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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Amelie's one month old today. Only another two-hundred-and-twenty-seven to go until she leaves for university. Unless she wins a place at Brighton, in which case we'll never get rid of her.

To celebrate, the three of us have spent the weekend dodging bullets in the ghetto badlands of East Sussex, where the internet is just a distant dream. But enough about St Leonards. The more pressing tale to tell is of the one-legged man I met on Friday. No, seriously. I was at work in the afternoon, wondering whether I could take the last pain au chocolat without anyone noticing, when the doorbell went. Naturally I answered it (I've got a performance appraisal coming up), and who should I find standing there (well, not so much standing as hopping), but a man with one leg. It was like a low budget version of The Fugitive.

But he wasn't just a one-legged man, he was a one-legged delivery man. With twice as many boxes as legs. I have to say, when a bloke with one leg asks you to fetch a load of drugs from his van because he can't hop up a flight of steps with his arms full, you do start to wonder if Beadle's back from the dead.

Anyway, having carried two hundred packets of co-codamol into the building, followed by a one-legged man on crutches with a clipboard in his mouth, I decided I wasn't going to act like this was an everyday occurrence, and started to gently probe him on his circumstances. So I asked him what the bloody hell he was doing trying to deliver parcels on crutches with a leg missing.

It turned out to be an interesting story. Apparently he'd had Crohn's disease, which somehow led to his leg turning black, and whilst in hospital, the doctors had explained his options to him. Unfortunately he was so out of it on painkillers that he didn't know what the heck he was saying, and accidentally agreed to amputation. Apparently his family was livid. And he wasn't best pleased either. But he'd signed the consent forms, so frankly he didn't have a leg to stand on.

He was quite philosophical about it though, and said that when you find yourself a leg down, you can either sit about watching your life go by, or you can get back to your old job with DHL. He'd chosen the latter. I'm not sure I'd have done the same. I commented that he seemed remarkably positive about the whole thing, and he said there's a good reason for that. He might have lost a leg, but he'd gained a wife. Apparently he fell in love with the nurse who tended to his stump, and they've been together ever since. So every time he looks at his missing leg, he tells himself that he swapped it for the love of his life.

It's a heartwarming story. And I'm going to make a fortune selling it to Bella magazine.