Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"I like her sticks!"

A consistent issue all disabled people deal with is judgmental strangers. Sometimes the snap judgments are good, some are bad, and some are downright horrific and make you want to bang your head against a wall.

One of the weirdest things I get from strangers is, “What’s wrong with you!” Note the lack of a question mark- this is often not a question, but rather a demand that I inform people of my life history. Why they feel the need to know quite so emphatically, I do not know, but that’s humanity for you. There’s always a few odd balls. Depending on my mood, I’ll sometimes give a short answer that’s true but way oversimplified, a curt stare, or, if I’m really feeling cantankerous, “I was bit by a shark- what’s you’re excuse?”

The best comments I've ever gotten, though, have both been from kids. One was a little girl, about 4 years old, who asked me why I “used sticks like Grammies.” I told her my leg didn't work very well, but I made sure I got the cool sticks- purple ones with springs in them. The little girl then solemnly checked out my crutches, walked back to her mother, and informed her, “I like her Tigger legs! They're cool.” I now inform kids that my crutches are my super-secret Tigger legs.

My awesome Tigger Legs, complete with purple and white decals

The second comment was made last weekend by an adorable tot while I was at a local mall. I didn't even catch the kiddo checking out my crutches, my mom did, and she brought it to my attention. (Little kids are adorable as they try to solve this bizarre riddle the world has presented them with.) This particular little girl was about 5 years old and was dressed up in her Sunday best. After watching me walk with awe for a moment, she hurried to catch back up to her mother where she blurts out, “I like her sticks!!”

Now if we could get the whole world on that same wave length, life would be awesome.

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