The following is an incomplete article I started writing for a place I never got around to submitting to. The cold, hard fact is, though I think it’s got some good bits, I’ll probably never get to finishing it, but wanted to get it out of my “drafts” folder, and also wanted to get it out there–in some form.
So here you go…
Legend has it that it all began with a ball. The elders say a shaman held it aloft, moved it back and forth, and watched, with baited breath, to see if the newborn infant’s eyes followed it.
They did not.
Within two years, the child wore spectacles. Giant ones. So big that one woman was said to, upon seeing him, ask, “Is he retarded?”
By age six, the child wore an advanced system of spectacles and contact lenses, a “telescope,” if you will. So prodigious was this system that it had to be held to the child’s head by an elastic strap. The front lenses were hulking. So big that the child’s eyes looked like pools of blue in seas of white. The contact lenses dug into the soft corneas like rusty razors.
He’d wear this system for 10 years.
In case you hadn’t guessed it, this “child” was me. Why do I dump so many details about my stupid eyes (and believe me, there are a lot more where these came from)? To thoroughly establish that I have official, laser-engraved, lifelong disabled credentials that I invite the staunchest skeptic to attempt to debunk.
And if that weren’t enough, I showed my actual gimp card here (during my call-out of Melody Hensley, whom I’ll get to in a second):
I bring up my credentials because I’ve encountered, over the last few years, a growing movement on-line, primarily through Twitter, Tumblr, and the like, of this thing called “ableism.” Interestingly, the notion has been around for well over 20 years, myself an advocate, it’s only now that anybody seems to give a fuck.
But it’s not just a fuck they give, the ones who actually do, there’s a growing need, as it seems, not only to pronounce the existence of and advocate the justice of, but dictate the nature of this “ableism.”
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Please allow me to talk down to you for a moment and treat you like a child. What the stumbling fuck is “ableism”??
Why don’t we go with dictionary.com? They’re pretty non-biased, methinks.
“discrimination against disabled people.”
Huh. That seems absurdly simple, right? Except it begs one giant, throbbing question: what’s “disabled”?