At some point we lost the ability to say “handicapped.” As George Carlin pointed out once, they’re not handicapped, they’re handicapable. I’ve been seeing this commercial on TV for a while now about donating to the Shriner’s Hospital. They show all these kids who are missing limbs and have prosthesis and they’re doing something they otherwise wouldn’t normally be able to do. Like there’s this kid in a wheel chair and he can barely move anything on his body and he’s holding what appears to be a stick. Someone tosses him a ball and he mechanically turns his wheel chair to swing the bat (cause he can’t move his arm enough to swing) and he says “I can play baseball!”
The thing is, no, you can’t. You can do what you claim to be baseball, and for you it is, but in all actuality, you can’t play actual baseball. Are you prepared to hit a 95 MPH fastball? Or steal second? Or chase down a fly ball that rolled all the way back to the warning track? I don’t think so.
On the surface I’m coming off like some sort of jerk, but my point here is positive. It’s okay. WE put a stigma on being handicapped, when in all reality, there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just a word to describe someone’s situation. And to some degree we’re all handicapped. For instance, I can’t run a marathon, because I’m fat and out of shape. I’m marathon handicapped. And that’s fine! I’m allowed to be. There’s not anyone on this earth who can do everything perfectly.
I can’t play baseball, either! And I’m not physically handicapped! Point here is, why treat them any different? THAT is what makes them handicapped. Otherwise if you want them to think they’re just like everybody else, then you have to treat them like everybody else, and if that’s the case, then they wouldn’t have been lied to about doing something they physically cannot do.
I get the commercial though. They’re trying to pull at your heart strings and make you donate money to the Shriner’s. And that’s cool, I wish I had the money to donate, because I think it’s a worthy cause. But don’t fill my life with your bullshit. No, little Timmy, you can’t play hockey. Just because you can swing a hockey stick doesn’t make you a hockey player. Don’t kid yourself. It’s akin to putting on a toy space helmet and saying you’re an astronaut. No, the fuck you’re not.
And you don’t have to be physically handicapped to not be those things, either. I’ll tell any little kid, no Suzy, you’re not a ballerina just because you can spin in circles. It takes a lot of work to be a real ballerina, not just some $2 tutu your mom got for you off a clearance rack at Walmart. It doesn’t matter if Suzy’s handicapped or not. Don’t shove BS up their asses.
Being handicapped isn’t an excuse to lie to the kid. If you’re honest and direct from the beginning, their life won’t be filled with as many hardships as it could’ve been had you lied to them all their lives about what they can and can’t do.