1) "If you don't slow down you are going to get a speeding ticket," a doctor once told me while I was at the hospital for an appointment.
I hear this one from people who think they are being funny by making some kind of driving joke about my wheelchair. It can come in many variations, including but not limited to: “Can you get a ticket for drinking and driving in that chair?” The thing is that these jokes are not original and I’ve heard them 1,000 times. Really folks, try a little harder. I like to be entertained.
2) I rolled past a little kid in a store, and the kid then went up to his mom and asked her '"How come he can't ride his bike in the store?" I laughed. The innocence of this child was refreshing. His comparison was absolutely adorable. The mom, on the other hand, turn a bright shade of crimson, quickly places her hand over her child's mouth, and rushes off in complete embarrassment. I truly wish she would have allowed me a chance to explain her child did nothing wrong.
3) Why is it that everytime I visit my doctor, the same physician I have had for 40 plus years, and the nurse always say, "Have a seat the doctor will be in soon." You would think since the nurse knows I have been in my wheelchair for all these years that she would at least follow this request with a giggle. Nope, she's serious! Got it, I'm sitting down.
4) My favorite question (as I'm sitting in my wheelchair) is "Is that your chair?" Ummmm...I think so? It was by my bed when I woke up this morning.
5) "No, I don't know your best friends Uncle Bob who uses a wheelchair. I'm sure he is nice though." Why do people assume everyone who uses a chair must know everyone else? What is the assumption really about?
6) “Do you have a driver's license for that thing?” Ummm...yes I do! I went down to the Department of Transportation and they set up an obstacle course. The first time I failed. But after much practice I was capable of weaving in and out of the orange cones. I even learned how to parallel park! No worries here, I am an approved licensed driver for my WHEELCHAIR!
7) "You have kids? How did you manage that?" My legs don't work, but I assure you everything else does! I have two kids as proof. Yes, fertility is more complicated and depends on the person's condition; it is not unheard of for males to father children or even females with paralysis to give birth. But if someone is bold enough to ask me this question you better be ready for a quick witted response! “You want the exact details? You may learn a few new tricks from me.” (That response always gets people in a tezzie.)
8) "How do you have sex?" Well, the same way you do, I imagine. You want to compare techniques?
9) "Is your significant other in a wheelchair?" This is so an old fashion idea. Asking this ridiculous question will make you sound ancient.
10) "You're good looking for being in a wheelchair." Gussy yourself up, put on a sexy outfit, show some cleavage; chances are when you go out in public looking this way you may get some crazy quips from random walkers-by. And one of the most common, the backhanded compliment, "You're too good looking to be in a wheelchair."
The thing is life rolls on and there will continue to be laughs along the way. As for me, I’ll continue trying to gently educate people who approach their interactions with me awkwardly. If they’re trying, I’ll try, too.
Image credit: CEFutcher