October 15, 2011

Half full or half empty?

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 10:45 pm
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When I was twelve years old, I went on a boating trip to a group of islands with three friends and our dads. A friend of mine dared me to race along the shoreline with her. I, of course, said yes even though I was wearing impractical shoes and several of the rocks were slippery and wet (bravado was more admired than sense in my group of friends). We ran, skipped and jumped as fast as we could along the shore, seeing who could reach around the island first. I like to believe I was leading when I slipped and fell face first onto a rock. I expected pain, but felt only adrenaline. Pieces of white were scattered across the rock. I couldn’t breathe. Slowly, I raised my hand to my teeth. They felt sharp, and crooked: my right front tooth was broken and gone.

My friend ran and got my dad while I hyperventilated. We took the boat back immediately and he called the dentist on the way. The perks of living in a small town: everyone knows each other. The office was closed on Sundays, but he came in anyway. I don’t remember the boat ride or the drive to the dentist, I only remember thinking that my face was ruined. I would never be pretty.

But before the dentist filed down my jagged tooth and fastened plastic on top, my father asked him if, since he was fixing my teeth anyway, he couldn’t file down a bit on my other front tooth as well. Make them more even, he said. The dentist agreed and I ended up with smaller and prettier teeth than before the accident. While the dentist worked, I thought to myself that every cloud has a silver lining. I might have lost a tooth, but I ended up with a better smile.

And that is why I don’t believe for a second the reaction of the main character in Bionic Woman. When she learns that she’s lost both legs, an arm, an eye and an ear in a car crash and that they’ve replaced her limbs with super strong, rapid-healing, awesome-sauce pieces, her reaction should not be: “What have you done to me? Why did you do this to me? *tears* *angst* ” It should be something along the lines of: “Oh. Well, thanks, I guess. So, how strong did you say I was gonna get?” I mean, come on lady, your glass is definitely half-full.

Am I completely off-base here? How would you react to losing your limbs, but getting bionic superpower limbs instead?



  1. I definitely think there would be some shock. I suspect that would last somewhere around 20 seconds, before I went, “Thanks for the upgrade–can I leave now?”

    I’ve only half given up on my dreams of being a superhero, you see. šŸ™‚

    Comment by Deborah the Closet Monster — October 16, 2011 @ 8:48 am | Reply

    • Me too! Don’t everyone have that dream, at least a little?

      I was willing to go with it when she woke up, someone told her she’d lost all her body parts and she screamed and slammed the doctor into a wall. But then when she wakes up again, calm and fully healed, I’d like to think she’d be woman enough to say thanks and be a bit excited. I mean, come on! You’re a superhero.

      Comment by nascentnovelist — October 16, 2011 @ 12:27 pm | Reply

  2. I don’t know, I actually quite like my limbs as they are. I wouldn`t necesarily want to trade them for something “better”. On the other hand, as you say, the glass is def half full, at least I`d still have all limbs, and pretty awesome ones too. I think I would be annoyed for a while, and then just get used to it. You know, like it always is when one upgrades ones browser, or something….

    Comment by Guri — October 17, 2011 @ 11:35 pm | Reply

    • Hey, me too. I also really liked my front tooth. But it’s not like her boyfriend signed her up for limb removal and replacement, only the replacement. If my choice was no limbs or super limbs, I’d be happy with the super-limbs.

      Comment by nascentnovelist — October 18, 2011 @ 10:38 am | Reply

  3. I am a superhero already and would be upset if I lost my limbs. They are strong and beautiful and certainly better than any artificial replacement.

    Comment by Even T — October 18, 2011 @ 1:38 am | Reply

    • Fair enough. But the question is: would you prefer no limbs, or super-limbs? Because the main character in this show is angry that the doctor replaced her limbs with artificial ones, sure, but her option was Bionic Woman or Woman With No Legs Or Depth Perception. Would be a more understandable that she’s upset if he removed her legs and replaced them, but he didn’t. He just saved her life by giving her super-limbs.

      Comment by nascentnovelist — October 18, 2011 @ 10:41 am | Reply

  4. That was not the point you were making in the first post. Then your point was that the new, articifial replacement was better than the original – as in your ‘smaller and prettier’ teeth. My point is that I don’t welcome all this sculpting of ‘better’, ‘more perfect’ people.

    I want people to be slightly nuts, asymmetric, out of sync, malfunctioning, and retaining some kind of individual personality. I have not watched the show in question, but to answer your question in more general terms, I have no problem understanding why some people would dislike getting super-limbs.

    Comment by Even T — October 18, 2011 @ 11:01 am | Reply

    • It was the point I tried to make, but I was probably unclear. šŸ™‚

      I agree that sculpting people to be better/prettier/whatever is odd. I much prefer people who are natural to people who’re synthetically pretty. But, what can I say, my cloud had a silver lining: my teeth are shorter now than they used to be. I would have preferred not shattering my tooth, but once it was gone, I’m happy I got something nice out of it. In the same (though way more serious) way, I’m sure the guy who’s lost his feet would be happy to get these: rather than not having feet at all.

      Comment by nascentnovelist — October 18, 2011 @ 12:13 pm | Reply

  5. As a rock climber, I think having bionic arms would be entirely welcome. Why not? It would certianly make climbing far more enjoyable and my climbing partner would be impressed. šŸ˜‰ Just saying.

    Comment by Abigail Schmidt - writer, rock climber, and student of life. — October 19, 2011 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

    • Hells yeah. Plus, I’d finally be able to do those blasted one-armed pull-ups. šŸ˜‰

      Comment by nascentnovelist — October 19, 2011 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

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