The BBC has a section called “Ouch!” which is a segment concerning all aspects of disability. Maybe I’m a big ol’ Monty Python lovin’ nerd, but I totally dig this type of humor…and to think, it makes a great point. This is one of the “Ouch!” articles by a man in England who is blind. I, for one, feel his pain of being lumped into the “blind category” with people who are 1. idiots and 2. blind, not vice versa. Read on…and enjoy!
Other Disabled People Make Me Cringe
by Damon Rose
Do you sometimes think that other disabled people out there are letting you down? Specifically I’m talking about other people who have got the same impairment as you?
I’m still reeling from a story told to me last week. If you were here, you’d see me shaking while writing this – wincing with horror, distress and spackyness-by-proxy.
The other day, somebody very innocently told me about an incident that happened in a clothes shop. It featured a fellow blind person. It’s the kind of story that makes you want to disassociate yourself from all other blind people. But you can’t. No one will let you.
This other blind person did something so ridiculous, so utterly stupifyingly horrendous and shaming, something so completely alienly appallingly crassly idiotically pathetically ridiculously arseholeishly cackishly berkishly tosserishly gittishly ludicrously BLIND … that I think I may want to kill him.
Let me breathe a second. I’m editing it right down to the salient facts to spare you, but this is the gist:
There’s this blind man. He goes into a shop with his wife. The two of them are looking around for clothes. They find a pair of trousers that might suit him. They agree it would be a good idea for him to try the trousers on.
What happens next is the shameful bit.
Our blind man … in the view of the whole shop … drops his trousers to try them on. Yes. Idiot. He takes his trousers down thus showing his underpants and skinny legs to everyone.
For some reason, he thinks he’s in the changing room (shudder).
To add to this trauma, it dawned on me that the person telling me the story seemed to be relating it in a way that says: “so, you see, I understand blind issues and therefore understand what it must be like to be you.”
Newsflash: I would never, not in a million billion years, pull my trousers down in the middle of a shop believing myself to be in a changing room. Oh no. No way Jose. Who do you think I am? What do you think I am? This was not a blindness incident, this was a total stupid idiot incident. I disassociate myself. I deny thee. The fact he is blind probably has nothing to do with it. I am not like him. He is not like me.
Just as an exercise to prove what a prat he was, here are two easy foolproof questions he could have asked himself before undoing his buttons:
1: Am I in a big wide open space or behind curtains in a very small cupboard type thing?
2: When I chose the trousers off the peg on the shop floor, did I then go and find a changing room … or did I just stand still?
Of course, it’s always possible that this didn’t happen at all. It could be just one of those stories. But it doesn’t matter because this story will do the rounds and do its damage as it goes. Damage to me!
Is this paranoia too far? I don’t think so.
I remember going on a first aid course while at university. The tutor stood in front of the group and told us about lots of accidents he’d witnessed or heard about. Later in the day, the blind thing came up.
“Perhaps I shouldn’t be saying this in view of the fact that one is in the room today. But, there was an incident I heard of when a blind man unfortunately drank from a bottle of bleach believing it to be lemonade. He burnt his larynx very badly.”
It’s the old bleach for lemonade story. It’s such an old chestnut that people really believe it might be possible to pick up one of those huge, chunky, non-inviting plastic bottles with the angled child proof tops and think: “oh, I didn’t know I had a bottle of Sprite left under the sink in this cupboard where I wouldn’t normally keep soft drinks. My my, what luck. Oh and it doesn’t smell of lemon, it smells much stronger, they must have enhanced the flavour.”
Did that bleach drinking blind person ever exist? I’m sure you’ve heard of him. If he did, he has helped to drag me down like the blind clothes store flasher. And hey, maybe you’ve heard of him too?
I can’t believe this is just a blind thing. Do you hear stories, or urban myths, about people with your impairment that you just cringe at? Someone who screws up all the positive liaising that you do? People who destroy your entire lifelong marketing work?
This is not politically incorrect. This is real life and today it’s open house. If you’ve got a cringe worthy story about someone with your impairment who is letting the side down, or who is perhaps a walking talking cliché? I want to hear about it and experience your pain. Use the form below to tell me about it. Don’t pull your punches.