I closed the passenger car door. Somehow my right hand was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I screamed as the blood sprayed out of my smashed middle finger. Surgery resulted in a titanium pin holding the middle phalanx artificial bones together.

Mostly Healed
My middle finger now appears nearly normal — although it cannot bend. And the fingertip isn't of much use — it is completely numb. The other nine fingers have compassionately stepped up to compensate for their wounded sibling.

When the Moon and Mars Align
On a bright and breezy summer afternoon, I was driving with all the windows down on my way to visit a friend. I pulled up at an intersection as another car flanked mine in the adjoining lane. Waiting for the light to change from stop to go, I glanced over to see that the driver had turned red. My hands were on the steering wheel, my right middle finger raised, reaching towards the sky. The driver thought I was, as they say, flipping him the bird.

He began to curse at me and I, smiling, waved my right hand trying to explain the situation. All of my waving convinced him I was even more determined to insult him. Red turned to purple before the light turned green.

Many people carry guns in their cars in Kansas City, and they are not uncommonly used in violent disputes.

I stepped on the gas, roared through the still red light, into the sunset and safety.

It is so easy to imagine the narrative the other driver had concocted and how he might have sought revenge for the perceived insult. We all make up fictitious stories about one another and sometimes, well, sometimes they just get out of hand.

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