Never Argue With A Bacon Slicer

By Posted on 47 Comments 4 min read

After my school days were over, I hadn’t a clue as to what I wanted to do or be. I doubt I could spell the word ambition in those days.

I’m A Butcher

My first port of call on the many rungs of the career ladder took me to our local butchers. Bernard the butcher had employed me as a Saturday boy, so he knew me and what a strange lad I was in those days. Looking back, I was lucky to have a mentor like Bernard. He was well respected in the local community both professionally and as a supportive member. I was barely 16 and barely knew how to comb my hair. The next 18 months or so was a huge learning curve not only in butchery, but in my life too.

Sausage Maker King

One day making sausage, the next dressing game. They were long hours too, sometimes starting at 4:00 am on a Monday morning to go to the meat market in Birmingham. I always had Wednesday afternoon off and Sunday, but the rest of the time was spent mostly learning and earning from Bernard. To be honest, I enjoyed it, serving customers, chopping meat and the daily cleaning down of everything from top to bottom and spreading sawdust on the floor.

The Demon Bacon Slicer

I got so good I was allowed to use the bacon slicer, that red looking lethal machine that usually lurks in the corner at the back of a butchers shop. One Monday morning, still obviously tired from the early start to the meat market, I put a roll of bacon on the slicer and started slicing away. I think I must have done half a dozen slices when whoops, I sliced the top of my thumb clean off. Strangely, it didn’t hurt, well, not when I did it, but, oh boy, for weeks after it felt like someone was hitting my thumb constantly with a hammer!

A&E or ER

Of course, I had to dash off to my local A & E (ER) hospital to have it sorted and a Tetanus jab. It turned into a very long day. One thing I remember from the moment of the accident was being told to keep my thumb upright. It was as though I was permanently giving everyone I met the ‘thumbs up.’ It started with Bernard, ‘Keep your thumb in the air’ to the nurses and doctors at the hospital, ‘..hold that thumb upright’, ‘keep it up!’ After what seemed like hours of my thumb being looked at by various medics it was decided to dress it in bandages and to come back the following week to see how things are going. Meanwhile, bend over and the nurse will give you a jab of Tetanus.

Taxi!

To get home from the hospital, I didn’t have my own transport and I was in no fit state to drive anyway. I called a taxi and explained that I was in the hospital and would they mind collecting me to drop me off at my parent’s home. The lady asked if I would make my way to the reception and they would pick me up outside as soon as possible. It seemed like a marathon to find the reception area and when I got by the doors there was a wheelchair, I suppose for any patients that needed one.

Sleep

It was too good an opportunity to miss, why stand when you can sit in a wheelchair and I’ll always give it up should anyone need it. I remember feeling very tired, probably from being up at 4:00 am together with the adrenalin and everything else that had happened with the bacon slicer, so it was no surprise that before long I was fast asleep. Snoring my head off in the reception area and unwittingly letting my thumb drop down by my side.

Waking Up

The next thing I know is waking from a deep sleep while being wheeled up a steel ramp into the back of an ambulance that taxi’s patients to and from their care home to a hospital. ‘Whoa’, I exclaimed! ‘What’s going on, I’m waiting for a taxi.’ A big burly voice replied, ‘yeah, they all say that you’ll be fine with us Derek.’ Derek? ‘Who’s Derek? My names Trev and I’m waiting for a taxi.’ ‘Ere Sid, this guy reckons he’s not our passenger for the care home, what do you think?’ Sid was the driver and I couldn’t understand him, he was mumbling. I had to wait until we were inside the ambulance when I could actually stand up and remonstrate with these guys that they had the wrong person. Looking through some notes on a clipboard, the one guy uttered something about the other entrance and they’d check there. Meanwhile, I made a sharp exit and went back to the payphone to ask where my taxi was.

Best Sleep Ever

It seems I had been asleep in the wheelchair for about 4 hours. The taxi had been and long gone. I ended up calling my Dad to come and pick me up. At least he’d know who I was if I fell asleep again. It’s a day I’ll never forget. Good job I woke up too as I could have ended up who knows where. I’m pleased to say that my thumb recovered too although it will always be smaller than my other thumb. One benefit is I can push drawing pins into very hardwood using the tip of my thumb and I can’t feel a thing. I’m always in demand at Christmas when those trimmings need hanging.

If you’d like to make your own sausages, look no further than here.

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46 Comments
  • SueW
    May 14, 2021

    My father-in-law owned a butchers shop. I met my husband when we were still in our teens and he worked for his dad.
    Until he passed his driving test he rode a black delivery bike with a huge basket on the front. After passing his test he too went to the meat market at some unearthly early hour.

    I collected him several times from A&E or Casualty as it was known as back then and usually because of stab wounds to his abdomen caused by ‘boning out’.

    He disappointed his father when he chose to go into show business instead of taking over the shop, but at least it was safer! 🙂. By the way I tried a few times to leave a comment, so apologies if this is duplicated.

    • Trev
      May 14, 2021

      Thank you, Sue. I too have many scars from working in the butchers. Everything was so sharp. I remember the black delivery bikes, some would have the butchers name on a panel underneath the crossbar. They certainly worked long hours and must still do although you don’t see as many independent butchers as there were. I don’t know why the comments are playing up, but thank you for letting me know. Thank you also for the comment, Sue. 😊

      • SueW
        May 14, 2021

        I’ve just realised that after rewriting my comment I missed off the first sentence which actually said how much I’d enjoyed reading your post. 🙂

        • Trev
          May 14, 2021

          Thank you, Sue, I appreciate you took the time to go back and say that. 🙂

  • Yetismith
    May 14, 2021

    that’s a riot, trev. I can picture you being carried off to a care home. I think you may have looked a bit out of place. I once spent 5 days in hospital because of a finger. It was so humiliating.Painful too!

    • Trev
      May 14, 2021

      Thank you, Yeti. Yes, the fingers especially around the ends are one of the most sensitive parts of the body. 🙂

  • Don't Lose Hope
    May 14, 2021

    Your posts are so funny! I especially loved this title 🙂

    • luisa zambrotta
      May 14, 2021

      What an adventure! 👍
      You managed to make me laugh even though the fact must not have been very pleasant 😘

      • Trev
        May 14, 2021

        Thank you, Luisa, I’m glad it gave you a laugh. It was worth the pain. Thank you 🙂

    • Trev
      May 14, 2021

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Peter's pondering
    May 14, 2021

    It always fascinated me to see the butcher sharpening his knives prior to cutting up a carcass. It’s a wonder they had any fingers left at all!

    • Trev
      May 14, 2021

      I got quite good at that, sharpening the knives using a steel. Everything in a butchers shop is sharp and unforgiving. Thank you, Peter. 🙂

  • Rosaliene Bacchus
    May 14, 2021

    What an experience! You’re fortunate not to lose your entire thumb.

    • Trev
      May 14, 2021

      Yes, it could have been a lot worse than it was. Thank you, Rosaliene. 🙂

  • jimflanigan
    May 14, 2021

    2 bacon posts in a row. Go for 3!

    • Trev
      May 14, 2021

      I thought exactly the same thing after I published the post, Jim. Thank you 🙂

  • Susan, PiedType
    May 14, 2021

    Ouch. The title warned me what was coming but I kept reading anyway. So glad it wasn’t any worse!

    • Trev
      May 14, 2021

      Thank you, Susan. I was pleased too. 🙂

  • Very engaging story, Trev! My first husband was a butcher in the family grocery store. Glad you survived the bacon slicer without too much damage! Have a great weekend! <3

    • Trev
      May 14, 2021

      Thank you, Cheryl. 😊

  • Herb
    May 14, 2021

    I started out as a “Saturday Boy” (I really like that term and I will steal it as soon as I can) but never had anything so dramatic as cutting off a digit. My first boss was also an important person in our small town and in my life. Thanks for reminding me.

    • Trev
      May 14, 2021

      Thank you, Herb.

  • Dave Kingsbury
    May 14, 2021

    Blimey, Trev, this is quite Sweeney Todd in places! Very amusing although was tempted to hide behind the sofa at times…

    • Trev
      May 14, 2021

      Thank you, Dave. Sorry if I scared you. 🙂

  • Anonymous
    May 15, 2021

    As a woodworker I am proud to still have all ten. But one is just a bit skinnier after an accident with a router. I wince every time I hear this sorts of stories having lost a bit of myself too.

    • Trev
      May 15, 2021

      You can never be too careful. Thank you 😊

  • bitaboutbritain
    May 15, 2021

    That certainly made me smile.

    • Trev
      May 15, 2021

      Thank you 😊

  • Invisibly Me
    May 15, 2021

    I’m glad you’re still with us, Derek, you’d have been a wee bit young for the care home.

    I’m not surprise you nodded off though. Poor you back then, I do feel for you. Did you find yourself put off from ever using a bacon slicer again? I’m not sure I could look one in the eye after they’d been so evil!

    • Trev
      May 15, 2021

      Lol, thank you, Caz. Strangely, it didn’t put me off. It was all my fault, there is a guard that I should have used but didn’t. Lesson learned. Thank you again, Caz. 😊

  • Going Batty in Wales
    May 15, 2021

    Those machines do require the operator to be fully awake and concentrating. Glad you can find an advantage in having the damaged thumb.

    • Trev
      May 15, 2021

      Quite right and I’m first to admit that I wasn’t paying attention. Thank you 😊

  • YBP
    May 16, 2021

    Trev! You grabbed me with your title! Amazing storyteller you are as always! Please please take care and stay awesome! ❤️❤️❤️

    • Trev
      May 16, 2021

      YBP, thank you so much, I appreciate your very kind words. 😊🙏

  • Deborah Agustin
    May 17, 2021

    Love reading this. I always enjoy reading your stories. 🙏🏻💗

    What an experience!

    • Trev
      May 17, 2021

      Thank you, Deborah, I appreciate your kind words 😊

  • Slicers of any kind….bacon, bagel, deli…scare the dickens out of me. Thank goodness you’re tough. I would have fainted. 🤣

    • Trev
      May 20, 2021

      Thank you, Gail. They are scary things, you just have to show them respect. It didn’t really affect me until much later in the day and then I was very tired 😊

  • Mmmmmm bacon!

    • Trev
      May 26, 2021

      Lol, mmmmmmmmmm indeed 🙂

  • Carol Taylor
    June 2, 2021

    Ouch…pleased hear it wasn’t worse the care home escape made me lsmile just as well you woke up…Thank you for the sausage recipe just going to pop over and have a read 🙂

    • Trev
      June 2, 2021

      Thank you, Carol ☺️

  • dunelight
    June 3, 2021

    Yeah..trauma like that knocks your body out.

    • Trev
      June 3, 2021

      I am good, thank you, Dunelight. 🙂

  • allenrizzi
    June 4, 2021

    👍

  • Trev
    May 19, 2021

    Thank you 😊

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