The sound of three hands clapping

Ryan Houk

Unless you live in a cave, or you don’t watch the news – which is pretty much the same thing – you already know about Liu Junjie, the 2-month-old Chinese baby born with three arms.

At first, doctors were unsure which of Junjie’s two left arms was functional, and which should be amputated. So, they debated it awhile before – in what must have been the most original game of “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe” this decade – they finally picked one and lopped it off. No one doubted the decision; no one asked Junjie what he thought. And worst of all, throughout the whole ordeal, not one person involved considered what might have been the best option of all.

I say they should have let Junjie keep his extra arm. Now, I know what you’re thinking: How could you be so heartless? It’s obvious if they had let Junjie keep the extra arm he would have gone through life hearing everyone call him a freak. And that may be true, but to retort, I’d like to say: sticks and stones, folks, sticks and stones.

But hear me out. Imagine for just a minute the things this kid could’ve done if he had been allowed to keep his extra appendage. I’m talking about brand-new Guinness World Records for juggling, or window washing, or traffic direction. I’m talking about the most amazing bartender you’ve ever seen – way better than Tom Cruise in Cocktail. I’m talking about a man custom-made for the world of magic – Chris Angel, eat your heart out. I’m betting you’ll never see David Blaine grow a third arm; that guy can’t even hold his breath underwater.

And who says an extra arm is a bad thing? Come on – the kid was almost half a Doctor Octopus. He was exactly one arm away from dominating at “Mortal Kombat.” He was rock, paper and scissors. Do you know what I’d give to be able to wash my hands and wipe at the same time? I’d give, well, not my right arm, but something. Something big.

If Junjie was smart, he would have used his advantageous extra arm while he had it. He should have straight pimp smacked his mom, dad and doctor, then bid a stealthy retreat to some top secret underground lair. There, he could’ve remained in hiding, training and biding his time, until the day of his triumphant return as leader of the world’s first real-life X-Men with his friends Bat Boy, The Elephant Man, and all forty six-fingered dwarves from that little town in Pennsylvania.

But now, thanks to the wisdom of modern science, Junjie is another normal boy – no extra limbs, no dreams of superhero stardom. Ten bucks says you never hear of him again, barring the odd chance that evolution won’t be denied and the extra arm grows back. If it does, my advice to Junjie is this: Be proud of who you are, little man. If folks don’t like it, give them fifteen across the eyes. Then, get out of the hospital and into adult entertainment where you could really be somebody. Somebody huge.

All I’m saying is that’s what I’d do. But then, I’m a little different, and I’m bound to be wrong sometime.

Ryan Houk is a junior English major and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].