By R. Franklin August 26, 2011
Before I start this list, I would like everyone to know that I am not making fun of or minimizing the difficulties of being disabled. Anyone in their right mind, and most of us who aren’t understand that living with a disability can be very difficult. I am disabled, so I have freedom to talk about this. Remember, laughter makes everything easier…except maybe eating with your mouth closed.
#10. Handicapped parking – Imagine trying to find a parking spot when someone takes the one you were about to get. Suddenly a handicap spot opens up and you can hang your placard, laugh your best villain laugh, and stick your tongue out at the driver who is now parked several cars behind you.
#9. People are nice (in general) – Our dog got out of the back yard and knocked over a little neighborhood girl (another reason cats are better). When the mom came over to yell at us and I came to the door in my wheelchair, she blushed and started explaining that she just wanted to make sure that the dog wasn’t mean and her kids didn’t need to fear it…silly kids. Now, I don’t recommend letting your dogs out to terrorize the neighborhood, but I do not think she would have had the same attitude if I had not been in a wheelchair. Ok, that one’s not too funny. Sorry.
#8. You can pull great April Fools Day pranks – I can carefully lie on the floor with ketchup all over me and totally get my husband/kids ha ha… Okay, so I don’t actually do that because it would be mean. To all you kids out there, April Fools Day is the best holiday of the year, but people should never pull pranks that cause others to worry or cry. (Although you can think about them and write about them on your blog).
#7. You have access to some of the coolest gadgets out there – My wheelchair is the deluxe model, (pink flames, full tilt, leg lift, can bring up to eye level/counter height, etc.) but you know what I like even more? My grabber. Even if you are not disabled, you should get one of these things. It can pick up small pieces of paper, things that weigh about 3 lbs, and can reach into small cracks that your hand could never fit in. I got one for free from the therapists (best thing about breaking my hip), but you can buy them online and probably in some stores. Here’s a link: http://www.activelivingnow.com/Reachers_Grabbers_s/75.htm?gclid=CKrf9KuI66oCFUkZQgodBxAeNw
#6. Provides great writing material – If you enjoy writing, having a disability can provide some great ideas. I am working on my books The Art of Wetting Yourself, The Silence of the Hamstrings, I’ve Fallen and Can’t Reach My Grabber, and a few others. Look for them soon at a bookstore near you!
#5. Life slows down – Not only can you “stop to smell the roses”, but you can also make people walking behind you uncomfortable, notice the dust all over your house, pretend you are dancing under a strobe light by stopping every few feet to rest and changing your pose, and other fun things.
#4. Access to painkillers – Sure it would be better if you didn’t have the pain to begin with, but at least we can go to the pharmacy to pick them up instead of hanging around a high school parking lot. (Doing drugs in never funny and is illegal without a prescription for it. I just used that as #4 because I am running out of ideas).
#3. A whole new assortment of accessories – walker skins, cup holders for your wheelchair, bags to hook on to your assistive devices, etc. (I use a fanny-pack thing with 2 cup holders and a zipper pouch in the middle strapped on to my walker). Not only is it easier to find things than with a purse, it has cupholders…when are the purse manufacturers going to figure that one out?)
#2. Little children stare at you – Ok, I know it sounds like that would be a bad thing, but think of all the embarrassed parents. All the lectures going on about how kids shouldn’t stare at people who are different, etc. If you added it all up, I bet you would be as well-known as any movie star. (Too bad we don’t make money off people watching us).
#1. You have an opportunity to reach out to the world – Although sometimes (especially around a certain time each month) I am sure I get as depressed/angry/suicidal as anyone else, but if I am having a good day, I like to think that maybe I made a difference in someone’s life. Whether it is just by showing my kids that they can’t let life’s circumstances get them down (unless again, it is that time of the month) or helping someone realize that there is always someone worse off than you, so suck it up and quit complaining. Sometimes life throws you a curve and you just have to do what you can and to do what you love.