Saturday, May 17, 2008

A court ruling away from manliness

One of my very mean female friends wrote in an e-mail list at work: You 'guys' are the girliest bunch of men I've ever known." She ragged on us because me and another guy defended The Sound of Music from her criticisms. I still say she may have no soul. The third guy admitted to watching Beverly Hills 90210, and I am afraid I was the one to first question his manhood. For the record, though, I admitted that I was a fan.

One of my much-maligned male friends pointed out that there are three guys and three gals on the list and suggested an arm-wrestling showdown to settle things.

I was thinking of this as I read a story about how a runner with no legs just got a court to say he can compete for a spot on his country's Olympic team. He uses those J-shaped springy feet to run, and scientists decided he got no advantage from using the "cheetah legs."

I don't really think that's the issue, though. The Challenged Athletes Foundation may revoke my scholarship for writing this, but I just disagree with the ruling.

I doubt the runner gets any advantage –- he is probably at a disadvantage still -- but he is using tools to run. It is different. He is using different muscles, facing different problems, etc.

I know that I would lose an arm-wrestling match with almost anyone over age 10, and it has nothing to do with strength. My arms are probably the strongest muscles I have. I use a manual wheelchair at times; I hold myself upright and haul myself back into the chair when I fall. But my muscles have their own time zone – when I am in a kind mood, I call it really slow.

Whenever I am at neurologist appointments they run through a similar battery of tests. Drag your heel along the opposite shin. They actually don't even ask me this one anymore I am so bad. Touch my finger then your nose, then my finger, which I will move to a new spot. I am OK at this one if it doesn't matter that I am supposed to be touching the finger and my nose with just some part of my hand. Unfortunately you are supposed to touch these things with your fingertip.

They also have me hold my arm up so my wrist is in front of my face. Don't let me pull your arm, they say, and they try to pull it away. My muscles take a minute to see if someone else will do it – some Deus ex machina maybe -- then they fire up and hold the arm there. Of course, when the doctors let go, they have to be ready to catch my hand before I smack my face because my muscles don't stop in time either. I am strong, just not well-controlled.

It seems that arm wrestling is about strength, though, so could I then get some scientist to develop a tool that spurs my muscles to action as soon as we hear the "1-2-3-wrestle," or whatever they say to start matches? That seems to be the gist of the ruling. Of course, the J legs give him an advantage. They may not make him faster, but he can't run without them.

My muscle spur would not make me stronger; it would just allow me to compete based on my strength.

I'd still lose to the gals at work.


Anonymous said...

Here's a court ruling for you.


Matt said...

Holy crap!

"If it were up to me, I would have had him live as a quad[riplegic] for the rest of his life."

I agree with this quote as long as his limbs are broken so he really is a quad.

Anonymous said...

that was my favorite part of the article.

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