In his film Annie Hall, Woody Allen (playing Alvy Singer) suggests to Diane Keaton (playing his ladyfriend and the title character, Annie) that “life is divided up into the horrible and the miserable. Those are the two categories.”
The horrible would be like terminal cases, you know? And blind people, crippled. I don’t know how they get through life. It’s amazing to me, you know. And the miserable is everyone else. That’s all. So when you go through life you should be thankful that you’re miserable, because that’s — you’re very lucky to be miserable.
One might reasonably assume that — per Allen’s definition — that losing function/the entirety of one’s digit(s) would place the victim of such a misfortune among that class known as the Horrible. Indeed, perhaps in many cases, this is the result. In the dual cases of great right-hander Mordecai Brown and great jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, however, such an injury actually facilitated invention and greatness.
Because he’s an alert sort with a mind as agile as a jungle cat, the reader is obviously acquainted with these two giants of the Western tradition. The chart above, then, doesn’t serve as an introduction to the pair, but rather as a reference card of sorts, such that one might readily access each gentleman’s defining qualities if and when such information is necessary.
Also, here’s Reinhardt’s excellent recording of “Georgia on My Mind,” with Freddy Taylor on vocals:
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.