You are required to lose two body parts from this list:
One Eye
One Arm
One Leg
Which two body parts do you choose to live without for the rest of your life and why did you make that choice?

You may not choose which eye, arm, or leg is lost and if you make no
choice, you will lose all three. The body pieces will be surgically
moved while you are under anesthesia so you will not suffer during


  1. One Eye
    One Arm
    One Leg

    I’d like the $3.99 eye and arm value meal with extra mustard and a side of fried brains please. 😉
    It would be tough to live without a leg because mobility would be an issue.
    Losing an eye would be tough, but one can still see and survive.
    The same goes for the arm.
    It would be difficult to do tasks without an eye and arm, but not as difficult as not being able to walk and move without artificial means.
    If you never bend your elbow, would losing an arm make a difference anyway?
    Although, losing a leg and getting a wooden peg leg could be cool since pirates are all the rage these days!

  2. Ha!
    A “scoop of brains” might just do us all some good today, Chris!
    I agree mobility is important, but when it comes to artificial replacement of limbs, aren’t legs “easier” to do today than arms? Here’s a great story about Bob Kerrey’s ability to run on his replacement leg:
    Legs are easier to “make right” because they are mainly used for stability and not intricate work.
    When I think about my arms and the things I do with my hands, typing, cooking, creating my own heat, writing, holding things, I begin to wonder if an arm has more value than a leg?
    I’m sure some might use an actuarial table to make the decision. It would be interesting to find out the “value” of a lost arm or leg or eye from the POV of an insurance company who has to pay for the loss.

  3. Hi David,
    You might be right about the legs. I saw video of the soldier running at the White House with his artificial leg. The arm might be a worse thing to lose because you wouldn’t be able to pick up items as easily and do detailed work.
    But just think of the look you’d have with a hook and an eye patch …
    Here’s a chart that Indiana’s worker’s compensation uses for various injuries:

    The impairment ratings assessed by the physician are converted into a dollar award through the use of the “degree system.” The entire body is worth 100 degrees, with lower degree values being assigned to individual body parts. The thumb, example, is worth 12 degrees. For each degree of impairment, the employee receives a sum of money determined by a schedule contained in the Act. Amputations occurring on or after July 1, 1997, are compensated at double the dollars per degree provided in statute. Loss of use continues to be compensated at the dollars per degree provided in statute. The doctor’s impairment rating is multiplied by the number of degrees for a given body part to obtain the degree of impairment for the injury:
    100% impairment to the whole body (worth 100 degrees)
    100% X 100 degrees = 100 degrees
    25% impairment to the whole body (worth 100 degrees)
    25% X 100 degrees = 25 degrees
    50% impairment to the thumb (worth 12 degrees)
    50% X 12 degrees = 6 degrees
    Degree Schedule
    Injuries not listed here (i.e. back injuries) are rated as a percentage loss to the whole body.
    For the loss of the:
    Arm/hand below the elbow joint 40 degrees
    Arm above the elbow or entire arm 50 degrees
    Foot/Leg below knee joint 35 degrees
    Entire Leg or leg above knee joint 45 degrees
    Loss of one testicle 10 degrees
    Loss of both testicles 30 degrees
    For the loss of any two of the following parts, in any combination:
    Loss of both hands 100 degrees, or Permanent Total Disability award, whichever is greater.
    Loss of both feet 100 degrees, or Permanent Total Disability award, whichever is greater.
    Loss of sight in both eyes 100 degrees, or Permanent Total Disability award, whichever is greater.
    For the loss or loss of use of 2 or more phalanges of the:
    Thumb 12 degrees
    Index Finger 8 degrees
    Second Finger 7 degrees
    Third Finger 6 degrees
    Fourth Finger 4 degrees
    For the loss or loss of use of 1 or more phalange of the:
    Big toe 12 degrees
    Second toe 6 degrees
    Third toe 4 degrees
    Fourth toe 3 degrees
    Fifth toe 2 degrees
    Loss of vision:
    Permanent loss of vision or its reduction
    to 1/10 of normal vision, with glasses: 35 degrees
    Loss of hearing:
    Complete loss of hearing in one ear 15 degrees
    Complete loss of hearing in both ears 40 degrees
    Permanent Disfigurement: Up to 40 degrees, where PPI is not otherwise payable.

    Loss of arm is 50 degrees and loss of leg is 45 degrees. Loss of vision is 35 degrees.
    To give a comparison, losing two testicles is 30 degrees.

  4. Here’s a chart showing how to calculate what a body part is worth under the Indiana Worker’s Compensation system:

    DATE OF INJURY JULY 1, 1991 – JUNE 30, 1992
    1-35 $500
    36-50 $900
    51-100 $1,500
    1. Total loss of foot = 35 degrees
    35 degrees X $500 = $17,500 (maximum compensation for total loss
    or loss of use of foot)
    2. Total loss of hand or arm below elbow = 40 degrees
    35 degrees X $500 = $17,500
    5 degrees X $900 = $ 4,500
    40 $22,000 (maximum compensation)
    3. Total loss of arm above elbow = 50 degrees
    35 degrees X $500 = $17,500
    15 degrees X $900 = $13,500
    50 $31,000 (maximum compensation for total loss
    or loss of use of arm above elbow)

    Akismet bites you, but we actually swallow you whole!
    I find those kinds of actuarial tables completely fascinating.
    I guess kidney loss or liver impairment of a partial lung removal do not count as compensable — or aren’t they officially calculated in degrees?
    How could one ever determine the difference between:

    Third Finger 6 degrees
    Fourth Finger 4 degrees

    Does your job matter? Losing an arm as a carpenter would be more financially impairing than a person who worked in an office, right?

  6. One eye , one leg leaving me parital sight and two arms to power the wheelchair.
    Also I wouldnt want to risk arbitarily loosing my right/arm hand – and if I choose I loose all three!
    I do most of my work with my hands, most of my hobbies with my hands.
    (What a gruesome topic!)

  7. Gruesome?
    Are you wearing your Kevlar suit, Nicola?
    Losing things is part of life.
    I think this would be a gruesome topic if I asked you to ADD body parts instead of take them away: Now that would be gory!

    I think I’d agree with your choices though I’d hate to lose an eye. I value my eyes because I live the world through them –- even though they don’t see so great any longer.
    Losing an arm — any arm! — would be worse. If you ever fall down the first things that breaks your fall from real damage (to your brittle pelvic ring, let’s say) are your arms.

  8. I agree adding them would be pretty gruesome as well.
    I wouldnt elect to do either and the only way I would do so would be if Death was the alternative – and as I get older and this world gets madder that becomes less of an issue as well.

  9. Hi Nicola —
    You’re right. The choices are hard and gruesome and the longer we live the more likely our bodies may turn against us and these choices will have to be made by our family members or us.
    There are also young people in Iraq who unwillingly face these options — but they have no choice in the matter.
    Here’s a website that is completely real and wholly gruesome — DO NOT CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE THE REALITY OF WAR ON THE HUMAN BODY:

  10. I’m definitely not going to lose my eye.
    I will hate to lose my arm too but as I have no other choice I will let it go. The concept of mobility is gradually becoming virtual so I will let go one leg – sadly though!

  11. Hi Katha!
    Why do you refuse to lose an eye? You have two of them!
    I understand the loss of the leg, but the arm would be rough to lose. How will you type and communicate in your virtual world?

  12. I havent clicked the link – I am all to familiar with the horrors of war – and the fact that is is perpetrated by one human upon another. I abhor war, violence , killing, maiming.
    In that situation we would not have a choice either.
    As to family members making decisions on our behalf : –
    I am currently in the middle of a battle on my 90 year old mothers behalf. She has a neurolgical condition that has caused problems with the nerves in her wrists – similar to Palsy which affects one side of the face. She had to go on the waiting list for splints for her wrists so she can use her frame to walk. In the time she has been waiting ( nealy a month) her circulation where she is not walking has deteriorated to the extent where her legs are now breaking down.
    Do you have a living will ? Are they legal in the USA ?

  13. Hi Nicola —
    I understand not wanting to click on that link. As well, I sort of wish I didn’t click on it. I did a Google search on “Iraq war amputees” and that was the first search return. Click. Ugh!
    I feel for you and your mother. What is the process in the UK? You have to wait for the system to buy products for you? Is everything covered or do you have to pay and then get reimbursed?
    Yes, we have Living Wills in the USA and they are legal and binding if they’re properly notarized and witnessed.
    We also have “Do Not Resuscitate” forms patients can fill out that legally allows doctors to let a patient die if there is a verifiable loss of brain activity or breathing or heartbeat without using all methods to try to revive the patient. A DNR is used mostly for the routinely and actively terminally ill.

  14. I will accept consequence of becoming a slow writer/typist but I am not ready to reduce my eyesight.
    Not even .01%.
    With my eyes and my properly functioning brain I think I will be able to compensate whatever I am planning to lose.
    In fact I am typing with my one hand right now…

  15. I am afarid that it will reduce my reading speed…I am an incredibly speedy reader.

  16. Hi David,
    I think it came naturally.
    My Mom used to read aloud stories (with pictures) to me before I learned to read and after a few days I could repeat the whole story, ‘verbatim’ – without even actually reading.
    By the time I learned reading my Mom stopped reading aloud but I got addicted and started reading on my own – I think that helped.
    I never learned how to speed read – in fact the concept was new to me till a couple of years back.

  17. Hi Katha —
    That is very interesting. Reading is wonderful. I am a slow and careful reader even when I try to go fast. I think it comes from needing to memorize the text by nature instead of “just reading it” by force.

  18. You are right, when I read to memorize something I become a slow reader, consciously.
    But when I read to grasp the essence/concept of something I read the whole thing at once, then I go back again and read the parts I liked.
    My retainability is not bad, I checked once just to be sure.

  19. The “read it to read it” concept sounds pathetic. It is like dragging myself through mud.
    Whether you “speed read or slow read” something if you don’t cherish it then there is no point reading it.
    We are reading a book by Howard Gadner now, some of my classmates found it boring, slow… whether I found it very captivative and got engrossed into it.

  20. Hi Katha —
    Yes, when I was in school there were lots of things I had to read that were assigned that I did not find particularly well-written.
    There’s nothing worse than being forced to slog through bad writing that you will later be tested on mastering.
    I am fortunate now that I only read what I wish to know.

  21. An eye and a leg.
    I could still see — albeit without depth perception — and I could ambulate just fine with a prosthetic leg or even a crutch. I’m over 40, so I’m not planning to run anyplace anytime soon.
    An arm would be the hardest to live without. So many routine tasks require two hands. Plus, I’m already a painfully slow typist — if I had to type one-handed, I’d never get anything written. Seeing that I’m a writer, that would be problematic.

  22. I would say an eye if I could choose which (I only really have one good one) and a leg, for the same reason quoted earlier: easier to replace the functionality of the leg than an arm, although it may depend on how much of the leg is lost though— I would assume a stump remains? If entire limb is to be lost I would probably take my chance with arm. Decisions decisions…

  23. Hi Markp!
    Love your Gravatar! What fun! Welcome to the blog!
    Nope — you can’t choose your eye and because you brought it up, and are trying to get around us, you’ve left us no choice but to take your good one… just to be difficult.
    Yes, we’re taking the all of it: Eyeball, plus its gristly tendrils; leg from tippytoes to hip; and arm from socket to fingertips.

  24. I dont know them, just thought I would say hello and warn them that they are not allowed to wiggle out of questions , and that if he tries to – you wont let him get away with it.
    Not sure about the Avatar ………. although it has a very interesting looking tail ………

  25. I want to change my vote, since I will never risk my good eye… I would have to forfeit leg and arm 🙁
    PS The technical term for my Gravatar’s tail is Thagomizer, a word coined by Gary Larson.

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