Saturday, December 7, 2013

Marry the Man With One Leg

In fiction, examples of great men missing all or part of one leg abound. From this, we learn that if you meet a man with one leg, you should marry him. Cases in point:

- Peeta Mellark. If you only know The Hunger Games through the movies, you might not know that as a result of his injuries, Peeta had to have a leg amputated near the end of the first book in the trilogy. Therefore, he competed in the Quarter Quell - and all the subsequent events - with a prosthesis. Although renowned for his baking skills, Peeta is no slouch when it comes to survival, both physical and mental. No wonder Katniss chooses him over Gale Hemsworth Hawthorn.

- Dan Evans. I haven't actually read Elmore Leonard's original short story, so I base this off Christian Bale's portrayal of Dan in the 2007 movie 3:10 to Yuma. Dan lost a leg in the Civil War. He then moved west, to the hot, dry climate of Arizona, with his wife and two sons because the younger son has tuberculosis. Before antibiotics (which came into common use right around the time of World War II), one of the few treatments they had for tuberculosis was a hot, dry climate. Dan's sole motivation in this film is earning enough money to keep from losing his property so that his child has a chance to live a little longer. Back then, everybody who got tuberculosis eventually died from it. A dad who'll put his own life in terrible danger to give his terminally ill child a few more years to live? That's a character whose character I can appreciate.

Sidebar: Most of what I know about tuberculosis, I learned from reading Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure by Jim Murphy.

- Augustus Waters. Gus - he's the teenage guy you'd actually want your teenage daughter to date. He's smart, well-read, romantic, funny, witty as can be, and in remission after the bout of bone cancer that cost him one of his legs. Gus is the actual perfect boyfriend. When he meets Hazel Grace Lancaster in their cancer support group, he knows their time together isn't likely to be very long, but he loves her perfectly in the time they have. Just don't read John Green's The Fault in Our Stars unless you're prepared to cry, then drop the book because you're crying, then call it a stupid book because it made you cry and drop it.

- Noah Langford. Noah is another war veteran, this time in Barbara Longley's contemporary romance novel series Perfect, Indiana. Noah is the hero of the first book, Far From Perfect. Noah slowly falls in love with Ceejay, but she is a very stubborn woman, and Noah is a very stubborn man, so their path is not entirely a smooth one. But they do manage to spend a night together, and when Ceejay discovers she's pregnant, it soon becomes evident that Noah's default setting is "amazing dad." Naturally, they live happily ever after. It is a romance novel, after all.

Far From Perfect made me cry, too, not because of Noah and Ceejay's rocky road to love, but because of the late-life romance between two of the secondary characters.

In real life, there's Alex Minsky. My dear goodness, is this one-legged man made out of gorgeous. Alex is a real-life war veteran and a U.S. Marine who lost the lower half of his right leg and wears a prosthesis - wears it so well, he's become a model.

Photographer Michael Stokes' nudes of Alex were famously banned for "obscenity" by Facebook, but sister, ain't nothing obscene about Alex's body.

So, when you find yourself a one-legged man, I suggest you marry him.

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