Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Leg under the Bed

[Cartoonist and curmudgeon Al Capp lost his leg in a trolley accident at the age of nine.]

Al Capp, “My Well-balanced Life on a Wooden Leg,” Life, 23 May 1960, p. 140.

Adults, on the other hand, are embarrassed if they are caught looking at my wooden leg. If they are strangers, they look guiltily away. If they are not, they hastily talk about something else.

But nobody ever handled the situation with greater aplomb than the waiter to whom I gave my breakfast order as I lay in bed one morning in the Savoy Hotel in London. As he was taking my order, he caught sight of the shoed and stockinged leg that peeped out from under the bed. He stared. Suddenly he realized that I was watching him. He finished writing down the order, then looked me straight in the eye and said, “Very good, sir. And what will the other gentleman have?”