Zanardi, the hands of father and son on hope


There is a special relationship between Alex Zanardi and his son Niccolò. And it could not be otherwise. The photo published by the young man says that it also goes beyond the invisible wall built by male generations who follow one another in silence, reluctance and embarrassed touches. Hand on hand, however, and no modesty of feelings. Theirs is a relationship baptized with fire and that another hellish moment is going through. When Niccolò was three years old his father received extreme unction in Germany, but returned home, albeit without legs. He tried to convince him that he was a special type: after all, in the comics it is after an impairment that he becomes one. He said with amusement that when he took him with him to the place where he made the prosthesis, he was a little hurt: “Oh, dad, here everyone is legless.” As if suddenly his father had fallen into normalcy. It never happened.It was not the son who conformed to the father’s specialty, but the father to the normalcy of the son. If applicable, by inventing one.
As with bath prostheses. They were in Montecarlo, there was a swimming pool in the condominium and Niccolò as a child would have liked us to splash around together. In prostheses, however, there is foam rubber, soak in water, it is a disaster. Zanardi’s father comes up with the stuff he puts in the tanks to avoid shaking, the open cell foam. They tell him that he comes from England. He calls and after three days he receives it. He has two special prostheses made with that, marine bronze in his knees and here he is in the pool with his son. Alex’s father is a Bolognese plumber, like mine. We know what it means: life is a practical matter: it either passes or needs to be enlarged, but it cannot be much.Manual skill is the unit of measure of things, but the hands are used to make, adjust, like words to define, sanction. Feeling is an unspoken. The gesture that transmits it is a fact, not a simple act. It took an extra generation to find the strength to express themselves. And it takes sensitivity to do it without exhibitionism. Even if made public, that hand on hand is an affair to them. Just two lines to express a need to say it loudly, because it is no longer true that it is a man to keep everything inside, even if those of the former were educated in this way.
Looking at it reminds us of all the gestures we didn’t make. It is the open cell that keeps hope afloat.

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