Fingerless in Mexico

by Nic Olson

It was as if he knew that my finger turned blue and swollen like I had shut it in the car door, or hit it with an errant swing of a hammer. Maybe when I was waiting in line, he noticed me staring at it, trying to push back the cuticle and wincing. Maybe he could see the subtle glaring blue from his padded teller chair. Or maybe he could smell the gangrene. Either way, he asked me if I wanted travel insurance. For the low price of $200 I can insure that I lose $200 and nothing else. Double dismemberment, and so on. When he heard the word ‘Mexico’ he salivated kindly, knowing that any wise traveller to Mexico buys travel insurance, because it is a 50/50 chance that you will survive while visiting Mexico. I said I was interested, but declined all the same. RBC can suck the ‘hard earned’ dollars from someone else’s bank account. I’d rather be doubly dismembered.

But if I lose a finger while traveling, because it was falling off before I started traveling, maybe they’ll give me that $50,000 lottery that he was waving in my face. This could be a worthy investment. I’d cut my finger off for $50,000. I’m sure there is a market for that in Mexico.

He used Superman analogies in Quebecois English and I imagined my finger swelling to the point that it looked like a small, soft eggplant, pulsing with electric charge. They’ve got cheap medicare in Mexico, I tell myself. And likely black market medicare in Bloomington, Indiana. His greedy sense of worry and my mother’s concerned messages seem to foreshadow a point where I look back in regret that I didn’t buy overpriced insurance for suckers while I mourn a missing limb or digit. Jean-Francois just wants what is best for me, and my mother just wants a son with full use of his extremities. Fair enough, but no thanks.

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