Archive for March 2009
My wife and I went to get our taxes done yesterday (I won’t bore you with the sob story that is the result) and I remembered that last year there was a question on the tax form that really bugged me and I wondered if anything had been done about it. The question reads “Are you or your spouse permanently and totally disabled?” Yes gets you a bit of a refund, No doesn’t.
I have spina bifida. I am in fact, permanently disabled. It is my role to play in this life. However I am not totally disabled. I tried again to point out the distinction to the tax preparer and she tried to explain it thusly:
“Well, by totally they just mean that you’re disabled and it is not going to change.” Something like that.
To which I replied “Isn’t that what ‘permanently’ means?” She had no response.
I will be contacting someone. It is not a matter of pride, as you can see I am perfectly willing to admit and accept that I am permanently disabled. But totally would imply…what? I mean the fact that I can type this is evidence that I am not totally disabled. And anyone who cannot type is still FAR from totally disabled. In fact, anyone who is “totally disabled would not be living because total disability would include the function of the person’s heart, correct?
For me, being in a wheelchair, sometimes it really is great to have a non-disabled person rebuke me for my actions if they are out of line, rather than just assuming that I am mentally challenged and let me off the hook. Let me give you an example from yesterday:
The office building at my apartment complex is under construction and has temporarily relocated downstairs. For weeks there have been signs up saying “Sorry about the inconvenience”. The mailboxes have remained accessible on the main floor throughout the construction.Yesterday however, I went there and the sign said “Office will be closed today sorry about the inconvenience.” I wondered if this sign meant the main floor or the relocated downstairs office. But when I checked the door to the main floor, even though there was construction going on in the back, it was not locked, so I thought OK it’s open, and went in and got my mail. As I was leaving, one of the workers approached me, and in a real gruff, aggressive voice said “Is there not a sign on the door that said “Do Not Enter”? As I attempted to answer, he interrupted me, with “Huh? Didn’t you see it? I’ll bet you did, didn’t you?”
He then pointed to the floor which had just been cemented or something, and was still drying. I apologized repeatedly but I told the man, quite reasonably I thought, that the sign did not, in fact, say “Do Not Enter”, and again tried to explain that I thought it referred to the office as it was current downstairs location.
Now, I don’t really think I deserved this type of rebuke from this man, as his sign clearly should have stated “Do Not Enter” or at LEAST “Wet Floor”. And I don’t understand why the door wasn’t blocked off in some way if not locked. I don’t think I got the chastising I got BECAUSE of my disability. In fact, it was great that he would go off on me, never taking my disability into consideration.
I forgive him because I understand they’d probably worked on that floor for a while only to have me come along and muck it up. Though I did not destroy it by any means, I should have questioned the signs further, I suppose.
Wow. I watched the broadcast with great interest, and was impressed with the poise and confidence with which the President discussed the economic situation and how he appears to be ready to clean up all of the immoral practices of corporate America that have been swept under the rug for too long.
I didn’t even notice this comment.
Everything else he was saying was more important. I am an American first and a disabled person…well, like fifth or sixth, but you get the idea.
But I will say that no matter how hard he works to rectify our economy and get this ship on the right course, a “joke” like that should not be considered “acceptable” for the President of the United States to make.
I write a lot on this blog about how disabled people can take a joke, and we are no more untouchable than anyone else. But the Special Olympics is for participants that are often very physically able people, and I would imagine a lot of the participants could bowl the Flag Pin right off of President Obama’s lapel!
Mr. President, I respect you for your initiative and for your passion, but please be careful. Don’t be a Biden. You’re much more intelligent than that one small comment would give you credit for.
Below I will leave a link to a story about a great effort of the Rotary International and the Gates Foundation to finally make polio a thing of the past. Yes polio has been, for the most part, a non-issue in U.S. for decades, but there are still people here living with its disabling after-effects, and there are still just four countries where it is still newly afflicting people, thankfully now in minimal numbers.
Before you write this off as another lost cause, Here is a chance to read a story with stats on specifically how much progress is being made. This is impressive when you compare it to, for example, the standstill we seem to be at with AIDS in Africa.
If the link expires, please contact a nearby Rotary or the (Bill) Gates Foundation for further information.
If you are like me and you have a disability, you likely feel empathetic toward anyone who has a disability which is more difficult to bear than your own. Whether you have a disability, know someone who does, or are just randomly coming across this story, I urge you to read the story and pitch in to the effort and tell a friend.
The only way we can get rid of terrible things like polio is by showing love, and choosing to help those who are afflicted, whom we don’t know, have never met, and probably never will.