Disabilities Don’t Make You Special

LPA_BODI walked into a store today and immediately, it was clear there was a problem.  There was some crazed lady at the front counter demanding a refund, quite loudly, for a product that she didn’t have a receipt for, even though the policy was clearly stated, no refunds without receipts.  Now sure, this is probably pretty  common in stores across America, there are lots of self-entitled idiots who think that the rules don’t apply to them, but this one was special and not necessarily in a short bus way.  Her excuse for not having her receipt was that she had a disabled child.  Yeah, I know, what the hell does that have to do with anything, right? How does your offspring’s disability have anything to do with your ability to hold on to a sales receipt?  But that was her excuse and she was screaming at the clerk that her disabled child somehow entitled her to ignore the rules and get her money back because I guess disabled kid trumps personal responsibility.

You know, people are born with disabilities all the time.  Disabilities, as far as I’m concerned, is something to be dealt with and worked with, not to be taken advantage of.  You didn’t see Helen Keller bitching about wanting special treatment because she was blind and deaf.  Yeah, I know she couldn’t talk either but that’s beside the point.  This lady didn’t even have a kid with her, she could have been making the whole thing up for all anyone knew, but what difference does it make?  There’s nothing wrong with her, is there?  Well, I guess you could make the case that extreme self-importance is a form of mental retardation, but you know what I mean.

I actually get to complain about this because, as a lot of people know, I have a disabled daughter, she was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. She’s short, although at the top end of the scale for dwarfs.  She has some physical difficulties and she’s been teased her entire life because of her small size. But have I allowed her to use that as an excuse? Hell no.  She deals with it.  She has been pushed to accept, understand and deal with her difficulties. That’s what responsible people do.

I will be honest that when she was born, we looked at the official dwarf organization, Little People of America. While I don’t want to criticize the whole organization, we found that many of the members were, by and large, really obnoxious, especially the parents of dwarf children.  The ability for these people to delude themselves was amazing.  If you got onto some of the forums and just watched people talk, these weren’t people there to try to deal with their children’s handicaps, they weren’t there to learn how to deal with the difficulties, they were people trying to convince themselves that their kids were special, that somehow, dwarf children were better than kids who were regular sized.  There were literally people who were saying “my kid is in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, isn’t that great?”  No.  You’re an idiot.  Unfortunately they are idiots in good company.  There is a difference between accepting something as a fact of life and reveling in it.  These people have taken something they feel guilty over and turned it into something they now celebrate.  What a bunch of morons.

Now I’m all in favor of making the lives of people with legitimate disabilities easier, I’m cool with making reasonable accommodations for wheelchairs and the like.  While, by and large, we live in a world where a certain range of physical ability is considered normal, I see no reason to punish people who fall outside of that range if it doesn’t cause undue restrictions on most people.  However, that doesn’t mean we have to pretend that people who fall outside of that range don’t have issues to deal with, nor that those issues are, at their core, their own problems.  People need to find a way to live in a “normal” world with “non-normal” restrictions.  It isn’t the world’s responsibility to reconfigure the world so these people are never inconvenienced.  Short people and tall people have to live together.  Fat people and thin people have to live together.  People who are disabled and people who are not have to live together.  It’s not about fault, it’s about facts.  That’s the way the world works.  In my daughter’s case, she has no right to demand that everything come down to her level, she has to find a way to go up to everyone else’s level.  We’ve never gone around lowering all the cabinets in the house to her level, we’ve provided her various steps to come up to the level she’ll need to deal with in the real world.  She handles her disability and she doesn’t complain about it.  Maybe some other parents need to learn to do the same and not use their child’s supposed disabilities as an excuse for getting special treatment.

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