When I was out on the Coker today. I had to walk a short distance down to a gate. As I approached the gate, a man approached it from the other side. He had no left arm, and his right arm was about half-sized.
He painstakingly undid the lock and chain, threaded the chain out of the way, and opened the gate. Then he stood to one side and said, with dry irony, ‘Come on then… as you’ve only got one wheel.’
The number one birth defect in the US is males born with the left arm underdeveloped from the elbow down. It’s surprizing how much more it occurs than any other defect (I don’t recall the statistics). My nephew is this way. A co-worker went by the nick name bandit (as in one-armed). I had a teacher who always started on the right side of the room, since he was ‘right handed’. Those who have accepted it can make light of it, but it’s usually not polite for the unafflicted to poke fun.
The other day I was riding my highwheel in town and had to stop at a light by a buss stop. A guy waiting in a wheel chair asked me if he could try. I didn’t know what to say, but he seemed to enjoy watching me try to answer.
Life is not fair, but we have equal opportunity to enjoy it.
Several years ago, I fell off my bike and broke my jaw. Man, bikes are dangerous. I found out I was going to have to have my jaw wired shut for three weeks. I was walking into my building one day before going to the oral surgeon. Phil Williams was screaming down the hill on his bicycle calling out my name. I waited as he came to a stop in front of me. He said, “man, Harper. I heard you were going to have to have your mouth wired shut. That’s tough.”
He was serious. He was genuinely concerned about the hardship that imposed on me. I thought, “yeah, Phil. That’s tough. I have to have my mouth wired shut for three whole weeks.”
Phil Williams had his right arm blown off in a power station accident 10 years prior to that. He was riding down that steep hill on a ten speed bike that he had modified so he could ride it with one arm. He wasn’t going to get the other one back three weeks later. Yeah, Phil, having my jaw wired shut was really tough. Perspective is an odd thing.
The very first time I tried to ride a unicycle was when I’d seen it in the garage of a friend of a friend (a guy called Dave). A few of us tried it without much luck and Dave was giving us helpful hints, “try doing such and such with your legs” and the like.
That evening when we’d left, one of my friends said he felt a little weird trying to ride a unicycle in front of Dave. Dave had been in a wheelchair for a few years since falling out of a tree and breaking his back, and doing something so obviously “able bodied oriented” in front of him made my friend a bit uneasy (guilty maybe?).
To be honest the thought hadn’t even entered my mind as Dave seemed to have his life fairly well sorted and kept pretty active (scuba diving, quad biking and such). I’ve been around enough “disabled” people to realise that, as has already been said, generally they are more adjusted to how they have to live than many people feel they themselves would be. Maybe that’s part of the reason some people feel uncomfortable, they feel they couldn’t cope in a similar situation?
Whoa, I’ve got way too serious! Obviously my impending birthday has got me in a contemplative mood. Someone tell me before it hits me, what does 33 feel like?
I recently turned 38. I um, er, can’t remember what 33 was like. (not that I’m getting old and senile)
Thirty was a milestone. And 32 was way cool because it’s two to the fifth. Wait until you turn 36 – you will be on the downward slide to 40. (35 is okay, because you are still in your “mid-thirties”). Thirtythree should be just another day (but with cake).
But then again, we have the ultimate remedy for growing old – unicycling. So I wouldn’t worry about the actual numbers. They are just a formality. Go for a ride on your birthday.
Greg – three times worse than eleven (or 11*3 + worse, or whatever you meant) still sounds wonderful. How about – 33 is “half as bad as 66”
I remember it like it was 9 years ago. It was before I owned my first unicycle. Before my only surprise birthday party. Before I was divorced. Before stock dropped like a bomb. Before I was laid off. Before I realized you can’t plan for everything. Before I attended my first USA convention. Looking back, I never realized how unhappy I was. I can’t wait to get older.
Personally, I can’t wait until 7th July, then I’ll be 33 1/3! I’ll be an LP record. Oh hang on, young people read this, LP is short for Long Playing and a record is a flat black vinyl disk with a hole in the middle and stores sounds/music. Kind of like a CD but not as easy to play in your car;)
I’ll be digging out my old records from the cellar on that day. Maybe I’ll get round to listening to that whole boxed set of “Einstein On The Beach” that I bought about 15 years ago and only managed one side of. What was I thinking of, one record of Philip Glass is good, but several hours is just too weird Dancepieces IX will probably suffice.
if u r going to limit yourself to just one phillip glass album surely it must be ‘music with changing parts’?
not only am i shamelessly trying to foist my personal taste on your celebration, but it is after all the one piece that glass himself admitted to not playing live very often ‘because it was a bit spacy’
anything that’s ‘a bit spacy’ for phillip glass is bound to be something special
i love having the album around for that first date back at my place
it’s a nice lil’ litmus test
as for 33?
i’m almost two years on and i’m still enjoying becoming more and more human as i go along
for any futher comments, c the sig line below
Now why does it not surpirse me that you’re a Glass fan Dave? I do have quite a few of his albums, but they’re all in the cellar as there’s no room in my flat for a turntable. Well, there’s room, but my wife prefers the minimal look and keeping her happy seemed the best move. I’ve been gradually replacing my records with CDs, but it takes a long time when you only buy a few a year and I’m afraid some of the more esoteric stuff takes a lower priority.
You know when you’re a teenager (you remember that far back?) and your parents tell you off for playing your music too loud, saying it’s just too repetitive. When you listen to Philip Glass, Tangerine Dream and the like, then maybe they have a point:p