The Lost Art of Matchbooks

Blast from the past for me. I am four years old, living near Echo Park, Los Angeles. For reasons only my stupid four year old self might know, I go down to the softball field down the bluff from our rented house, crawl around under the stands collecting match book covers, put my hand down on a broken bottle and slice open my palm.

Blubbering with pain and shock, my hand covered with blood, I run back up the bluff and run in the house screaming. My mother wraps my hand in bandages and my parents drive me to whatever was the nearest hospital in LA in 1948.

As a doctor stitches me up, as I am hysterically crying with pain, a cop in the emergency room, clumsily trying to sooth a dumb kid, says

I don’t know what you are crying about. I don’t feel anything.

I hope he was a better cop than a nurse. He definitely flunked basic empathy.

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