Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Muscular Dystrophy Mike

I’m sure glad that that which makes me crippled isn’t contagious. Life would sure suck if it was.

That which makes me crippled would then become the indelibly central feature of my name and identity. I’d be like Typhoid Mary.

That which makes me crippled is called spinal muscular atrophy, I think. I don’t really know or care. It is what it is. When I was a kid everybody called it muscular dystrophy. So if I was contagious, I’d be known as Muscular Dystrophy Mike. That has a catchy, alliterative ring to it. It’s much easier to remember than Spinal Muscular Atrophy Mike. And this would be vitally important to remember, if I was contagious, because permanently attaching that which makes me crippled to my name would serve as a warning to innocent citizens everywhere to stay away from me, lest they suffer my fate.

If I was contagious, I trust that there are many liberal people who would stand up in defense of my human dignity. They would demand that I be referred to in “people first” language. Put the name of the person before the name of the diagnosis and call me Mike Who Happens to Have Muscular Dystrophy, so as to emphasize the person first. I mean, contagious people are more than just contagious. They have hopes, dreams and aspirations, just like the uncontagious. They should be judged by the content of their character, not by their potential to spread lethal pathogens.

Look at poor Typhoid Mary. What does anyone remember about her other than she gave a bunch of people typhoid as was quarantined for it? For all we know, she might have been a great cello player. She might have been able to communicate telepathically with whales. We don’t know and that’s my point. As soon as someone is hung with the label of contagious, we all rush to demonize them.

Imagine if everything that makes cripples crippled was contagious. Beside Muscular Dystrophy Mike, there would also be Down Syndrome Debbie, Bipolar Bob, Alzheimer’s Annie and Lou Gehrig's Disease Lou. The sanitariums would be teeming.

But through the grace of God, none of us are contagious. But that’s no guarantee we won’t be quarantined anyway. People who are schizophrenic aren’t contagious but they’re locked up in asylums all the time. A lot of people who are crippled for the same reason I am get locked up in nursing homes. It’s usually because they can’t wipe their own asses and they can’t afford to hire someone to do it for them. I guess that freaks people out as much as if we were contagious.

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