One of the things about being disabled that really bothers me is having lost the ability to punch someone right in the nose. Of course, the disability is central to wanting to throw the punch in the first place. What I’m mumbling about is the category of self-appointed prophets of social wisdom who make statements like “You’re only a victim if you let yourself be one. If you’re a victim, it’s your own fault. Aside from wanting to pop them on the button, I also start wishing for a bolt of lightning or a meteorite to fall from the sky and smite them, laying them forever low.
I understand what they mean. They aren’t saying the people have terrible accidents or contract profound illness by choice. They mean that those of us who have suffered a significant physical handicap should grin and bear it; make lemons of lemonade. Do something inspirational so Reader’s Digest can ooh and ahh in enlarged type or the local news can put you in a “making a difference” segemnt. The fact is, people with profound handicap do pretty much the best they can with what they have to begin with, and so some ignorant bastard intimating that we should somehow do better is inevitable ill-informed and disrespectful. Not inspirational. Even Wilford Brimley would never suggest such a thing, fountain of inspirational Americana that he is.
Like ol’ Lance Armstrong. Everyone looks at Lance and because he had a suppressable cancer and managed to continue his life, he is lauded as an example of how it should be done. Lance was merely lucky enough to be able to continue his life because his cancer wasn’t the debilitating catastrophe that it is for many. The truth is, a lot of people with cancer continue their lives as much as they can, only relinquishing capability as it is wrenched away from them forcibly. No offense to Lance, but I’m impressed by him for his Tour d’ France cycling on its merits alone. I don’t consider him a cancer victim so much as I view him as an athlete with one of the cancers that modern medicine is able to contain –to the degree he is able to continue his career. His very physical state is testament to the limited effect cancer hand on him. So holding him up as an inspiration is actually kind of dishonest in my view.
The vast majority of people who are handicapped yet out and about are already doing their best. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be there to listen to some senseless pundit tell them they’re only a victim because they choose to be. The people who throw in the towel self-isolate to the point that they won’t be anywhere to hear those words or active enough mentally to encounter the words on a video broadcast or the printed word. So strike two for the dimwits who utter senseless phrases that cast blame on the victim.
Strike three is that those who spew this verbal diarrhea usually don’t know the people who are the target audience, meaning that these people are speaking out of turn about people they know nothing at all about. You see them floating from person to person at cocktail parties, madly painting themselves as intellectual illuminati for reasons I have to assume stem from low self image. I tend to think they belch their verbal flatuence to hide, even from themselves, their own low oipinion of themselves. After all, who but a low life is going to pick on a gimp?
Where society would be up in ars immediately had someone slapped the face of a disabled person as they sat in their wheelchair, for some reason much of society merely nods sagely as people speak their so called inspiration. No one stands up and asks “What do you know about this person? How can you make an assertion like that?” No one calls a person who inflicts an emotional assault like that on the carpet as they should. Why? Because we perceive this person to be learned and positive rather than a wolf in sheeps clothing. There is something very terribly wrong with what these people are saying and they have no idea how much emoptional pain they dump on a handicapped person when they spew that shit. I know. I have had it said to me and I felt terrible for a few days as I took the responsibility for all of the things that people had to do for me because I couldn’t do it for myself. Then too, I would end up hurting myself as I tried to be more active and to be more contributory, taking a double hit off of the single incident.
Much better to congratulate the people who have to work with disability for the things they manage to do as they try to live their lives in spite of pain or challenge. Life is not something that can be summed up in a Hallmark Card phrase, and anyone who thinks it can should be folded, stapled and mutilated.