Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Posts Tagged ‘disability

New Posts:

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz

Hey everyone. You haven’t seen me around for a while now. but I am focusing on my new venture which I told you about a while back “Rolling With Vishnu”. You can find a few new posts about my disability and how it relates to my spiritual quest, sprinkled in on rollingwithvishnu.wordpress.com. My most recent post has to do with how my disability has affected my practice of meditation.

Could the Chicago Cubs Claim a Permanent Disability?

with 2 comments

by Treadmarkz

The Chicago Cubs collected the most wins in the National League this year and yet they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that made the playoffs because they won their division, but had the least wins of all NL playoff teams. Why? I’ll tell you why. The Curse of Fred Merkle. Look it up.

Because of this curse, the Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908. Yes that is 100 years this year. Being the 100th anniversary of the Cubs’ last championship, everyone in the baseball universe thought it quite fitting that they were having their best year in…ever, almost. It was almost a cosmic inevitability that the Cubs would finally shrug of the Curse of Merkle.

100 years.

Almost 100 wins.

It had to be.

And yet it isn’t.

Why? Because the Cubs are cursed.

Couldn’t the Cubs claim this curse as a permanent disability? If they did, think of the benefits they could receive. They could get the National League to pay for all of their expenses, so that they could save up their money for payroll and put together the most unstoppable force that ever took the field. They could get a first round bye in the playoffs. And all seven games of the NLCS and World Series at Wrigley Field so they would not have to travel!

Oh but then if they won the World Series, they would no longer be able to claim permanent disability. So never mind.

A Time Machine With Hand Controls, Episode V: Let’s Get Biblical…Biblical: Jerusalem, 30 A.D.

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz

The four-wheeled rambler and his time machine with hand controls has just landed in the year 30 A.D. in the town of Jerusalem. And man are things different here! And okay, things are not altogether as bad as I said they would be before I came – “a time before there were any comforts whatsoever for the afflicted” I believe is what I said. That is not completely true. In fact, one of the first things I found on my journey of discovery through Jerusalem in 30 A.D. was a colonnade (series of stone pillars holding up a roof, with rows of stalls with beds where people with various afflictions and disabilities convalesced. I guess you could say it was somewhere in between a hospital (which, yeah, they should have had) and a “home” (which in today’s Western world is only for the “criminally insane”, not the physically disabled.)

So it wasn’t all bad of course. In fact, when I went to speak to the inhabitants of the colonnades (fluent in first century Aramaic as I am) I found that the common belief system regarding disabilities is totally different in the 21st century from what it was then. For example, the belief that the disability was given to the person by God. This seems to have been prevalent among the disabled including the blind and deaf,f and others in the first century, and still is today, but the theory behind it has changed drastically.

Today you hear a lot of different stories on this issue. Some believe it, some think they were given their disability as a gift, some say God allowed the devil to work on them, as retribution for something their parents did, or they were injured as retribution for something they did themselves. They had drifted that far away from God that the devil had that power over them.

Around this time, 30 A.D., Jesus was preaching that “It was not that (the disabled person) has sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Some people still believe in this. Some people think it is too cheery, and overly “inspirational”, an image which disabled people often despise. Take it for what it is.

I met a man in the colonnades with wilted and twisted limbs, who said to me “my power is made perfect in weakness, therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses”. I think that same phrase would later make it into the Bible somewhere, and it’s a good piece of wisdom. What does it mean? I think it means that physical strength and “beauty” will not get you everything. Those who do not have it may find other modes of strength which are more valuable.

But this is not a Bible study. So I rolled onward, into the streets, where I met 1st century equivalent of the disabled homeless Vietnam veteran and his “will work for food” sign. The leper. Lepers were a different case altogether. When I went anywhere near one of these unfortunate people, hordes of townfolk would shout at me to stay away. Why? Because everyone in the 1st century knows that people get leprosy for disobeying God, and wherever roams a leper, roams also the devil. Duh!, right?

Ah, but we’ve found a contradiction, and the four-wheeled rambler loves digging up historical and ideological contradictions! You never heard of anyone getting spina bifida for disobeying God back in the first century. Just the lepers! It’s less of a disability and more of a malady, but it is a disabling affliction, nonetheless. Now its the disabled who the new age Christians will tell you are disabled as a result of some sin somewhere along the line. That’s what I’ve heard anyway. There aren’t too many lepers running around today, except in Africa, and Southern Asia. But even though they had their share of compassionate advocates in Jerusalem in 30 A.D., they encounter less discrimination and fear overall than they did 2000 years ago.

My, how things have come full circle.

Hell On Wheels: A Wheelchair Anthem

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz

I have spent a lot of time lately listening to Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles music, and I realized that the song “Helen Wheels” is not only one of the greatest pieces of block-rocking boogie that Macca ever recorded, but because of the title, with a complete overhaul of the lyrics, the song would make a great anthem for people in wheelchairs such as myself. Then I realized that no song can really cover the wide range of experiences that all people in wheelchairs will relate to.
However, this is my attempt. Take it for what it is worth:

——————–

I said farewell to a doctor from Hell who said I’d never have much of a life

That kind of clown never gets me down when I go home to my sweet wife

My early days now seem like a haze, spent a summer in a body cast

But life is good, and though I’ve never stood, I wanna make this journey last

Hell on, Hell on wheels

Everybody else thinks I got the raw end of the deal

Hell on, Hell on wheels

But I’d never have it no other way

L2 level para, full of metal but I never did think twice

To imagine me as I wished to be and singin’ wouldn’t it be nice

Doin’ fine and I never pine away on what I can not do

“Life ain’t fair” never goes nowhere, and you know it’s up to you

Hell on, Hell on wheels

Everybody else thinks I got the raw end of the deal

Hell on, Hell on wheels

But I’d never have it no other way

I can’t make sense of those who take offense when people say I’m “wheelchair bound”

That’s okay, man, I do it my way and they’ll never hold me down

Been a casualty of all that “woe is me”, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain

Life is good, though I’ve never stood I think I’d do it all over again

Hell on, Hell on wheels

Everybody else thinks I got the raw end of the deal

Hell on, Hell on wheels

But I’d never have it no other way

Everyday Mind Games to Play with Walkies? No Thanks

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz

Today as I rolled down the street, at a street corner, a man who was not in a chair was telling me that it would be funny for me to sit on a street corner and when the light was green and cars were passing by, to act as though I were going to cross, and then pull back and give them a “just kidding” look. A fun little prank to play on the walkies (my affectionate name for those less disabled than I am).

Yeah, I’ve always wanted to be the cause of a 50 car pile-up.

In a posting with a similar title about Earth Day, I wrote about how I used my disability to get people thinking. Sure, I used my disability, but only for good, not for pure unadulterated evil.

I am sure this man was joking, but honestly, some people don’t know quite how to communicate with the disabled as though we were, oh I don’t know, equals. The conversation I had today was right up there with the people who don’t understand why, when stuck in a crowd, I don’t just start running people’s feet over to get through. No, this was worse.

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.

Miss Landmine Angola 2008

with 2 comments

by Treadmarkz

Somehow I doubt that this would attract major network coverage in the U.S. with our warped views on what is beautiful. Here is a story from CNN.com on a beauty pageant in Angola for victims of landmines who have lost limbs. Some would call this exploitation based on disability. Some would call it a way to call attention to a scourge that is affecting thousands and thousands of people all around the world.

Though it is certainly not a “freak show” as some have suggested, one’s attitude toward the existence of a pageant such as this says a lot about where they are, culturally.

Meaning: I live in the U.S. so my opinion does not matter as much as that of someone in Angola, where people live every day worried about being the victim of, or losing a loved one to, a mine. Therefore, for them, a pageant like this appears different than to my outsider’s eyes. To them, the women in this pageant are members of an entire subculture with a voice waiting to be heard, and this is one way for them to speak up.

Besides, in the U.S. there are “beauty pageants” strictly for the blind, for the deaf, and for women in wheelchairs. What makes this any different?

But politics and humanitarian efforts aside, as I have suggested in other postings, I would like to see the day when a woman, in a wheelchair for example, could participate in a pageant alongside women who are not disabled, without it being an issue. I know, however, that this is unlikely, because it seems that the idea of beauty is universally such that it would be hard to judge two people equally when one is missing limbs, or one has limbs that where formed differently than the others. Is the Miss Landmine Angola 2008 Pageant helping bring the world closer to this day or is it just highlighting the seperateness of those with disabilities?

We are quite possibly talking about two very different issues because of the differences in political climate, and culture. What do you think?

PS: I felt a little uncomfortable writing, earnestly, about something as superficial as a “beauty pageant” in the first place, but it fits in with some of the themes I have been trying to develop here at treadmarkz.wordpress.com.

Ronan Tynan – Opera Vocalist, Paralympic Gold Medalist, Doctor

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz
I am a rocker at heart but I find Irish music to be very relaxing and at times inspiring. I am particularly drawn to songs like Danny Boy, Greensleeves, and Amazing Grace (all tend to be staples in any Irish vocalist’s repertoire) for the timeless qualities of their melodies. I particularly love performers like Altan, Celtic Women and the Irish Tenors. I have always been particularly drawn to the tone in the voice of one of the Tenor’s former members, Ronan Tynan. Here is a video so you can hear what I mean.

Tynan was born with paralyzed legs, and he had them amputated after a car accident in 1980. By 1984, Tynan had already won 18 Paralympic Gold Medals, and set 14 world records in a wide variety of track and field events. Nine of his records, in the discus, shot-put, and long-jump, have not been broken to this day.

He then went into the medical field, and he’d already spent a few years working in the development and design of prosthetic feet when he graduated from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, with a medical degree. He became a physician and with his athletic background, specialized in sports injuries.

After just beginning his practice, in 1994, he found the time to attend the Royal Opera School in London, joining the Irish Tenors from 1998-2004. He continues a successful solo career today, and often shows up singing “God Bless America” at N.Y. Yankees baseball games, or at NHL hockey games.
Not a bad 18 years: World-class athlete, doctor, and world-class vocalist. His meteoric rise in athletics, as well as his successful switch over to the medical field, followed by his most recent fame in opera prove that it is never too late to follow a new path in life.

Monster In a Wheelchair

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz

I am not sure if this video was meant to be, but is, a very clever way to illustrate exactly how many of us in wheelchairs often feel when kids run away when they see the chair coming (most don’t, most ask really good questions) or, more often, when a parents grabs their kid by the arm and yanks them away, like they think I am going to just plow right into the kid. Or they think it will cause a scene if there kid speaks to me, and by God, offends me.
I mentioned in a previous post that I don’t really feel discriminated against as a disabled man, but I’ll go on record here and say that this really can be offensive when parents do this, for two reasons. First, I am perfectly well under control of my wheelchair, and second…

Note To Parents: It’s Okay If Your Child Asks Me A Question About Being In A Wheelchair. Kids Are Curious. It’s Natural. It’s Healthy!

PS: Your Kids Are Smarter Than You Think They Are!

Written by treadmarkz

February 29, 2008 at 6:11 PM