When people first meet me, the first thing they think is, “Wow, he’s tall.” The second thing is, “Aaaaagh!” followed immediately by, “Be cool, don’t stare, he’s still a human being.” Most, sadly, aren’t able to convince themselves, and the relationship ends there. It’s not their fault–I know I’m hideous. You see, I’m missing the tip of my pinkie finger.
It comes up in all sorts of situations, this revulsion. In drive-thru at McDonald’s, an employee will take a quick look and then scuttle as quickly as possible to the bathroom, gagging. A lifelong friend who has never seen me without gloves will tell me it’s not working out, dry heaving all the while. My wife will tell me she has a headache, and then lean over the wastebasket.
It’s not my fault, this disgusting aberration. It happened one night, at a campfire, while riding a go-kart with an unlicensed ten-year-old. A turn was taken too quickly, a roll bar had never been installed, an engine was hungry for human flesh–and in that instant, I became a freak.
It’s been a burden, truly, but I know it has made me a stronger person. I have had to work harder to become a below-average guitarist, though I will never be able to make a clean B-major. A pinkie ring big enough to fit over the misshapen bulb will hang loosely on my pinkie stalk. I will never be a hand model. And yet, through it all, I have learned to be brave, have endured the scorn and hatred sent my way by those too ignorant or uncompassionate to see that, beneath this mutant digit, there beats a human heart, the same heart as everyone else.
Look at me, people! I am a freak. I am a monster. And I am one of you.