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On 09/01/14 19:35, Simon Avery wrote:
Regarding humour I don't think there is anything that says just because I am a wheelchair user that if I do something stupid people are not allowed to find it funny and take the mickey, and I think being aware of that is an important factor, not just in my case or exclusively with disability, but in general. For example one rather pretentious friend on holiday many years ago broke the front wheel of his chair, but informed us it was perfectly alright as the chair was well balanced and he couldn't tell in normal use. What he consistently forgot for the whole holiday was that to get onto a pavement you need to put your weight on the front of the chair to push up onto it. Needless to say he landed on his backside several times as there was nothing to take his weight on the one side and we were frankly merciless in reminding him. It might be said that it was fine for us to do so as we were all disabled as well as friends, but I think the latter is equally important. One standup comic asked me during his act 'Can you get done for drunk driving in that?' and I replied 'Only if I'm stupid enough to take it on the road!' and everybody laughed. As I said in the last mail it's all about context and intent.
The last point you mentioned is an interesting one. The frequency has definitely dropped off over the years, but I have fairly regularly received the ubiquitous 'you're so brave' comment which I find confusing and irritating in equal measure. You're absolutely right that neither of us knows what it is like to live as the other, but I think that is true of a lot of people from different cultures and countries, not just disability related. In my opinion it boils down to the definition of Normal. To some people the definition of Normal is what the majority are capable of / believe etc, however I think there is a second definition more pertinent to this discussion, and that is what the /individual/ is used to.
Having been born disabled I have been a wheelchair user for the vast majority of my life (until six years old I exclusively walked with calipers and crutches, after six I had my first wheelchair so I had the option). The upshot is that it is automatic for me to get out of bed into my wheelchair, into the bathroom, kitchen, and out to my car (when I was working a daily occurrence of course). The only difference between me and somebody who can walk is the method of movement, and yet some would call me 'brave', really in my opinion without justification. Granted there are some activities which do present more of a challenge, such as flying on my own to America, which I have done four times, but even those can be handled with proper planning, and I think that's a common factor to everyone; Proper Planning Prevents Particularly Poor Performance.
 Yes I know the original word was shorter :)
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