It seems like amputees, and their legs were coming at me fairly regularly, at home and at the library this week. I wondered how much and how often amputees are in the media. So, I put them to a test. How many new amputee references can I catalog in a week?
I was at lunch at the picnic table on what I call the back forty, the property behind the library that doubles as a parking lot most days. I was flipping through my Flipboard, an app that brings me headlines, stories, and book recommendations. A headline from Huffington Post:
“Leo Bonten has his leg amputated, turns it into a lamp and tries to sell it on Ebay.”
The Dutchman’s story was cataloged under “Weird News.”
After having the leg amputated, the man had help from a pathologist and a lamp maker. He said Bonten could not “say goodbye,” to his leg, so he preserved it.
Mr. Bonten put the leg lamp up for sale on Ebay for $127,500. Ebay took it down the same day saying it does not sell body parts.
Bonten claims he had to sell it because he’s broke.
“Soon I won’t even have a home where I can put the lamp,” Bonten said.
I guess an amputee can’t even cash in when he’s able to upcycle his own leg from medical waste to a practical home furnishing project. I just want to know what bulb fits in the socket. LED, compact fluorescent, or incandescent?
I was thumbing through a new book, On Paper: The Everything of its Two-Thousand-Year History, by Nicholas Basbanes when I came across a quote from a former POTUS. John Quincy Adams wrote in a journal every day from age twelve until two days before his death. He even wrote on leap year days. In one entry, Adams writes about the futile and occasionally frustrating writing habit. It had become, “Like the race of a man with a wooden leg after a horse,” and resulted in, “a multiplication of books to no end and without end.”
On Saturday night, I was using Amazon Prime Music, an app that lets subscribers stream from millions of songs in about 15 different genres and from other Prime member playlists.
I flicked across the Dropkick Murphys, an American Celtic punk band. You’ve got to hear their song, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.” The main character is a sailor without a leg, and he’s “shipping” up to Boston to get his peg.
As I sorted the Press-Register on Sunday morning, a pair of brown eyes glanced up at me from the cover of Parade magazine. I was greeted by a German Shephard mix dog missing a left front leg. Mama Lucca was an IED detecting dog who saved the lives of 14 men, and was awarded an honorary Purple Heart for her actions. Her record of keeping our service members safe and without casualties still stands, but it came at a price. She’s now retired and living in sunny southern California.
I was talking to a co-worker during lunch. Gwen asked if I’d seen the woman on crutches this morning.
“I thought she might be coming in to talk to you,” Gwen said. I have met many amputees in the library and often go and introduce myself and let them know I’m an amputee too. The woman was was an above knee amputee. She was not wearing a prosthesis.
“No,” I told Gwen, “I was helping another patron, so I didn’t have a chance to talk to her.” I saw her only briefly when she was checking something out at the circulation desk.
After lunch, Cheryl told me she saw the movie Dolphin Tale 2 with her granddaughter. The movie features Winter, the prosthesis wearing dolphin, and the sequel features Bethany Hamilton. Hamilton, who plays herself, lost her arm in a shark attack while surfing her home waters of Hawaii. Cheryl said the movie was good, but Hamilton didn’t have a lot of dialogue. The first movie is based on the children’s book, Winter’s Tail. I enjoyed the movie Dolphin Tale so much, my wife Susan and I went to Clearwater, Florida to see Winter. The picture of me with Winter’s prosthesis number 17 sits on Susan’s desk at Daphne East Elementary School. Her kids don’t even notice my prosthesis because they are so excited about seeing Winter’s prosthesis.
I always straighten the new books when I walk past them on the way to my desk. I spotted Stronger, a book by Jeff Bauman and Bret Witter. Bauman survived the Boston Marathon bombing, losing both his legs, but was an FBI witness in the search for the bombers.
Killing Jesus: A History by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Julius Caesar, after conquering a town along the Dordogne River, cut off the hands of every man who fought against him.
I watched the tail end of Utopia on Fox, and a little bit of New Girl. I saw a commercial for Red Band Society, a hospital ward of teens facing long term stays for various illnesses, which now includes leg amputees Jordi and Leo.
Susan and I were watching Survivor when we saw a commericial for Criminal Minds. The preview showed a human leg in a box. Presumably, the rest of the show was about finding the rest of body.
Looking for movies to borrow, I spotted The Fault in our Stars DVD while scaning the online catalog crawl. I’ve already seen it. Good thing, since it already had 35 hold requests for patrons wanting to borrow it.
Yesterday, I saw the future of legs in libraries, which indicates to me that media coverage of amputees and their prostheses will continue to expand.
I read in the Wall Street Journal that the Westport, Connecticut Public Library will have a couple of humanoid robots roaming around. Vincent and Nancy are quite sophisticated. They are able to be programmed and also learn with Artificial Intelligence (AI) through human interaction. They have already been programmed to speak 19 languages, to kick a ball, dance, and do Tai Chi. Robots and their artificial intelligence can think on their feet just like humans. Nancy, Vincent, and I do this on our artificial legs.