Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you like Roald Dahl — if you’re lucky, that is

Next time I’m feeling sorry for myself, I’ll contemplate the life of writer Roald Dahl:

Little Roald was born in 1916, in Wales, where his father had started a lucrative shipping business. (He was named “Roald” after a famous Norwegian explorer; the proper pronunciation, apparently, is like “RuPaul” without the P.) Dahl had an idyllic childhood until the age of 3, when his older sister suddenly died and was followed, weeks later, by her heartbroken father. This was the beginning of a toxic tsunami of bad luck that would toss Dahl around for the rest of his life. When he was a boy, his nose was cut off in a car accident. (A doctor sewed it back on.) Then he was shipped off to boarding school in England, where he suffered all the traditional miseries. In World War II, he became one of the RAF’s most promising pilots—only to crash his plane, on his first official day of flying, in the Libyan Desert. As he lay there fighting for consciousness—his skull fractured, his spine wrenched out of place, his eyes swollen shut by burns, his poor reattached nose driven back into his face—his airplane’s machine guns, stoked by the heat, started shooting at him.

I’m sure we’ve all had days like that.

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