A recent and unsuccessful attempt to solve a robbery has reminded me that I have a strange problem. Let me back up a bit.
Maybe ten years ago I watched the movie Snow Falling on Cedars. This isn’t a spoiler since it’s obvious from the beginning, to everyone but me, but the fact that Ethan Hawke’s character is missing an arm is a big deal in the movie. I didn’t realize he only had one arm until the movie was nearly over. “Hey why is his jacket pinned up like that?” Indeed.
I watched all of Twin Peaks the next year, and then watched the movie Fire Walk With Me. One of the significant characters is a man with one arm. In the credits he is referred to as “The one armed man,” I believe. Somehow, I did not realize he only had one arm until people started referring to him as only having one arm. It’s way more obvious in Twin Peaks than in Snow, but, yes, I don’t know what else to say about that. Didn’t catch it.
Which brings us up to Tuesday of this very week, when a wonderful library patron asked for help. I have probably seen this elderly gentleman every day that I’ve worked for the past two years. He always sits in the same place, in the department where I always work.
Someone stole his backpack. He didn’t see who it was. After trying unsuccessfully to locate the backpack, I apologized and held out my hand to shake it. He laughed. Then he offered me his other hand. Because, as you will no longer be surprised to hear, his other hand was missing. I had tried to shake the stump of his wrist, which was sporting a very snazzy watch, but no hand.
So then, if you find yourself among the limbless, I want you to know that you will always feel safe in my company. You could be missing both arms and I would still be inviting you to come play tennis with me, innocently and with the best of intentions. Except I hate tennis and would never invite someone to go play, but I’m sure there’s another example.