something bad happened in Santa's workshop

17 years ago I worked with a man from Norway named Hans who looked exactly like a handsome, slim Santa Claus.
except he was missing all of his fingertips on one hand, in a perfect slant.
you could tell he wasn't born that way, he'd obviously had a run in with a piece of equipment.
I liked him so much, but when he spoke I could only hear white noise,
because I was OBSESSED TO DISTRACTION with figuring out what had happened.
why didn't I ask him?
I know he would've told me. 
I've thought it about it 60% of my days since then.
If I'd just asked, I probably would've written a novel by now.
it is my greatest regret in life.
p.s I could tell the machinery was something that cut on a slant, but that's about as far as I've 17 years.