Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trying to attain normalcy...

A few weeks ago my coworker Lori and I were out and about when we spotted a security guard on a Segway. I commented how cool that would be for the disabled, that they wouldn't be in a wheelchair, looking up at everyone, that they could be at eye level, moving along smartly and feeling "normal." Wondering if there were Segways for the disabled, I ran across this article.

I didn't feel good after I read it, in fact, I felt sickened. Why? Because it's another example of limitations for the disabled. See, everyone cheers if you beat the odds, perform amazing feats, but try to blend in and just live a normal life without wearing the big blue "D" on your chest, or try to use a mobility device or prosthetic that gives you an "advantage" (ha - advantage - how funny is that?) and you can find yourself in the situation this man did.

When I was between legs, waiting to see if my knee would heal, Dave made me a decoy leg out of Pringle's cans. I found that if I wore the decoy leg and used crutches, that strangers would joke with me and my co-workers felt more comfortable because a "broken" leg looked more "normal." Without the Pringle's decoy, people would either look the other way, avoid me altogether, or, worst case scenario, the other extreme - go slack-jawed, stare, point at the offending missing limb and blurt out, "What happened there?!" If this happens to you, be sure to quickly turn around and shout out, "Where?!" This should start an interest exchange of "Where?!" "There!" "Where?!" until you look down in horror and discover that your body part is missing whereupon you shriek in horror (don't hold back!), "Oh My GOD-MY-LEG?! WHERE'S MY LEG?!" then, as dignified as possible, walk off and leave them basking in their own stupidity and ignorance.

Anyway, give the article a read when you can - it's insightful and very well written.