There was an uncle in my extended family who was called “Lucky.” His nickname was obviously given to him in irony, as he was reportedly more star-crossed, or as Texans may say, snake bit. He was constantly involved in various accidents, and if the story is correct, he passed away young, though not as a result of trauma.

Sometimes, it is a wonder that I still have all my fingers and toes. Like any typical, active person, a toll was taken on my body as I suffered through several minor injuries. Early on, these tended to be lacerations that were only interesting because they produced a striking amount of blood loss, at least in the estimation of my young friends and me. But only two times did I need to seek emergency treatment.

The first of these occurred when I was about 11 years old. A friend of mine, who...

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