Don’t Say These Things

Wow, you're sure lucky you don't have to walk up all these stairs.

Wow, you're sure lucky you don't have to walk up all these stairs.Being a wheelchair user, I have been on the receiving end of some seriously stupid statements from the bipedal. So, allow me to educate you on those utterances that will give you a permanent case of foot-in-mouth disease. That can be fatal, you know.

You’re really good at driving that thing.

True though it may be, that’s akin to my telling you, “You really can balance on those spindly leg things.” I’ve had 30+ years of practice driving my wheelchair. You’ve probably had that long to practice walking. If we weren’t good at it, that would be news.

You’re lucky you don’t have to [insert random physical activity here].

This was a lot more prevalent when I was a kid, and students were expected to complete the mile run on a regular basis. I get why they hated the mile run. It wasn’t fun. But, I always wished I could participate. I had a couple of gym teachers who were good enough to at least try and figure out a way for me to somehow participate – separate but equal and all that crap. Still, invariably, a large percentage of my class would feel the need to tell me how lucky I was not to have to participate.

I wish I had one of those, so I didn’t have to go up all these stairs.

Wait…what?! How dumb are you? If you think stairs are difficult to maneuver, try finding alternate routes. If an alternate route even exists, that is. I cannot begin to calculate the extra mileage I put on my chair (and my poor hands!) in trying to find an accessible way from point A to point B.

Why don’t you have someone push you or have an electric chair?

If I wanted someone to push me, or if I wanted an electric chair, I would. In truth, there are only a handful of people I trust to push my chair, and even then, it doesn’t thrill me. And I definitely don’t let any random Joes push me. Feel free to take offense: I’ve seen you people drive cars. Hell would be very, very cold if I were to submit myself to the same fate.

Also, just because you would be lazy if you were in my situation, doesn’t mean I have to be.

As for not having an electric chair, I have my reasons. When people ask me this, I want to adopt an “aw shucks” persona: “Sha-zam! Electrified wheelchairs?! What will they think of next?!”

What’s wrong with you?/What happened to you?

Heaven protect me from idiots. I mean, how rude.

No speeding!

This might be funny to the under-10 set, but it eventually veers into corny Dad-joke territory. Save yourself the embarrassment.

The bottom line is, if you can’t say something intelligent, I’m probably going to have to listen to you.


About Laura

Artist, writer, designer and nerdy creative based in Charlotte, NC. Loves Harry Potter, Firefly, Doctor Who, country music, and Nathan Fillion. Wheelchair-user, due to osteogenesis imperfecta aka brittle bone disease.