There have been many, many interesting people in my life, so I thought that once in a while I would feature some of these individuals.
Sometimes you run into someone who inspires you in a profound way. If you’ve never read about or seen Nick Vujicic, please take the time to look him up online. Nick is an amazing young man who has inspired people worldwide. I’ve mentioned him before with great admiration. He was born without arms and legs, yet he lives to inspire others. He sure inspired me. Check out nickvujicic.com. This guy will amaze you.
When I was in college, I met a kid who was born with only one leg. Some of you will know exactly who I am featuring here. I’ll use a false name and refer to him as “Jimmy.” Jimmy was younger than I was and I didn’t know him very well, but I remember talking to him on several occasions and I enjoyed his stories. He too was inspiring. And very funny.
Jimmy didn’t consider his missing leg a handicap. He was a popular kid and could do almost anything anyone else could do. He was an outstanding swimmer and I can still picture him hopping around the pool on one leg, diving in, and swimming like a fish. He had a great attitude and had fun playing tricks on people with his artificial leg.
The first time I met Jimmy, he was at my door with another friend and I immediately noticed something different about him. One of his feet was facing backward. At that point I didn’t know him well enough to grasp his sense of humor and wasn’t sure how to respond.
But during the time I knew him, Jimmy had me in stitches telling me some of the pranks he pulled using a wooden leg. Here are a couple of stories he told me. These are true.
Jimmy was sitting in his doctor’s waiting room with a crowd of other people, who were reading magazines or staring at the floor. Waiting rooms are quiet places where no one talks. Patients have been known to inadvertently hold magazines upside down simply to avoid eye contact by pretending to read. They're also afraid someone will breathe on them.
In this story, Jimmy pulled a large knife out of his pocket and began cleaning his fingernails, making sure that the “clicks” from his knife and nails began to draw the attention of the others in the room. When he knew everyone was watching, he violently stabbed the knife into his wooden leg. With the vibrating knife sticking out of his leg, he continued to examine his fingernails as though nothing happened. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome immediately hit some in his audience, who were rushed in early for their doctor’s appointment.
It was common practice for Jimmy to turn his leg around backwards while standing in line at a fast food place. After leaving, he and his friends would turn around and laugh as other young guys would be stumbling around, trying to turn their feet backwards like they had seen him do.
One time he and some buddies had a plan to freak out members of his church congregation just prior to the start of the service. Jimmy sat alone while his friends came down the isle and tried to convince him to leave before the service began. An argument ensued and one of his buddies grabbed his leg and began to pull and twist it while Jimmy held onto the back of the pew.
Jimmy had used scotch tape to connect the false leg, so the twisting and pulling made sounds like bones cracking. Suddenly the leg was ripped off and Jimmy’s friends ran out of the church carrying his leg. There is no record on the number of people who passed out that day, but watching this unfortunate victim hopping out of church on one leg is a scene I’m sure they never forgot.
Jimmy would occasionally let a car run over his leg, scream and hop around while the hapless driver would stare in terror at the leg stuck under his tire. He had all kinds of tricks like that and he thoroughly enjoy shocking people.
I’ll never forget that kid and his great attitude and sense of humor.