Five stitches and Røbic’s music

by Ingrid Robeyns on May 12, 2019

I was for the second time in my life as a parent on the emergency room yesterday. Our youngest (11yo) son and I went shopping in the afternoon, and bought a new bread knife. Well, it was sharp, and because he has been using our (very old) bread knife for a long time without ever causing any problems, we had not worried enough about what would happen if we let him use a razor-sharp new bread knife. He made a mistake when cutting a bun, and suddenly was standing in front of me with a yawning gap in his hand.

Since the only previous time he went to ER he was a toddler and hence had no recollection, he was quite intimidated by the clinical setting – and, quite understandably, very worried about the pain he would have to endure when they would fix his hand. But the doctor, who immediately saw that it had to be stitched, was great. She said “We are not going to make your sweater dirty”, putting some clinical cloth under his hand. I responded saying that the sweater wasn’t important at all, but my son protested – since he was wearing his Elektronomia Sweater, The Single Most Important Piece in his closet. So, the doctor asked, do you like this music? And the boy forgot about his bleeding hand, and while the doctor was preparing the anesthesia he explained to her the difference between EDM, melodic EDM, house, progressive house, big room house, and that there are more than 100 other types of electronic music. When she asked, he confirmed that he makes his own music, and that she can find his first songs under his artist name Røbic on Soundcloud. Admittedly, it was hard to keep him distracted with music-talk while he got the anesthesia (which seems very painful) or the 5 stitches the followed.

When we left the ER and after we thanked her for her excellent care, she said, looking at my son, “bye – and good luck with your career as a DJ”.

Since I thought I shouldn’t take those well-wishes for granted (and perhaps was trying to get rid of my feelings of guilt of having bought an excessively sharp knife), I give my son an upload-subscription to Spotify today. So, Røbic soon to be enjoyed in your living room. If you like EDM, that is!



Gabriel 05.13.19 at 2:02 am

Even though it’s counter-intuitive, a dull knife is much more dangerous than a sharp one in the kitchen – it encourages muscling through cuts and rewards bad knife usage, which probably contributed to what followed with the transition to a sharp one. Consider keeping the sharp knife and show your kid how to use it – not moving the knife and ‘feeding’ food into it with the fingers back etc. As always, there are YouTube videos. It’ll likely be better in the long run.


bad Jim 05.13.19 at 6:50 am

My 11-yo nephew is also obsessed with EDM; he’s got all the software and quite a collection of DJ hardware. He gets to show off his pianistic skills from time to time, and all the girls rave; I’m not sure yet whether or to what extent he appreciates this. He’s also an aspiring chef and a deft hand with knife and pan, stove and oven (my brother hovering over him minute by minute). It’s possible that he’s never handled a dull knife.

I, on the other hand, grew up with dull knives, and while I can’t say that every sharp knife I’ve owned has bitten me, it’s something that has happened a lot. Enough so that I keep a box of really big adhesive bandages around. Deep slice to the base of your thumb? Rinse thoroughly and cinch it tight. Elderly mom bangs her forehead on a rocking chair? Same thing.

Of course, when that happened, I was roundly denounced: we should have gone to the emergency room, she should have had stitches! Then the nurse peeled off the bandage and said, that’s not bad. My mother had surgery after she broke her hip, and the extensive wound was not sutured; instead there were numerous adhesive strips. Sewing is a paleolithic technology; maybe modern glue generally obviates the practice.

To summarize: I recommend big bandages and sharp knives. EDM I don’t get. My nephew always wants to show me his latest, and it doesn’t do a thing for me. Pretty repetitive, but then I’m a fan of minimalism, recently attended a performance by a percussion quartet premiering a piece they commissioned from Philip Glass, and had to buy their CD just so he could hear it. I played it before and after, enjoyed it, but it didn’t do a thing for him.


Max 05.13.19 at 7:01 am

I don’t like EDM but this was the most beautiful thing I could’ve read on a Monday morning.


Belle Waring 05.13.19 at 7:21 am

I love this story and am excited about this music but oh my god: having taken my children to the ER many, many more times than I can count I am massively jealous. Most recently Wednesday, first time when Zoë was three weeks old. Most maybe when Violet was 4-5, more than once a month for a few months, certainly once a month thereafter, and Zoë appropriately interspersed. The girls are fine (ok Violet a little iffy with asthma) and I don’t want to derail the thread which should be about the multifarious genres of EDM. I was just genuinely shocked you could get to 11 that way. But here’s to good health and future DJs!


Ingrid Robeyns 05.13.19 at 6:40 pm

Thanks Max, that’s nice of you to say.
Bad Jim – believe me, this really had to be stitched :)

Belle, I’m so sorry that you’ve had to go to ER so often. I am very aware how much luck we’ve had so far on the physical health front (touch wood, of course). I told the doc that my parents had about one visit a year to the ER. Well, they had 4 kids, but still by the time I was 11 I had already broken one shoulder and one arm, and some similar things could be said about my siblings. And we’re right now also extremely lucky to live 500 meters from a middle-sized hospital, and about less than 5 kilometers from the University Medical Center, in a country where health care for kids (all under 18) is free. I was thinking all these things while we were waiting, but was just about smart enough not to start saying these things to my son, who surely would not have appreciated my lecture on health justice.


Alan White 05.13.19 at 10:16 pm

Ingrid I’m so glad this turned out well for your son–and I must give major chops to any physician these days who takes such concern and care with a patient.


Moz of Yarramulla 05.14.19 at 6:35 am

I quite like electronica in some of its guises, but I have somehat unusual tastes, so while I can appreciate that Røbic has hit the genre he likes, sadly it’s not really my cup of tea. But I do love that ‘kids these days’ have such easy access to decent musical gear and audiences. I would have loved that as a child :)

I also had much experience with various emergency medical centres as a child, being physically fit and adventurous but also somewhat clumsy and uncoordinated. It’s not unreasonable to describe my skin as “linked up scars” :) Somehow I didn’t break one of my own bones until I was in my twenties. (I was involved in incidents where other people broke bones but it wasn’t my fault except in the eyes of their parents).


MikeM 05.14.19 at 1:33 pm

My wife and son both cut themselves pretty badly using a mandolin to slice some veggies (potato, carrots). They have since bought “slicer gloves,” which has since saved our fingers from getting sliced themselves.


Omega Centauri 05.14.19 at 7:25 pm

Bad Jim
Sutures versus strips. I had a bad experience with strips. I had a bad (2cmdeep) puncture wound on the back of the ankle. Because its a hard to place to clean oneself, I asked my wife to do it a week later. She didn’t get it when I said don’t pull that strip, and it reopened. The Doc said its too old to close it back up, and I had to clean it multiple times per day to prevent infection -this is the sort of thing that attracts flesh eating bacteria, so cleaning is a big deal. In any case it was 2-3months of washing with peroxide, while it slowly grew back, and the flesh eaters stayed away. When I told my MD sister several years later she was horrified at the use of peroxide, I guess the theory is now to use mild soap. In any case the risk of reopening should be considered.


bad Jim 05.15.19 at 7:20 am

MikeM, I had exactly the same experience at my brother’s house a few months ago. I was not exaggerating when I suggested my nephew had never encountered a dull knife.

Ingrid and Omega Centauri, I’m certainly not suggesting that there is no place for sutures. I’ve been sewn up a couple of times. In a great many, perhaps most situations, they’re the standard of care; in fact I was amazed when they were absent following my mother’s surgery. My niece the nurse informs me that this is increasingly common.

Cyanoacrylate adhesives, Dermabond and Vetbond, are coming into use, although my brother didn’t choose to use the latter on me when I diced my finger, preferring to sort through his impressive collection of bandages instead, perhaps because I was still bleeding.

A bandage works well on a clean cut on a flat surface: my palm, my mother’s forehead, her hip. A cylinder counts as flat for this purpose, so most of an arm or a leg or a finger’s phalanges may also be candidates. Knuckles are impossible, the nose ridiculous.

My latest information about wound treatment, for which I cannot provide a citation, is to carefully clean the surrounding area, but to use nothing more than water to flush a superficial wound, the idea being that the tissue damage done by antiseptics exceeds the benefit of its antibacterial activity. I’ve always masochistically soaped out wounds, and if foreign material might be present it would be prudent. Often I’ve merely licked my wounds, letting my oral microbiome contend with my skin and environmental populations.


bad Jim 05.15.19 at 9:10 am

I feel as though I ought to apologize for derailing the conversation, which might have been all about electronic dance music instead of the details of wound care, were not all of us intimately familiar with the latter and most of us blissfully ignorant of the former.

Why should we pay attention to the musical efforts of middle-school kids, Mozart and Schubert aside? Back in the days of the Beatles and the Stones, the Airplane and the Dead, everyone picked up a guitar. What they produced wasn’t always second-rate, but it was second generation, recognizably derivative. When I go to the hardware store or the grocery store or even the surfwear shop the music is typically that of my adolescence.

[Disclosure: tonight I attended a quasi-theatrical performance by the Emerson String Quartet mashing up the life, wives and work of Shostakovich with a story by Chekov. Stalin, played by Sean Astin, wanders in and out]

Can we expect anything from these little kids twiddling their dials, adjusting their samples, hammering their pianos to the applause of their peers? Probably not, given how little popular music has improved for the last forty years, say grumpy Jim. But how else could it improve?

My issue with my nephew is that he composes music which is allegedly related to dance, but he doesn’t, as far as I know, actually dance. At his age I had endured many dance classes, managing to learn none of the steps, not even the waltz. My parents thought this a necessary skill; it proved not to be; dance changed.

Are our young children going to blow our minds with their musical innovations? Let’s take the optimistic view: that’s the only way it can be done. Even my grandparents eventually loved the Beatles.

Disco, or the culture surrounding it, discredited the conception of dance as intrinsically good. I say this as someone who, on occasion, enthusiastically danced to its beat when it was new, and did so with a willing partner whenever that’s what the band played.


J-D 05.15.19 at 10:23 am


Mandolin, mandoline. Mandoline, mandolin.

My mother had one of those, which I remember distinctly, but I didn’t know there was a specific name for the device.


Collin Street 05.16.19 at 3:15 am

I remember being told that if you get a finger ripped off sailing the chances of its getting successfully reattached are Low, acct osmotic shock. Maybe on lakes it’s better.
(probably antisepsis was vastly more important before we had antibiotics)


William S Berry 05.16.19 at 4:22 pm

@MikeM, J-D:

It’s a mandolina to mi Esposa Peruana!

I use mine often: it makes perfect thin slices of tomato, onion, etc., but it is such an efficient slicer of fingertips I can get chills down my spine just thinking about using it. Never use one without the little holder thingy.

Comments on this entry are closed.