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TIL that Senator Bob Dole lost the use of his right arm in WWII and often carries a pen there to ‘signal that he could not shake hands with that arm’.(r/todayilearned)
If you can read a 1,000+ page book on a political campaign, What It Takes goes into Bob Dole’s early life in detail. The book is about everyone running in the 1988 Presidential election, and almost certainly the best book you will ever read about what makes people become successful politicians and what a major election campaign is really like.
Anyway, back to Dole. It wasn’t just his hand that was injured in WWII, his whole body was mangled. There were several years where he was bedridden and likely suicidal afterwards, and he was generally expected to stay that way and die within five, maybe ten years. The surgery on his shoulder that turned his arm into a pen cup was an extremely risky, experimental procedure when he had it done, and it was basically as a last ditch effort.
Then he spent a few more years relearning how to do every basic task you take for granted, and went to law school, where he learned everything by memory because he had no way to take notes. Then he was a small-town lawyer who got into politics.
I’m not a fan of his politics or his weird third-person self-reference affectation, but he has an incredible backstory.