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“Push Girls” Off To a Good Start

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by Treadmarkz

“Push Girls” debuted last night on Sundance Channel. I thought the show started off good. It’s not your typical study of people in wheelchairs trying to fit into society really. It covers a variety of issues from relationships, and employment that are often struggles for those in chairs. But the chairs become secondary when the series surveys other key issues, such as homosexuality, work stresses, etc. which really drive home the point that these ladies deal with everyday things. There lives are not just “wheelchair, wheelchair, wheelchair, 24/7.

One of the four ladies featured on the show describes how it is talking with clients of her business on the phone, setting up in-person appointments with them, and then the reaction when they see she is in a chair. This is a case-study in and of itself.

Another struggles in her long-term relationship with an able-bodied man who does not think he wants kids, but she knows that she does. I loved how this turned the tables on what one might expect. You know, an able bodied man wanting kids but in a relationship with a woman who may not be able to because of her disability. She is sure of it and wants that experience, and he eventually ends the relationship. But the woman showed herself to be strong in her convictions, ready to end the relationship herself if need be. A poignant moment was her saying (to the camera in a private tell-all moment) that she wasn’t going to be one of those disabled people who stayed in a relationship that wasn’t what she wanted just because she felt like she would never have another chance.

It would be sad for a disabled person to live like that. But I couldn’t help thinking it would also be sad if the perfect person for her happened to be another man in a wheelchair and she just didn’t recognize it.

Another enters a dance competition wherein she is the only contestant who is not standing. It is interesting to see her prepare for this, knowing that all eyes will be on her, knowing that she’s at a distinct disadvantage from the beginning, and knowing that some will see her participation as a novelty. She is not doing it to show off, or stand out. She is doing it because she has always been a dancer, and will always be a dancer, working legs or no working legs. She is not a novelty and she shows it in the competition.
The series speaks volumes about our place in society as disabled people. In every aspect of life, we throw ourselves into it, and participate. My wife and I cannot wait for next week’s episode.

Sarah Palin Goes to War with The Family Guy

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by Treadmarkz

I have defended Sarah Palin’s actions in the past on this blog, particularly in regard to her putting her developmentally disabled child in the spotlight. But when Palin recently criticized the makers of the FOX animated comedy “The Family Guy” last week, I was a little more than amused at her antics.
The trouble started when “The Family Guy” aired an episode in which the teenage boy in the family, Chris, develops a crush on a girl in his school and asks her out. The girl in question has Down Syndrome. Palin took issue with the depiction.

I can see how Palin, as the parent of a child with a disability can get a little sensative about the issue, but in this episode, sure maybe the fact that the girl was disabled was the joke, but think about it this way: As long as you don’t immediately see this scenario as unrealistic, then its not a joke. And as long as that’s true, then all “The Family Guy” did was make it okay for a “normal” kid to find something beautiful about a girl with a disability. Turns the joke around on itself.

DIGRESSION FROM THE TOPIC: I don’t know if this was a regional thing when I was growing up, but often when a girl was called a “dog” you’d hear her respond with “dogs bark, bark grows on trees, trees are nature, nature is beautiful, thank you for the compliment.” Turning the insult into a compliment. (Takes a little more thought than a simple “I know you are but what am I?”)

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah…

Same principle is at work here. I don’t mean to sound naive or overly idealistic, but I truly believe this. People are going to joke. We with disabilities cannot stop that. Life goes on and we all shine on.

A lot of  females with disabilities, in wheelchairs particularly it seems, feel that something of their femininity is taken from them by their physical appearance. This episode made the girl attractive, at least to Chris. And that is all it takes is for one person to find you attractive or worthy of love and affection and you’re on your way to something great.
If you haven’t seen the episode, then SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!! I also liked it that they showed, once again (I know I go off on this a lot) that a person with a disability is not always a saint. This girl just so happens to turn out to be a bit of a meanie.

Oh yeah and as to the fact that the girl in the episode said her mom was the former governor of Alaska, big deal. If that was what Palin was all in a fit ab0ut, well all I can say is politicians get a lot of jokes flung in their directions.

I don’t know. What do you all think?

Cheers. Aum.

Is “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton About a Disabled Man and an Able-Bodied Woman?

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by Treadmarkz,

Here’s a weird one.

I was flipping through http://www.songfacts.com and I came across “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. Songfacts is a site where fans can submit “facts” or, mostly opinions actually, and a lot of misinformation, about any song you can think of. Under “Wonderful Tonight” I found an entry from someone putting forth the theory that “Wonderful Tonight” (one of the greatest love songs of all time, next to “Layla” also by Clapton) was written about a man in a wheelchair and his able-bodied girlfriend/wife. Let’s analyze the lyrics to see if we can’t find a nugget of truth in this hypothesis:

“We go to a party/Everyone turns to see/this beautiful lady/walking around with me” – If the stress and focus is on the word “walking” it could suggest that the person she is with is not, himself, walking. But that is really suspending disbelief, so let’s move on.

“I give her the car keys/she puts me to bed” – This is about a man who is unable to drive. Not able to at all or just as a result of intoxication or fatigue? More and more disabled people are driving, but in the 1970s when this song was recorded, this may not have been so. And the second line may have something to do with a woman physically lifting the man from his wheelchair into bed.

That’s about all I see backing up the aforementioned claim. But the overall theme of the song is a man who is desperately in love with his woman, who “just doesn’t realize how much” he loves her. I am married to a woman who is not “disabled” in the usual sense of the word (She told me herself that she believes that everyone is disabled to some degree), so I can identify with that feeling, the desperation to tell that person how much their unconditional love means to you. However, I would hope that anyone in love has felt it that strongly.

And so, upon deep reflection on this matter, I think that “Wonderful Tonight” is just a regular, boring, good ol’ fashioned walkie love song. Case closed. I have spoken. Turn out the lights. Don’t let the door hit ya.