No arm in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours

I’ve just watched Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours. It’s the film based on the American guy who had to cut his own arm off. Not because of sheer boredom, I think that would take a very stubborn man determined to prove he had the courage of his convictions.

It was because he had it stuck behind a rock with no hope of escape unless he did the unthinkable and remove the much-needed appendage with just a knife and his own momentum.

His name was Aron Ralston, a man who is so trendy I imagine his beard knows the exact point to stop growing, so he looks scruffy enough to be attractive but not so scruffy he’s a tramp. (Believe me, it’s a fine line.)

Aron hides his obvious ADHD behind a ridiculous amount of young, exciting things. At the start of the film he is jumping off cliffs and cycling hundreds of miles with nothing but a bucket of water and an iPod.

By the end of the film he’s got one arm and is covered in his own urine. It might be a little shameful but I couldn’t help feeling he deserved everything he got.


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Aron, and men like him, give men like me a really bad name. I’m not particularly active. In fact the most active things I do in my life tend to revolve around protests against doing something active.

I think it’s because I have difficulty getting completely comfortable when I sit down. The table might be a few inches too far away so I can’t reach my mug. I might have accidently left my bowl of crisps in the kitchen or perhaps the cat has taken this moment to use me as a cushion preventing me from doing anything in case I disturb him.

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It is an art getting comfortable on the sofa and that is probably why, once I’m comfortable, I don’t really want to move for anything. And say what you want about watching television all day but nobody ever had to cut their own arm off whilst doing it – unless Hollyoaks suddenly came on of course.

There is a lot of pressure for men my age to run around and fight bears with nothing but a towel and cheery optimism. It’s because I’m at an age where I really should have done these things but I’m not so old that I can’t physically do them now. It’s just there aren’t any bears or deserts around. And I’m a bit lazy.

If I ever met Aron and he told me about cycling around the Utah desert, I could only offer him a feeble tale about the time I walked the Orwell Bridge because I ran out of petrol.

Perhaps he would like to compare iPod playlists. I don’t know this, but I imagine he is one of those people who have specific play lists based on whatever trendy activity he is doing. I’ve got one of those, it’s called the TV guide.

Maybe Aron would like us to display our battle scars from the great outdoors. He could show me his snake bites and shard of lion claw left over from his mighty battle in the African desert.

I’d tell him about the time I burnt the bottom half of my legs by falling asleep in cropped trousers on holiday. I’ve never been clawed by a lion but I am willing to bet money the pain is nothing compared to the agony of Cypriot sun on pale skin.

All Aron and people like him do is remind me that I’m old before my time, unattractive and incredibly lazy and I don’t need him for that. I’ve got a girlfriend who helpfully reminds me of this stuff every day.

What makes this tale particularly bad, or admirable depending on what side of the lazy sofa you are sitting (remember I have a cat on my side stopping me from doing anything) is that Aron is still doing these things.

The man lost his arm and he is still climbing mountains and attacking the Grand Canyon. I lost my lucky cowboy hat last week and spent the whole time sulking about it. I can’t imagine what kind of sulk I would have if I lost an arm.

Apparently actions speak louder than words, but you can just buy a microphone turn that amp all the way up to eleven and tell everyone you’ve done these things, no one will ever know. I’ve lied during this.

I never did walk the Orwell Bridge. I got a cab, it’s a lot easier and I got to keep both my arms.

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