I may be the only one-armed Spe­cial Forces sharp­shoot­er in the world (IDF trade­mark appli­ca­tion pend­ing), but I cow­er at the thought of sign­ing books. Why is sign­ing books more dif­fi­cult than reload­ing or un-jam­ming an assault rifle? Than pulling grenade pins with my teeth? It’s not because I have a hard time hold­ing the book open – I do. But I don’t mind ask­ing some­one to hold the flap. It’s because the state of writ­ing, of phys­i­cal­ly putting pen to paper, is deteriorating.

Think about it. I lost my dom­i­nant arm when I was nine­teen. We’re talk­ing, 2009. Remem­ber 09? Key­boards had already tak­en the world by storm. Text dic­ta­tion wasn’t far behind. So, there we were: neglect­ed pens cry­ing col­or­ful tears. Lone­ly pen­cils and under­uti­lized sharp­en­ers no longer danc­ing the tan­go. No more shav­ings on the floor like con­fet­ti after a celebration.

After that mor­tar fell, I was reborn into a world that didn’t require relearn­ing the intri­ca­cies of the pen stroke. The result? I can rat­tle away at the key­board like the best of them. I can QWER­TY a mile a minute, sure. But how does that help me sign your book?

I’m about to be an author.” That bomb­shell hit me just last week. I scram­bled through my clos­et to find a Sharpie and have since been work­ing on the leg­i­bil­i­ty of my quips.

I hope this book comes in handy.”

Live one-armed and dangerously.”

I want to hold your hand.”

Do me a favor. If our paths cross at your local JCC, Shul, or Jew­ish day school, and you see me sweat­ing behind a pile of books, pre­tend you can read my chick­en scratch and gig­gle. What­ev­er I’m writ­ing is prob­a­bly meant to be clever.

Izzy Eza­gui, a dec­o­rat­ed squad com­man­der in the Israel Defense Forces, is the only sol­dier in the world who lost an arm in com­bat and returned to the bat­tle­field. While he con­tin­ues to serve in an elite unit in the reserves, Izzy deliv­ers inspi­ra­tional talks across the Unit­ed States and internationally.