Tuesday, May 9, 2023



I’ve talked before about how if one of my assistants goes out and about with me enough times, someone will inevitably refer to them as my son (or daughter.) It doesn’t matter if  my assistant is white or black or Latino or Asian or whatever. It’s happened to them all.

Usually what happens is someone sees me being assisted outside my home by one of the people in my pit crew, which is what I call the people who help me every day to get out of bed, etc. And the observer is curious about the nature of our relationship because most people’s idea of how things work is that the people who assist cripples every day are nurses or some sort of medical professionals. But my pit crew people don’t wear surgical scrubs or nurse-looking garb, They wear regular civilian clothes

 And so the observer concludes that if this person is not a medical professional then they must be from my family because those are the only other people who regularly assist cripples. Thus, observer says something like this to my pit crew person: “Its really great the way you help your dad.”

Something similar even happened to my pit crew member, Victor, although he’s older than me and black. Victor accompanied me to a pharmacy to get a vaccine. The pharmacist didn't seem to know what to make of us, probably because Victor wore civilian clothes and he was too old and black to be my son. So the pharmacist says to Victor, “Are you his guardian?”

I’ve also said that I look forward to the day when this doesn’t happen anymore because I think the level of confusion reflects how little a lot of people know about how cripples like me make our way through the world. It shows that too many people still assume that cripples who need as much help as I do either are sent off to nursing homes, where the medical professionals can look after us, or family helps us out for free. They have no idea that there are public programs like the one through which I hire my pit crew. I place ads and interview people and I hire the people I want and I set the schedule and determine the tasks and they get paid with state funds for being my assistants. It’s a great alternative to going into a stinkin nursing home or relying on family to help for free.

So the day when pedestrians stop thinking my assistants must be my offspring will be the day when it’s not so hard to imagine cripples getting assistance in the socially-cooperative manner that I do.

Well recently I went to a car repair garage with one of my pit crew guys, who is 23. And the mechanic says to me, “Is he your grandson?”

Things have changed, but not in the way I hoped.

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