viernes, 24 de abril de 2009

The Six-Thousand Dollar Man

"We have the technology… We can rebuild him…"

Well, whaddaya know? The future caught up with me. When I was a child I loved the "Bionic Man" TV series. It had that hokey and cheesy quality that made you understand that those things couldn't possibly happen, but still made you lay down at night thinking, "What if…?"

The guy would go, "Tit-tit-tit-tit-tit… A-tit-tit-tit-tit-tit…" every time he ran really fast or jumped really high. If you heard the noise, then you knew that he was about to open a can of whoop-ass on the bad guys.

But maybe I should back up a little, and explain what I'm talking about for those who are not as old as I am. Back in the 70's there was a TV-series called "The Six-Million Dollar Man" (in Mexico it was called "The Bionic Man") and it featured the adventures of Steve Austin, erstwhile astronaut, who did an epic fail when he parked his spaceship nose first into the ground. So, as a reward for trashing God knows how many gazillion dollars of tax-payer money, he was rebuilt by some shady secret organization. He was pretty ruined, so they had to put in a one "bionic" arm, two legs, and one eye to make him all better. This was done at the great cost of six-million dollars (I now imagine Dr. Evil going, "Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!"). Anyway, back then it was a lot of dough, okay?

So, anyway, yeah, like I was saying, the bionic man. Yeah, stuff that couldn't possibly happen, right?

Well, not quite. For the modest sum of around six-thousand dollars, you can have the little gadget in the picture on top. It is a hearing aid for people who don't like to look like they have their gramps' vacuum-tube radio strapped to their head. It has all kinds of computer chips in it, and it filters the noise and amplifies only human speech. It's very nifty.

How do I know, you ask? Well, a couple of years back I noticed that I was having trouble following the conversations in the Intensive Care Unit, where patients are really sick so they are plugged in to a dozen gadgets that whir, sigh, buzz, fart, squirt, slosh, ding, zap, and make squiggly lines all over the place. Besides all those noises, people tend to speak very q-u-i-e-t like, so as not to disturb the poor patient. Which is all fine and well, except I couldn't hear half of what they were saying. In my capacity as a medical interpreter, such situation is evidently unacceptable. So I went to my doctor, mentioned the problem, got referred to an audiologist, got all sorts of weird contraptions screwed onto my ears, got tested and analyzed, and then got told that I'm deaf.

Yah, I was surprised, too. Anyway, last year I got me some hearing aids, and we were all happily-ever-after…

Except for the part where I have to pay six-thousand dollars to hear good again. But that's a small price to pay, really, in order to fulfill two important aspects of my life: I get to hear whatever people are whispering about me behind my back 'cuz they think I'm still deaf, and I get to be the first kid in my block that turns into the real Steve Austin.

I win.


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