Thursday, May 16, 2019

Playing God

Sometimes you see these leg amputees who run marathons and 50-yard dashes. And the prosthetic legs they run on don’t look anything like human legs. They look like they were put together with an erector set. (Does anyone remember what those are?)

This is a good thing. It used to be that people who made false legs seemed to go way out of their way to make them look like real human legs. They were trying to play God. But they weren’t very good at it. There was a kid with two false legs who attended the segregated elementary school for cripples that I attended. His legs sort of looked like real human legs in the sense that they were shaped like human legs, basically, and there were joints at the ankle and knee. They were pretty much the same skin tone as his real skin, though I think he just got lucky there. I bet in those days false legs came in two standard-issue skin tones — one Caucasian and one African. (I guess Asian amputee kids were just screwed.) This kid’s skin tone happened to be pretty damn close to standard-issue African.

But still, there was no chance of any sober person seeing that kid's prosthetics lying on the floor and saying, “Oh my God, look at those severed human legs!” There was only so much that could be done to make fake legs look real. I suppose technology is better today, but fake legs still aren’t fooling anybody. It’s like a comb-over.

And I’m glad to see that makers of fake limbs stopped trying to play God, or at least it some cases. It’s good that being aesthetically pleasing isn’t always their top design priority. It really gets in the way. The purpose of getting a fake leg isn’t to try to convince everybody that you still have two actual flesh and bone legs. If I had a leg cut off, I wouldn’t bother to get a fake one because that would be stupid. I don’t even use the legs I have. A fake leg would be purely decoration. My current legs are purely decoration but getting rid of them is too much trouble. But anyway, the purpose of having a prosthetic leg is to get around, right? If those badass amputee runners tried to run on bulky-ass legs designed primarily to render the user more cosmetically assimilated, they would never win a race even if all the other runners were in potato sacks.

So it’s good that these cripples say fuck it to doing what they do the normal way and do it the cripple way. When cripples do that things go a lot smoother.

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