Esquire: What I've Learned: Senator Jon Tester (D, Mont.)

I was helping my mom grind meat at our butcher shop, and it just hypnotized me. I don’t remember sticking my hand in, but it sheared off the three middle fingers and left me with a pinkie and a thumb. I was raised in a small school and graduated high school with the kids that I started first grade with. They never cut me a break, and thank God for that.

The hand is kind of a conversation piece at times. But it hasn’t stopped me from doing mechanical work — or any other work. Well, it is a little inhibiting in basketball. I can go left, but not as good as if I had ten fingers.

I didn’t waste a lot of time feeling sorry for nothing. I put my energy into getting things done.

I play trumpet. And I took all the music courses in college, so I can also play the string instruments, keyboard, the brass and woodwinds — but only well enough to teach them. If you put a violin in front of me, you wouldn’t say, “My God, that guy can play.” It’d probably sound more like Jack Benny.

It’s an interesting analogy. I think if you’re going to get anything done in the Senate, you have to be on the same sheet of music. If you don’t get people on the same sheet of music it comes out pretty horrible.

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