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The $6 million question: Where is my bionic knee?

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Bionic that made television character Steve Austin faster and stronger in the 1970s would help a lot of aging Facebookers today.

Janet Storm.jpg

Sunday, February 17, 2019

One of the surest signs of middle age is a Facebook feed full of friends detailing their medical ailments.

Just this week, I counted not one, not two, but three pals who were undergoing knee replacement surgery. One proudly posted a post-op X-ray showing what looked like a spring in her leg. “Those are staples, silly,” she responded when asked if her surgery had been done by a toy manufacturer.

So far, my knees are holding up but that doesn’t mean my own ailments haven’t made a Facebook post. Not long ago, I was whining about the fact that sitting for extended periods makes me feel as full of knots as an old pine tree. Still, a bit of stiffness is better than a knee replacement, especially since — as far as I know  — none of my friends is getting a bionic knee.

Bionics, of course, would be a game changer. If the sort of technology features in that 1970s classic “The Six Million Dollar Man” was real, my Facebook feed would be so flooded with middle-aged operation postings that there would be no room for sleep aid ads or photos of cute dogs.

I have to admit, I would join the line for some handy bionic features. A super-strong arm would be handy for carrying groceries or lifting chubby little dogs onto my bed, and a bionic eye might allow me to read the fine print on labels, which seems to be getting smaller every year.

I am a bit annoyed with the world’s scientists, who don’t seem to be at all concerned with building me legs that would allow me to race by 20-somethings to reach the checkout counter at the drugstore first, or a bionic ear that would let me know when my little dogs are chewing on something they shouldn’t in another part of the house.

The greatest gift, of course, would be a bionic brain that would allow me to remember where I parked my car, how I lost my favorite sweater or why I walked into the living room. Maybe I don’t even need a whole new brain for that — can’t they just install a memory chip with a search engine?

It seems to me that TV in the ’70s made us a lot of promises that it didn’t keep. Why are we still mowing our lawns when the Bradys had a nice astroturf yard? Where are the helpful nose-twitching witches and genies? What happened to that flying car George Jetson promised me? Or a friendly alien/roomate named Mork? Come on people, it’s almost 2020!

But none of these promises can compare to the allure of being bionic. Just think of the thrill of being able to leap over the giant puddle you were forced to park your car next to because some jerk was taking up two spaces. Come to think of it, think of the thrill of being able to flip the jerk’s car sideways and slide it into the cart corral. 

Of course, I’m just dreaming. Most technological advances these days seem to be focused making smartphone apps and creating creepy electronic “assistants” that track your musical preferences, delivery orders, and I suspect, how many friends you have who are getting knee replacements.

Maybe it’s time to google Steve Austin. Or just get up and stretch.

Contact Janet Storm at jstorm@reflector.com or 252-329-9587.