Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Archive for the ‘rock music’ Category

A Historical What-If: MLK, JFK, Lennon as Disabled Activists

with 3 comments

by Treadmarkz

I am a history major so, as pointless as I know they are, the “what-if” questions of history are always irresistible to me. This one is also irresistible to me because I often hear of people who lose the ability to walk and say things like “I wish I were dead” or “my life isn’t worth living now.” For those of you who can walk, and ever thought about how you would react if you lost that ability, consider this:

I read a blog posting by Dusiteen where he says that he is looking for the Martin Luther King of the disabled community. A great idea itself, but it set my mind in motion in another direction entirely. So many people who have been considered activists have been gunned down, either for their beliefs, or just randomly. Martin Luther King, John Lennon, John Kennedy. None of these men were afraid to speak their conscience on peace and understanding in general or on specific issues, political or social, that sparked their interest, sympathy or even ire. All of them were shot dead. I can’t help wondering what if they were shot, but not killed. Only left paralyzed.

I realize how morbid this sounds, but think about it. What if John Lennon’s assassin’s bullet had put Lennon in a wheelchair instead of the grave. It would only be natural that some of that activist spirit would be redirected. I wonder what a song by Lennon speaking up for the rights of the disabled would have sounded like. I have written an earlier posting about John Lennon’s charitable activities on behalf of the disabled, but what if he was one of them himself?

And, as President, how would a paraplegic JFK have affected disabled rights legislation? Would the ADA have come more than 20 years earlier than it actually did, had our president been put in a wheelchair during his tenure? FDR was in a wheelchair but he hid it. By the 60s I don’t think that disabilities in America were kept quite as deep in the closet as they were in the 30s when FDR took office. This could have been an opening toward some real progress.

How would Martin Luther King, one of American History’s greatest orators, have used his power to evoke emotion in his audience to effect change for the betterment of the lives of those Americans who, like him, lived life on four wheels?

Obviously, we will never know, but I can’t help trying to construct all different scenarios, how the ’60s and the ’80s would have been reshaped by these disabled activists.  What if the assassin of Gandhi, the grandfather of all political activists, had failed to kill him, but put him in a chair? Why put these men through that, even as a what-if exercise? Well, the world would be a very different place. Just imagine…

Advertisements

A Whole Lot a-Shakin’ in the Life of Treadmarkz

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz

I haven’t posted anything in a while because I have had a lot happening in my life. First, I have had a friend review my first draft of a novel, called “War Is Over” and now I am planning to hit that hard to get it ready for publication. If you are unfamiliar with the phrase “War Is Over”, it was an anti-war campaign initiated by John Lennon and Yoko Ono Lennon in 1969. But this is not an anti-war book. It is a pro-understanding book.

Secondly, I have been preparing myself for a job interview. I was interviewed today for a new position at the company I work for. New position, new responsibilities. Fun stuff! If I get the job, I look forward to the challenge! But I shan’t get my hopes up prematurely.

Thirdly, I have been exchanging emails with a couple who have two children with Spina bifida. We will call the couple Tim and Jane. I heard about them through a friend of mine and I jumped at the chance to get to know them. I think it is important for all of us with disabilities to do all we can, first to educate able-bodied people about why we are their equals in every way except some superficial and physical ways.

But also, if we meet people who are raising children with the same disability as we have, to talk with them and, even though every child is different, try to help them to understand what may lie ahead with their child, and offer them advice on how to give the child the best chance they can at being the same as everyone else. I think I can safely say that all disabled people went through that at one time or another.

“I’m different. Why? I don’t want to be different. Wait a minute…sure I am different, but barely. So what? I wish people wouldn’t treat me like I am different!”

And finally, if you have a chance to mentor a child or young adult who is going through the same things you went through at that stage of life, it is important to do so. It’s a legacy thing but it is also a way to do wonders with the knowledge that you have which may be exponentially more valuable than you think. If the parents worry about bringing up a health, happy child who is equal to his peers, think of how the child himself/herself feels!

I look forward to speaking with Tim and Jane again.

Rick Renstrom – Britain’s Disabled Guitar Idol

with 2 comments

by Treadmarkz

As often as I can, when I am not sharing my own experiences and thoughts, I like to offer stories about other people with disabilities, to show what real people with disabilities are doing, what they are accomplishing, what they can accomplish.

Though I generally don’t like heavy blazing electric guitar solos, as a lover of rock music, I am very impressed with this man, Rick Renstrom‘s playing. Renstrom is a contestant on the U.K. television series “Guitar Idol” and he has a disability. He was either born with his arms/hands the way they are, or he maybe lost the business end of his arms, but was able to get his hands stitched back onto what remained. According to this blog posting, Renstrom gives no information on his disabilities. And I understand that. He wants to be known as a great guitar player, not a great guitar player “considering he is disabled.” And he really is just a great guitar player.

Plus he could be close to what I was looking for when I wrote the posting in this link.

In earlier postings I said how I wished that people with disabilities could just be known as someone who is great at what they do, not someone who is great at what they do considering they are disabled. But I think they best way to get to that point is to show that the talents of people with disabilities are equal and sometimes greater than those of others.

We’re getting there, people. Please comment your thoughts on whether blogs like this are productive in getting to that point. I have my opinion, I want to hear yours.

Check out the video at the bottom of the page in the first link above. For those of you who don’t like heavy metal, believe me, it is worth a listen, especially if you are an apiring guitar player.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers: Disabled Empowerment Advocates?

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz

An earlier posting of mine, titled “Scar Tissue” has nothing to do with the Red Hot Chili Peppers song of the same name, but I was probably subconsciously thinking of the song when I wrote my “Scar Tissue”. And I think I know why. The song includes this lyric:

“I’ll make it to the moon if I have to crawl”

I interpret this as an expression of never-ending determination by someone of whom not much is to be expected. If you are in a wheelchair and you are not determined, the world will likely step on you and keep moving. I know this. The world steps on me occasionally, but it happens because I let it.

Sure, nobody is completely unstoppable, but I know, somewhere inside that if you want to make it to the moon, you have to be willing to get there by any means possible.

By any means? Well, you know what I mean. Just don’t step on, or run over the toes of anyone else who is on their own path to the moon, okay?

Putting the Roll back in Rock n’ Roll!

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz

Like any other kid, I went through many stages concerning the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” One of those stages was “Rock Star”. Of course. Who doesn’t? It would fulfill two of the more basic needs of an adolescent boy: Get girls, Get attention. I have never seen a major nationally-known rock band with a member in a wheelchair. Honorable Mention: Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd developed mental disabilities in the 60s but both were drug-induced. Roger Daltrey had a stutter, but only for one song, “My Generation”. And Rick Allen from Def Leppard lost and arm and continued to drum, and they were one of the most successful bands in the 80’s.

Upon researching this subject, I came across something that I, having spina bifida, found fascinating. John Mellencamp and Hank Williams, Sr. were both born with mild forms of spina bifida. I wish it were more widely known that two talented people such as these had Spina Bifida. Don’t get me wrong, there are immensely talented people with Spina Bifida all over the world. But let’s face it, people look up to well-known celebrity types. However, in the end, we all just represent ourselves. It wouldn’t give me any credential that I didn’t already possess if one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day or Korn were in a wheelchair. I’d just like to see a band like that. I know plenty of guys in wheelchairs who play guitars, so it is bound to happen.