Meeting a Man Who Had No Feet

If you know me, you know I have a tendency to whine. Especially on the golf course. I am always on about my short drives, my aches and pains, my poor eyesight, and all the other ills that afflict codgers like me.

But I’ll think twice about mentioning those minor setbacks from now on. Now that I’ve met a man named Tony O’Connor (photo above).

He was assigned to play with my brother Bill and me the other day, and I noticed right off that one of his arms was missing.

Trying to make light of an awkward moment, I suggested he should give me strokes as I had the handicap of an extra arm getting in the way.

I could tell from his long-suffering smile that he’d heard that one before.

But as it turned out I could have used a few strokes.

He teed up the ball really high and well in front of his feet, then he took his one arm – the left – and swept it 200-plus yards down the middle of the fairway.

His lone arm was just as efficient around the greens.

Bill and I were awestruck.

After a few holes, we had to tell him how amazing he was.

Oh, he replied, it’s not the one arm that’s the challenge, it’s the no legs.

No legs?

The man has been walking around for most of his 70 years on artificial limbs.

As a child, he had blundered into some live electrical wires and had spent the rest of his life learning to manage with no legs and one arm.

He learned to do everything others do, even drive. And he disdains automatic transmission; he drives a stick shift.

As the old saying goes, “I complained because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

It was a sobering – and inspiring – encounter.

So, you might think Tony is on some kind of medical disability. After all, who would expect a man with no legs and one arm to work for a living?

Tony would. And does.

Quite a good living.

Tony O’Connor is an entertainer. His show is titled, “Doing Standup Without Legs,” and it’s a popular attraction, even though he doesn’t do nightclubs because of his distaste for off-color humor.

You can visit his web page at www.comedybytony.net.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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