January 16, 2013

A True Story About A Missing Limb

The other day I was over at my friend J's house. I was showing her the lovely colour  of my nail polish, and suddenly she reeled back in horror.

"What IS that?" she cried.

Now, I understand the colour wasn't necessarily to everyone's taste, but I really didn't think it was that bad. It was a subtle pale pink; perhaps one could accuse me of being too conservative, but it was certainly not worthy of sheer disgust.

"It's my fingernail!" I answered, a little hurt.

"No! Not your nail!" she screeched. "Your finger! What's on your FINGER?"

"Um... my wedding ring?" I asked. Now, my wedding ring is really very nice. It's classic and restrained and extremely shiny as I recently cleaned it with my toothbrush. There was no way J could have a problem with my wedding ring.

"NO!" she said, and she was positively wincing. "That... that.... WHAT IS THAT?"

And finally I got it. She was pointing to my Bum Finger.
The Real Life Bum Finger

Now, J has known me for nearly fourteen years. She has spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours with me. Could it be possible she never noticed my physical deformity?

"It's my Bum Finger!" I told her. "Have you seriously never seen it before?"

She shook her head. I was astonished.

Later that night I was lying in bed thinking. And then I remembered a time, long, long ago, when I suddenly noticed a friend's serious deformity three months after meeting him.

I was sixteen years old, and I had just completed filming the television mini-series I starred in. The shoot was over, and  I had been sent a cast and crew photo in the mail to keep for posterity.

I took out the photo and looked at it. And as my eye wandered over the faces of the people I had lived with on location, and worked with, and eaten with, I glimpsed something that made me jump.

One of the crew - a cheery bloke called Bill - was missing his right arm.

Oh. My. GOD. I was shocked. How could I not have noticed it? I had been around Bill every single day for twelve weeks and I had never noticed he was short one limb. He had only a stump where his arm should have been.

It rocked me to the core.

For years I wondered how I could possibly have missed something so obvious. For years. Until finally, one day, I took my photo album out, and lingered over that picture one more time.

And it hit me. Bill's right arm had been there all along. It was in shadow. I'd fallen for a trick of the light.

I felt like a total fool.

Still, being with J made me feel somewhat better. Because J managed to miss a real life Bum Finger. So I guess that makes us just about even.*

*okay, so I'm way stupider. I'm clutching at straws here, people


  1. Oh what a CUTE little bum finger! Maybe we could make him a wee pair of shorts?

  2. Your bum finger is rather unique and striking - I guess the 'maker' (still not sure if there's a god or not) had to decide between giving you a bum chin or finger?

  3. it almost seems wrong to find that as funny as I did - I can imagine your confusion at not having noticed something so obvious before. I've sometimes known people for years before they notice I have one blue eye and one green whereas others notice it instantly.

  4. Oh that would be LOVELY. I think he'd like mauve.

  5. LOL. The 'maker' was a boy called Adam who accidentally cut it in half.

  6. My ex and I upset a friend of ours one evening. Along with his wife, we were all sitting out on our deck enjoying a cocktail or three with the sounds of the ocean serenading us in the background. Said friend's bottom lip began protruding further and further (and quivering) as time progressed. He twitched and squirmed. Finally, it all got the better of him and he blurted out: "Hasn't anyone noticed I shaved off my beard?" My ex and I looked at him and then at each other; and then back at him. In unison, we shrugged our shoulders and said: "Nope!" He almost threw a two-year-old-tantrum! My husband and I just continued sipping our drinks and let him enjoy his sulk!


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