Alexander de Seversky, a World War I war hero and influential Russian-American aviator and engineer, was once visiting a fellow flyer in the hospital. The young man had just lost his leg.
De Seversky, who had had an artificial leg for some time, tried to cheer him up. “The loss of a leg is not so great a calamity,” he said. “If you get hit on a wooden leg, it doesn’t hurt a bit! Try it!”
The patient raised his walking stick and brought it down hard on de Seversky’s leg. De Seversky didn't flinch.
“You see,” he said cheerfully, “if you hit an ordinary man like that, he’d be in bed for days! Good luck, now!”
With that he left his friend and limped into the corridor, where he collapsed in excruciating pain. The young man had struck de Seversky on his good leg.