Throughout much of the previous century, kids everywhere wanted to be doctors, teachers, fire fighters, and ballerinas. But most kids I knew growing up in the 1970s just wanted to be bionic. Lindsey Wagner and Lee Majors were our heroes. Their alter egos, Jamie Sommers and Steve Austin, weren’t only attractive, smart, and successful, they were bionic.
Little girls and boys everywhere would climb ladders and jump from the top step. We would make the bionic sound as we pummeled to the ground beneath us. We would sprain wrists and twist ankles, and constantly knock our heads against hard surfaces while being wildly strong and bionic.
In an attempt to “out bionic” one another, kids would often perform dangerous feats of jumping that included jumping off playground equipment, lifting school desks over our heads, (I’d advise emptying said desk of all contents before lifting), and pretending to hear what the teacher was saying when she was standing on the other side of the room.
I actually jumped off the first story roof of our house when I pretended to be bionic, or maybe it was Wonder Woman, I can’t remember anymore. My friends and I went through several superhero phases.
Back in the day, there were a lot of great superheroes to choose from. There were the big guns such as Superman and Wonder Woman. There were the lesser known heroes like Aqua Man and the Green Lantern. For diehard superhero connoisseurs, like me, who could forget Electra Woman and Dyna Girl? This female dynamic duo was the feminist answer to Batman and Robin. But Jamie and Steve were our favorites, and we tuned in weekly to watch them save the world from self-destruction.
The bionic man had two bionic legs, a bionic arm, and a bionic eye. The bionic woman had the same parts except for a bionic ear instead of the eye. After a while it got boring having the same bionic parts, so we decided to make up some new ones. Some of us decided to get creative when pretending we had superhuman parts.
We came up with bionic smelling, bionic thinking, and bionic stomachs that could eat and digest rocks, concrete, and other strange substances. And, of course, there were stupid middle school boys who had bionic “personal parts” that could do amazing things.
Maybe it was for the best that the bionic craze ended before my generation officially came of age. Pretending to be bionic mercifully went out of style along with patchwork peasant dresses and the AMC Gremlin.