A Courtesy Call From Your Friendly Neighborhood Handicapped Lady
This one goes back a few years, but it is something that popped into my mind last night, and I would love to read people’s thoughts on the subject:
When I was still living at home with my parents, I remember them talking about sales calls they would get from a woman identifying herself only as “the handicapped lady”. What she was selling or advocating is lost to history, but the point is she used her disability as a…well, a gimmick. I don’t wanna get off on a rant here, but it also pigeonholed her as a person with disabilities, and not much more. That was all she wanted people to know about her, it seemed.
I suppose all of us with disabilities may have used our situation, blatantly or not, as a way to gain someone’s sympathy (“I can’t do that, my legs don’t work”), trust (people tend to think that disabled people are incapable of back-stabbing behavior, but it is simply not true), or just to gain an advantage that able-bodied people would not get (billions examples from un-needed SSI payments to everyday things like a seat closer to the door – anything).
But how far is taking it too far? When is using your disability to your advantage (or as a gimmick) just unhealthy self-deprecation, and a plea for pity, i.e., “the handicapped lady”?