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The base of my right thumb 0

Dear Bradshaw,

While wandering the streets of Rome, Francesca mentioned that her parents wanted to buy me a Christmas present. Despite being Jewish and therefore not religiously tailored to receive gifts on Christmas, I agreed to keep my eyes open. Walking down Via dei Serpenti, I saw a pair of pants in a display window and suggested we enter the shop. 

The sizes on the rack were too big so the salesman suggested I try on the pants I’d seen in the window. Convinced they were my size, he went to retrieve them.

As I stepped out of the fitting room, Francesca said, “They look great!”

The salesman agreed, nodding his head and saying, “Very elegant.”

But I had another opinion, as the crotch of the pants was far too intimate for the relationship I considered us to have. After putting a hand down there and pushing the crotch down, I felt something stab into my palm near the base of my right thumb. I reacted by jerking my hand out as the something (a pin) ripped open my flesh.

Holding my hand up to reveal the slash, I watched as blood appeared and began to flow. The salesman rushed off, mortified, and quickly returned with a paper towel. It was wet with alcohol, and I clenched my teeth against the stinging pain while staunching the blood.

Yes, Shaw, it was surreal, and here’s the thing about it. I should have known as soon as Francesca mentioned anything about buying me a Christmas gift that it was an omen. Jews shouldn’t receive gifts on gentile holidays. Otherwise, what’s the point of any of it? Meanwhile, if the opposite were true, my hand would be whole, wouldn’t it?

That’s it for this one. Lock it up and throw away the key.

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