Ne’er has a story touched the cockles of my heart such as that of little Devin Funck.
12-year old Devin and his buddies were recently sitting on the edge of a pond in Slidell, Louisiana, throwing sticks at a 10 ft+ alligator. Afterward, growing bored, Devin decided to get in the water. And why not. As luck would have it the gator, very appropriately named ‘Big Joe,’ swam over and bit off Devin’s arm. As Devin reports, “I thought I still had my arm… and I looked and I was like, ‘Oh, man.’
Isn’t that how it always goes?
Anyway, the original arm was eventually dug out of Big Joe’s gullet but could not be saved, so the weenie doctors suggested a prosthetic arm cloaked in lifelike latex “skin” but Devin would have none of that fakery.
“I want a robot arm,” he said. “Get me a robot arm that looks like the Terminator.”
From now until he finishes growing, Devin at least once a year will need a new prosthetic arm. Prices start around $6,000.
“The ones that connect to the nerve endings are $100,000,” his mother said of the high-end model he might receive in later years.
In a “practical” world view, such a prospect for a little boy who simply chose to get in a pond with an alligator might be considered problematic. “A lot of money for such a dumb-ass” the cynics might say. But in truth, we must see this as the exemplification of the American spirit: no fear nor thought for the ‘morrow, leading with the chin, ready to take whatever life dishes out.
In a few months Devin will be fitted for a body-powered arm with a hook like Russell’s. And in a few years, as the technology improves, Devin could get one of the computerized models that connect to nerve endings and are powered by Devin’s thoughts.
“You’ll be able to swim and ride a four-wheeler,” Bordelon told him. “You like riding a four-wheeler?”
Sitting in an office chair, surrounded by the Terminator-like technology that will become his future, Devin’s eyes widen with possibility.
And well they should, young master Funck, and well they should.