Friday, September 18, 2009

How Bad It'd Be To Lose An Arm

I've been thinking about something I said yesterday about the garbage pickup guys:

Some locally based guys come and check our garbage cans. Their truck has a door that swings up. They're trained so they won't lose an arm.

It's been going through my mind intermittently for the last 24 hours, the idea of losing an arm (or anything, really). It'd be like a cat losing its tail. I saw a cat without a tail the other day and was happy that somehow it probably learned to adjust. Even though I heard that cats use their tail for balance.

If we lose an arm, and if they can't get it reattached properly, of course we have to learn to adjust. But how terrible it'd be to have to go through such a thing!

I said "They're trained so they won't lose an arm." That's just an assumption I made, since I've never seen a one-armed garbage pickup guy. It stands to reason that doesn't just happen. Or it could be they have safety points and you lose an arm, you're out. And it makes some sense, not that I'm against equal opportunity; I'm not. But you need one arm to hold the truck with and one arm to be reaching for a garbage can.

Also, since garbage comes in many different arrangements at the curb, it'd be tough hoisting it around with one arm. Although it could be done -- again by adjustment. Man has done a lot with no arms, like the guys who paint with a brush in their teeth or between their toes. So I'm not saying it couldn't be done.

I've lost a few things over the years. Quite a bit of hair, a few teeth, I guess that's about it. Just taking a quick inventory here. I can still hear, see, taste, feel, and smell. Although, recall, I do have periodic issues with my sense of smell, what I call (with doctors) olfactory hallucinations. They're OK for the most part now. I don't have any big troubles. I do smell things once in a while that I'm not sure are really there, like going from room to room. But I also emphasize my smelling, it seems, because I'm so aware of the way the olfactory problems were when they were bad. It's like constant testing, which is what adjustment comes from.

But I still have two arms, two legs, two ears, two eyes, all of which work. All my fingers and toes are there. So I'm blessed that I haven't been caught in anything yet. I've known people who've lost a finger, a toe, missing arms, etc. I knew a guy who was born with a poorly formed, stubby arm that wasn't even an arm. But he did all right. He was able to play basketball, one handed and using what he had on the other side too. So it can be overcome ... of course.

Worse than being born with it -- in which case you don't know any different -- is being an old guy like me, then losing something. Just speaking out of imagination. You'd definitely know the difference.

My experience with regrets is they don't do a lot of good. They might make you more cautious the next time. Not that you weren't cautious the first time, but accidents still happen. Still, I would have regrets. I have regrets now, for all the good they do. You look down and there's no arm looking back, it has to be heartbreaking.

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