Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Posts Tagged ‘time travel

A Time Machine with Hand Controls, Episode VIII: Australia, 1850

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz

Hey everybody, it’s me again, the backwards traveler, four-wheeled time-space rambler, back for another adventure. This time, the machine takes me to Australia, smack in the middle of the 19th century, smack in the middle of the colonization of “the land down under.”

It is a common misconception that the British colony of Australia was conceived as a prison farm for mentally unstable criminals. The fact is that when Australia was first colonized toward the end of 1836, the Crown asked for able bodied young people intended to build the colony. Though they got a fairly good crop of laborers, they also got the elderly, the ill and the mentally and physically disabled. And the government would not take responsibility of them.

By the time of this adventure, accommodation for all of these people was a disaster. The handicapped were crammed into huts all over the colony center. As soon as I got my chair out of the time machine, and began my stroll through the village, I was arrested and taken to the “ward” where I was greeted by about 200 other disabled people. No windows, hidden away from society proper. Living in squalor, in close quarters. Disease was rampant. Mentally ill people were intermixed with the elderly and the physically handicapped, and the deaf and the blind, adults and children.

I stayed there for several weeks, trying to devise a way to “escape”. During this time we were visited by clergymen, political figures and other people of good intentions. This was the only time I got a decent meal. It was then that I met a family that offered to take me in. As soon as they got me out of there, I told them I had family that should be taking care of me, as was the official colonial policy on disabled people. No public assistance here. I asked my saviors to provide me with transportation to where I knew I’d left the time machine with hand controls, and as soon as they left me there, I bolted back to good ol’ 2008.

Advertisements

A Time Machine with Hand Controls, Episode VI: 866 A.D., the British Isles

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz,

Time for the long-awaited sixth installment of the Time Machine with Hand Controls, in which our hero finds himself in the perilous position between a Viking long bow infantry and the treasure the Vikings sought out on the British Isles.

Just outside of York, England, 866 A.D. – The Time Machine with Hand Controls came to rest in the middle of a field. I got my chair out and popped the wheels on, and as I approached the village center, the locals began to stop what they were doing, and the cry of “Ivar!” began to grow louder. I, being well-versed in ninth-century Anglo-Saxon speech quickly determined that the locals thought that I was a Viking raider known as “Ivar the Boneless.” I did not do anything to make them think I was Ivar, but I did not deny it at first either. It was a powerful feeling.

I learned that the dreaded Vikings had just attacked York and were beginning to lay waste to surrounding areas, and news had made its way around that the raiders were led by a “legless demon” who was carried on an armor plated pallet.

According to the stories, Ivar either had no legs, or he had what is now known as osteogenesis, or brittle bones leaving him unable to stand. Whatever his affliction, he did indeed lead his army into battle, carried on a shield, which I found out when, not long after I arrived, who should appear but Ivar himself on his shield, at the head of an infantry of Scandinavian pillagers on horseback barraging the village with arrows from longbows and torching everything in sight.

He shot a long bow from his “chariot” while screaming out instructions to his front line. In the Scandinavian military culture of the time, a Viking leader was expected to lead his troops into battle, and by God, Ivar was clearly driven to the point of inhumanity to do so. What I witnessed was an attack which was no less merciless than any other great siege in world history.

I had seen the movie “The Butterfly Effect” so I was not going to affect history one way or another by taking up arms for or against Ivar. Instead I headed for the woods, far out of range of the longbow, and watched with binoculars. I was unable to determine which story of Ivar was the true one, if either, but the Brits ran from Ivar and his band as though he were a minion of the devil himself. The Scandinavians quickly laid waste to everything in sight, so I sneaked through the brush back to the Time Machine with Hand Controls, and got the hell out of dodge, having satisfied my curiosity about one of the most mythical, yet very real, figures in disabled history.

A Time Machine With Hand Controls, Episode II – The Vietnam War

with one comment

by Treadmarkz

After the Vietnam War, almost 200,000 people came back home with a variety of debilitating war injuries and disabilities. They were amputees, they were blinded by flying shrapnel, they were deaf from unprotected ears during bombings, they were paraplegic, they were quadriplegic and they were mentally disabled from the stresses and horrors of the war.

But they came home.

With them, came a long list of socioeconomic issues that the country had not been confronted with since the down days of the Depression.

The Disabled American Veterans of the World War, established in 1920 had helped the 200,000 injured and disabled survivors of WWI. Of this number, those that suffered a permanent disability experienced the same troubles, joblessness, homelessness, alcoholism, etc. But many of them ended up in a mental institution or a home for the disabled, because their was no real other way to help them.

But for the vets of the Vietnam War, they came home without much in the way of benefits. Much less than their WWII counterparts received. Much of the social activism of the late 1960s and early 1970s can be attributed to the living conditions of the veterans. The first Vet Centers were not established until 1979. It took that long for veterans of WWII and any remaining disabled survivor of WWI, who were experiencing much of the same trouble that the Vietnam vets were, to get help.

Alcohol and drug use among veterans were rampant. These problems led to homelessness. I think we’ve all seen what has become somewhat of a stereotype, a man in a wheelchair on a street corner with the sign scribbled in permanent black marker on a piece of flattened cardboard box: “Disabled Veteran, Please Help” or something to that effect, with a bucket in his lap for any spare change he may receive from a generous passerby. This started after the Vietnam War. Before that, people in wheelchairs were rarely seen in public.

Terrible as their situation was, it took the story of the disabled from being buried in the back section to a big bold headline on the front page. For it was in the 1970s when legislation began to work its way through that made employment opportunities more accessible to the disabled, leading in part to the ADA, improvements in wheelchair technology and wheelchair athletic associations. It had to be so.

Thousands of the prospective young workforce, a workforce that once made this country thrive, were maimed, and therefore inactive. There had to be a way to get these people back into the world as the productive members of society that we are today. Because the country was in a major recession by the latter part of the seventies. In fact you might say that the many disabled who came back from the Vietnam War, needing employment contributed to the push-button workforce that is so prominent today. The Jetsons called it in 1962! It’s not push-button finger but carpal tunnel syndrome that we of the desk job suffer from in this modern age.

A Time Machine With Hand Controls, Preview of Episode II

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz,

Sticking with the theme of war from my last posting, it’s time for another adventure with me, the backwards traveler, the ancient four-wheeled rambler as I roll across the space-time continuum to give a little insight as to the living conditions of the disabled throughout history.

Join me, won’t you, as I visit a magical land called “America-After-the-Vietnam-War”.

Stay tuned…

A Time Machine with Hand Controls, Episode I – The Middle Ages

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz

Announcing a new segment here at treadmarkz.wordpress.com…”A Time Machine with Hand Controls” in which I explore living conditions for the disabled throughout history.

I have written about my thoughts on what my life may have been like had I grown up on a farm and not in a small town, and exploring that possibility has lead me to want to explore another dimension.

Time.

What kid hasn’t wondered what his/her life would be like if they’d been born in another time? My favorite place and time period is Europe in the Middle Ages (between the years 500 roughly, to about 1300-something, when brains became important again in Europe.

I love to read about the Middle Ages. The wars, the struggles for survival, and even the schmaltzy fictitious legends of knights in shining armor. But living in it? First off, without the use of my legs I would have been useless in the Wars for the Holy Sepulchre (the Crusades) unless I was able to come up with a way to hold fast in the saddle while wielding a sword and fighting off “infidels”.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, the law of the land was feudalism, which means you were “allowed” to work the land in exchange for protection from your lord (usually some fat guy who got someone to do all his fighting for him). Incidentally this is where the modern term “landlord” comes from.

There was no place to buy your food unless you wanted to travel miles to the nearest market place. If not, you were to grow and raise and graze your own food. Traversing the land to get to said market would be a chore in and of itself for someone without use of their legs, as their was no Quickie wheelchairs in the Middle Ages. There is record of wheelchairs being used in China in the sixth century but in Europe not until well after the Middle Ages and even then their use was restricted to the Royals. And anyway, a wheelchair certainly would have done little good for a disabled peasant who worked the fields.

Most European-based surnames are rooted in the trade of those in the Middle Ages who were lucky enough to be self-sufficient and not to be dependent on a lord. Tanner, Smith, Shoemaker, and Miller are all examples that come to mind.

But let’s be honest. Technology did not allow the disabled the freedom we enjoy today. There was no ADA protecting the rights of the disabled in the work force. And there was no social security. Most disabled people scraped a living together however they could, and this was hard, as other folk saw them as witches or bad omens, the blind often seen as some kind of oracle with inner vision that the rest of us did not possess. Again, stereotypes can be used to one’s advantage! Much in the same way that the eight-limbed girl from India has been recently doted on as a reincarnated Vishnu. Can you blame them for running with it? I would!

In closing, it has come to my attention that in the Middle Ages, everyone had the middle name of “the” – Alfred the Great, Harold the Bold, Henry the Unready, Philip the Goofy. Whatever. Well, I would be Forrest the Lame, of course. But I digress.