I should have been a concert pianist, or perhaps played basketball, because I have long fingers and hands as large as many men. Sadly, I possessed none of the additional brain mapping for hand-eye coordination or musical skills, nor the discipline to practice. Julliard and the NBA never suffered my auditions.
Oddly, as I grew up, my big hands and feet were the least of my reasons to be self-conscious. The long list that took precedence ranged from thin, limp hair that refused to hold a decent flip, to a dreadfully boyish figure. I’ll spare you the full list. Eventually, though, I noticed that my hands were not only large. They also possessed veins like a power lifter. I got a fair number of good things from the spin of my parents’ gene pools, but at first blush, having large, protruding veins didn’t seem all that swell. Let’s just say I never finished that application to be a hand model.
Fortune, however, smiled in the form of a man who was willing to marry me in spite of my goofy veins. In fact, I am just a wee bit suspicious that my big veins may have actually been a plus in my husband’s scientist eyes. That’s because he has horrible, skinny, flabby, slippery, impossible-to-get-a-needle-into veins. And just to make things worse, he is O negative. Everyone wants his blood, but any time they try, his entire arm bruises.
For me, giving blood as an adult was like winning a beauty pageant. Those fabulous, ropy veins that bedeck my hands and arms suddenly became a marvelous thing to behold. That is, if you are a nurse looking to plant a large needle into them. Those who draw blood for a living unfailingly burst into an ear-to-ear grin when I lay my arm on the table. “Now that’s the kind of veins I love to see,” said one. “Wow. This will be easy,” another quipped. I blushed demurely, as if they had complimented me on my adorable, little nose or lovely, thick hair.
And to sweeten the pot, I am A negative. It’s not O, but it still puts me right up on the most-wanted list. I do occasionally long for the days in my 20s when I didn’t weigh enough to give blood. That is not a problem now.
My husband’s best effort at providing his children with great veins only scored 50 percent. Our daughter’s are just like his, as is her loathing of needles. My son hit the jackpot with my veins plus Dad’s blood type. The blood mobile nurses know him by his first name. I suspect he gets an extra doughnut.
Pair my above-average veins with my lily-white skin and I become the blood-drawer’s dream. Like MapQuest in high def. You want blood. Here’s the spot. You can’t miss.
I want you all to remember that and appreciate it the next time you see my legs in a pair of shorts.
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who clots well, too. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.