I Can't Feel My Legs
When somebody utters this Stock Phrase, it usually means that they're going to be paralyzed.


(permanent link) added: 2011-06-10 21:29:38 sponsor: Chromical (last reply: 2011-06-13 23:47:09)

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A big battle is going on, and one of the good guys gets injured. Usually, it's not a main character, but rather a secondary one who utters the phrase "I can't feel my legs...". When this comes out of their mouth, you know that they're going to end up paralyzed in some way (usually for life). This is a common backstory for the Inspirationally Disadvantaged, Wheelchair Woobie, or someone with a Disability Superpower.

This trope is usually a spoiler, as well as a Stock Phrase. This is Played for Laughs a lot nowadays.

Examples

Anime/Manga Film
  • In the recent X-Men: First Class movie, Xavier says this after being shot in the back.
  • Tropic Thunder plays with it by having Tugg say the line after escaping an explosion and collapsing, only for Kirk to point out that it's because his legs are in a cold puddle.
  • Played for Laughs in Silver Bullet, the film adaptation of Stephen King's Cycle of the Werewolf, after the kids have killed the werewolf, Jane asks Marty if he's okay, and Marty (who is paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair), says "No... I think something's wrong with my legs! I can't feel them!" Cue the Dope Slap in response.
  • Donkey in Shrek:
    Donkey:"Oh, man! I can't feel my toes! [looks down at hooves] I don't have any toes!"
  • The Usual Suspects. The following scene occurs at the beginning of the movie. Later, we hear that Keaton was shot beforehand.
    Keyser Soze: How you doing Keaton?
    Keaton: I can't feel my legs...Keyser.
  • Scary Movie 2. Dwight is paraplegic.
    Buddy: Are you okay, Dwight?
    Dwight Hartman: I can't... I can't feel my legs. Aaahahaha, I can't feel my legs.
    Ray Wilkins: You never could.
    Dwight Hartman: Hey you stay out of this, all right?
Jokes
  • An old joke has a guy waking up in the hospital after an accident:
    Patient: Doctor, I can't feel my legs!
    Doctor: Of course you can't - I've cut off your arms.
Literature
  • In the Dresden Files book Changes, Harry himself utters this after falling and breaking his back.
  • Subverted in the beginning of Seekers of the Sky: after a crash landing, Ilmar discovers that he cannot feel his legs and thinks his back is broken. However, it turns out, they were simply numb from sitting in a cramped position with Marcus on his lap for a couple of hours.
  • Subverted in the first True Blood novel. Sookie gets beaten almost to death and says that she can't feel her legs. However, Bill then heals her with vampire blood.
Television
  • Mad TV, parodying the Budweiser's "Bud-Bowl" advertising campaign, featured a skit where a beer bottle got injured and yelled out, "I can't feel my label!"
  • The Simpsons: Falling asleep on a particularly long bus trip, Homer awakes and puts his hands on the blanket spread over his legs, then realizes he can't feel them. He starts punching them, screaming he can't feel his legs, when Marge groggily tells him they belong to the extremely tall guy behind him.
  • Charmed episode "All Hell Breaks Loose". Piper has been shot.
    Piper Halliwell: Prue, I'm cold. I can't - I can't - I can't feel my legs.
Theatre Video Games
  • Laharl from Disgaea utters these words in Disgaea 2. However this is subverted- he's not paralyzed, he is just really hungry because he hasn't eaten any nutritious food in a long time.
Web Original
  • In Klay World: Pancake Mines, A Klayman steps on a mine, which blows his legs off. He screams, "I can't... feel... my arms!" The Klayman's head then falls on another mine, setting off a chain reaction of explosions.
  • After being paralyzed from being pushed off a cliff by Vriska, Tavros of Homestuck says the following:
    AT: aG JUST JUMPED ME OFF A CLIFF,
    AT: wITH MY BRAIN,
    AT: aND, uHH
    AT: mY LEGS, aLSO,
    AT: aND NOW, tHEY FEEL,
    AT: iNVISIBLE,
    AT: wOW, i'M SURE THERE WAS A BETTER WAY TO SAY THAT,

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