To France, With My Apology
(Hey, I was only six years old and this was not the way I wanted to visit your country)
Unless you have traveled an extremely straight and narrow course and unless you have always been extremely focused and driven, you have (at one point) uttered a swear word and wondered where your life was going.
I’m six years old. I’m riding on the subway with my mom. I’m sitting in the seat right next to the door and, as the train is coming to into a station, I stretch and yawn. I accidentally flattened my hand up against the door and the door opened and sucked my thumb into that rubber place where the door goes when it’s open.
I was not the kind of kid to start yelling, ‘Mommy! Mommy! My thumb! My thumb!’
Instead, in the time it took for the door to open and close, I quietly pondered the following:
My God! My thumb is about to be mangled by this door. The door is going to come back out and expel my bloody stump of an amputated thumb. I’m just barely in the first grade and they’re going to have to take me out of school and put me into a special school for children with mangled limbs. They’ll have to teach me some menial, remedial trade that doesn’t involve my mangled limbs. Something that involves just using my feet. They’ll teach me to stomp grapes.
Yes, they’ll probably send me to France and put me to work stomping grapes. I’ll toil for years and nubile French woman will come to lean on the fence and watch me. They will take pity on me.
"Ahhhh," they will say, "Zat poor, poor, trajeek monstair! He cannot pleasure himself with zose terribly mangled appendages! We will relieve his tension for him!”
The Nazis will once again invade France. In the daytime I will pretend to be a complacent French grape stomper, but every night I will run with the French underground and blow up stuff. I will probably be relegated to kicking bombs around with my feet, as my mangled, withered arms will be useless.
The Nazis will parade by in a motorcade and they’ll notice that I’m the only person who doesn’t do the ‘Sieg Heil’ arm thing. They’ll get angry and take me out to shoot me.
To reiterate- Unless you have traveled an extremely straight and narrow course and unless you have always been extremely focused and driven, you have (at one point) uttered a swear word and wondered where your life was going.
The subway door closed and my perfectly unharmed thumb was expelled from the rubber place where the door goes.
I looked at my unmangled, un-bloody, un-stump thumb and whispered, "Fuck! What am I going to do NOW!"