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.