I have a physical disability: I was born without fingers on my right hand. Don’t worry, it’s cool. Bitches love nubbins.
…Actually, no they don’t. I’m not even sure why I said that. I think it’s because I was trying really hard to make this a post that had no swearing or inappropriate humor, and I cracked after two sentences.
Anyway, one thing I’ve noticed from living a life with a handicap is that a lot of people assume that your disability is something to be sorry about. Like your life would be somehow better if you didn’t have it. Well, the joke’s on you, fools! The truth is that there is all kinds of awesome going on when you are missing a body part or two or three or…what’s the maximum number of parts you can lose before you’re a head? I’m going to use broad strokes and say five.
Here are my top nine most awesome things about having a physical disability:
1. If you love attention, boy do I have a gig for you!
Ever wonder what it’s like to be famous? To go to the grocery store and have people give you a double take? Do you enjoy being gazed at in adoration and/or horror by people you don’t know? Get yourself a physical disability. Every day of your life you’ll feel like Angelina Jolie, if Angelina Jolie had survived a horrible house fire.
2. “So sorry, my hand isn’t thinking straight.”
You can use your disability as an excuse for the most random things, and even the most enlightened people will think it over for a second before calling you on your bullshit.
“Dear Professor Dumbledore, I am so sorry that I missed my exam this morning. See, my finger-less hand was acting up, which made walking impossible.”
“Dear supervisor, I apologize for calling my co-worker Brad an ‘insufferable miserable cock-wielding nightmare.’ I’m afraid my lack of limb got the better of me today. It won’t happen again.”
3. You get to stand with the oppressed. It’s where the cool kids are.
You know all those people who are gay and/or not white and/or of a religion that doesn’t start with “C”? These are your people when you are disabled. And it has been my experience that the most kick-ass people are the ones who have had to deal with a whole lot of adversity. Nothing gives you perspective like being told you can’t have a job because of the person you’re married to. Or that the apartment you came to look at just got leased the moment they saw your skin color. And honestly, nothing is funnier than the saddest experiences you’ve ever had; so come sit by me, and we shall tell tales and laugh about whitey/straight people/assholes who can walk. It’s gonna be a good time.
4. We have the Paralympics: they’re like the regular Olympics, only harder.
“Hey, did you see the winter Olympics? Man, those skiers were amazing.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, are you talking about the skiers with two legs? Yeah, really inspiring. ‘Hey, look at me! I’ve got one leg per ski and an arm for each pole!’ I bet that takes a lot of skill and all kinds of inventive assistive devices. What’s that? It just takes practice? Oh, I see. Well, that sounds hard, too.”
5. It’s easy to id the bad guys.
Basically, if someone screams or can’t stop staring when they see my disability, they go into a certain box. And in that box, I am liable to stroke their faces gently with my nubs, or perhaps see if I can stick just the tip of one into their mouths.
6. You get to check that box on forms.
As a white woman, I don’t get to check a whole lot of special boxes on forms.
“Are you a veteran?” No. My fear reflex involves a whole lot of urination.
“What is your race/ethnicity?” Just white bread whitey white white.
“Are you disabled?” Why…yes. Yes I am.
Guess who’s getting to the interview before they learn I’m not qualified? This gal, right here.
7. “Thanks, I’ll just supervise.”
Worried about carrying heavy things? Don’t feel like helping when your best friend moves? Excellent. I’ll save you a spot on the couch.
8.Thanks to Oscar Pistorious, you can now be the “good kind” of disabled person.
Before, they pitied us. Now, they fear us. Oscar Pistorious, the Olympic runner who is also a double amputee, murdered his girlfriend last year like an asshole. Now, let’s just say some generalizations are being made.
“You should meet my friend Bill! He’s really cool. You should know, though, that he doesn’t have any legs.”
“Excellent. I shall bring my gun in case I need to use it for self-defense.”
“…What are talking about?”
“You know…Pistorious? What if he’s one of those crazy cripples who likes to murder people?”
“Oh no no no — he’s a nice guy. Really articulate, doesn’t shove his lifestyle down your throat, you know. All those things that make difference comfortable for us.”
“Nice! Do you think he’ll let me touch a leg?”
9. People assume that you’re brave
I am a coward. I am afraid of heights and people and driving on steep hills. So if people want to think that I am brave because I walk around with my hand out and my freak flag flying, that is cool with me. I’ll take it. Sure, you can call me courageous. “Hero” is also a word that doesn’t get thrown my way quite enough, but I think we can both agree that it applies.
So the next time you run into someone who is missing a leg, or has both arms cut off at the elbow, pick them up and apologize (the dude’s missing a leg, for chrissakes), and then tell them how lucky they are. And when they ask why, tell them because of Oscar Pistorious and heavy boxes. And then walk away proudly, knowing they will have a great story to tell their friends.