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Heard - Said - Thought

Dave Hingsburger | 10:55 UK time, Friday, 13 July 2007

So many times in my life, I've had to watch what I say. The words that appeared automatically in my mind had to remain forver shut away. Well, not forever, forever - sometimes they came out along with roaring laughter after a pint or two at the pub. But this phenomena has been happening a lot more since I became disabled. I don't think that the moment I plopped my bum into a wheelchair the world got supider. No, it's just that people have said some spectaularly stupid things to me.

So, here is what I heard, Followed by what I said. Finally there's what I thought.

"Do you think that all people with Down Syndrome are angels sent to be among us?"

"I think there are good and bad in all of us."

"You, my dear are a buffoon."


"What have you learned about life now that you are in a wheelchair?"

"I've learned that people aren't different just because they roll rather than walk."

"I'm crippled, not mystical, and if I was an oracle, I'd want more of an offering than a simpering smile.


"Do you want me to pray for you?"

"God and I already have a conversation going."

"If I wanted you on you knees, it wouldn't be for praying."


"I saw another one of you guys today, he's got red hair, do you know him?"

"I don't know everyone who has a disability."

"Yeah, he's agent crip 17 and he's part of our sleeper cell here Canada. Drat we've been discovered."


"Didn't you find Christopher Reeve inspiring?"

"Well, I have differing views of disability, but he was a brave man."

"Superwhimp if you ask me, Virginal Hall is my crip hero - yeah I know you've never heard of her dumb twit."


"Can you still have, you know, relations?"

"My parents are still alive, yes."

"Let me show you."


"Don't you wish that you'd lived a better, cleaner life so you wouldn't have faced this."

"My disability isn't a result of moral decline."

"Put your face in a brook and don't look up until you're dead.

So this demonstrates some self restraint on my part. I'm wondering, has anyone else has spectacualry stupid things said to them ... what did you say, what did you think

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  • 1.
  • At 11:54 AM on 13 Jul 2007, Martijn wrote:

An old lady waiting next to me for the elevator:
"Do you work? Do you drive? Etcetera"
- "Yes, Yes, I'm fine, thanks"
(thinking: "Lady, don't you get it? Who are you and why are you talking to me? Don't be so nosey!"

"Get well soon!"

My best mate used to say this to me every time he saw me on a bedridden day - while we thought I just had flu that was one thing, but six months after the diagnosis of a long-term, not-likely-to-get-better type of illness, it wore thin. He just couldn't help it. Luckily I trained him to slap his *own* head and now, two years on, he has desisted.

My uncles at my brothers wedding reception last year, when learning I had a congenital brain malformation that wasn't diagnosed until i was 30

"We always knew there was something wrong with you, even when you were a baby"

" Well, you know my excuse. Now what the $#!* is yours?"

And when people see my scar

"Ooo..what happened?"

" Knife fight at a Bjork Concert. Someone came up behind me and yelled " I AM the earth Intruder!" and well, yeah, you see!"

My boxing coach standing over my face down body telling another student: "I've learned there is no point in asking Liz if she needs help; just wait until she finally asks you."

I just can't figure out if I was complimented or insulted?

Thanks for the "in the head" list - of course, I don't know every wheelchair person in town, but I do know the brand and type of their wheelchair.

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