with respect to something that I never do and suddenly, out of the blue, I find myself inexplicably doing for the first time and with dire consequences. Let me explain.

We love avocados and use them regularly. I have cleaned perhaps a few hundred avocados in my cooking lifetime.  My standard protocol, from which I never deviate is pretty simple: Cut avocado in two, place the half with the pit on the counter, and quickly plunge the pointy tip of a knife into the pit, then use the knife to gently pry the pit from the avocado without damaging the flesh. Let me repeat, I have done this hundreds of times.

Yesterday, while making lunch, I cut the avocado as usual down the centreline, and THEN, for reasons beyond my ability to fathom, I cupped the avocado in my palm and attempted to plunge the knife tip into the pit as usual. The knife slipped on the slimy surface of the pit and proceded to plunge through the avocado and deep into my palm, creating a half-inch gash and nicking an artery, which proceded to turn my kitchen sink and walls into Dexter’s killing room, or a scene from CSI. Blood splatter everywhere, gushing with each heartbeat (that’s how you know it’s an artery).

Luckily, my wife was still home and, with a dishtowel pressed against the palm to stem the blood flow, she drove me to the ER at the Lakeshore General. Great service. Triaged within 5 minutes, and a doctor sewing me up within an hour. Tetanus shot, bandaging, and out the door and home within 2 hours of the accident.

Of course, the whole experience begs the question: Why would I deviate from a well-practiced and safe protocol, to one that offered no advantage in the first place and carried much more risk? It is convenient to just say, “getting older”, but I’m not sure that at 59 that’s the answer.