‘Mint Jelly’ Ridge’s Self-Inflicted Wounds

Kenneth Silverman

  • Accidentally, on Purpose: The Making of a Personal Injury Underworld in America by Ken Dornstein
    Macmillan, 452 pp, £19.50, December 1996, ISBN 0 333 67457 X

Many working-class kids who grew up in Manhattan in the Forties, as I did, played a nasty game that went like this. With your pals watching from a distance, you waited on the sidewalk for an automobile to roll along. As it passed, you ran out toward the trunk-end and smacked the fender hard with your hand. Then in the same moment you spun around crazily. To the poor driver inside it looked and sounded as if he had hit a child. He usually jammed on his brakes and jumped out – as the bunch of kids ran away, laughing hilariously. Such were our joys.

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