Saturday, September 29, 2007

"Wheelchair Mean"

My brother has his own blog called, "Where I Sit." You can get to it via the link on the right. He writes about things in his life or voices an opinion on something.

Like yesterday he wrote a piece on how he thought Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl was now boring. He also emailed Steve as well to read it. He did and talked about it on hour two of his show of 9/28,

I listened to the 15 minute or so oration by Dahl and couldn't help myself from laughing. It was funny. During his ramble he and Buzz Kilman came up with the term, "Wheelchair Mean." They were going with the premise that disabled people were basically nice people and we should probably treat them the same way. My brother's attack (criticsm) on him according to Dahl was mean, "Wheelchair Mean."

I love the term. However, it should be pointed out to Steve and every other human that disabled people don't want to be treated any different than anybody else. There are without a doubt many people in wheelchairs who are pleasant individuals, cross them and they will get Wheelchair Mean. There are also some in wheelchairs who are just Wheelchair Mean 24/7. They will cut any man, woman, or child a new one at any given moment.

I won't mention any names but there was this couple, both disabled, who got married. A week later the bride got Wheelchair Mean and told her husband she never really loved him and basically just wanted the party. They got divorced.

So just remember not everybody in a wheelchair is a "good" person. Most are nice and want to be treated with respect and equal like everybody else. Postal workers on the rampage gave us the term, "Going Postal." In a sense now those people in wheelchairs on a rampage now have their own term, "Wheelchair Mean." Maybe this is our start towards equality.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Being disabled.

I've been disabled, handicapped, crippled, inconvenienced (pick one you like) for 47 years with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It falls under the hierchy of Muscular Dystrophy.
The other day I was thinking about being disabled. I usually don't think about it. Frankly I doubt able bodied people think about being able bodied either because it's our normal part of life. But when you have a blog you need to come up with things to write about.

I was thinking what is the hardest part of being disabled. Using a wheelchair saves on shoes being worn down, gets you on theme park rides quicker by avoiding the waiting lines, and gets you good parking spots in front which is great on cold days. So that's not bad.

Then I thought about all the stares you get from people as they look at you because many people are clueless. I'll stare back at them because their staring at me has them heading right for a light pole, SPLAT! So that's not bad either because people walking into poles is hilarious.

Kids staring is ok too because they're curious. Many children will even ask why I'm in a wheelchair and why I look like I do. Answering them actually gives them this feeling of, "Oh ok," and they go happily on their way. Unless their mom suddenly is in horror and yanks the kid's arm and yells, "Don't stare," before crashing into the light pole.

Obviously there are physical barriers to going places. You have to call ahead to make sure you can get in a place or arrange to have five skinny armed bus boys to pick your wheelchair up the steps. Once you're in you are usually treated nicely so that's a plus.

As the years go by your physical abilities diminish and you need more help. I miss the days of being able to eat a hotdog at the ballpark with no help, throwing back five too many beers without the use of a straw, and just being able to go anywhere at a moment's notice. You make your adjustments and your friends and family help you out. Enjoying life is the goal so one can't sulk.

The hardest part of being disabled is remaining the person you molded yourself into from childhood to adult life. All of the above can destroy your will and dignity, if you let it. Going with the flow of life and making the adjustments needed is the key to being disabled.