Crip Buzz: February 2014

1970+accessible+ChevellePerhaps you’ve seen this photo of a wheelchair accessible muscle car making the rounds on Tumblr and Facebook, and wondered if it was for real. Turns out, it is.

First featured back in July on FantomWorks — Velocity channel’s show that follows the Norfolk, Va., car restoration shop of the same name — the Chevelle SS was restored by shop owner Dan Short as part of his “Wounded Wheels” campaign. Watch a video about the car conversion project here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFuzKktls7M.

I Got 99 Problems and Palsy is Just One
Finally in my senior year, Arizona State University decided to do a play called  “And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson.” It was a play about a girl with CP.  I was a girl with CP.  So I start shouting from the rooftops, I’m finally going to get a part, I’m a girl with cerebral palsy!

I didn’t get the part. Sherry Brown got the part.

MaysoonI went racing to the head of the theater department, crying hysterically, to ask her why. And she said it was because they didn’t think I could do the stunts.

I said excuse me, if I can’t do the stunts, neither can the character! This was a part that I was literally born to play and they gave it to a nonpalsy actress. College was imitating life. Hollywood has a sordid history of casting nondisabled actors to play disabled onscreen.

[Over time] it became clear to me that casting directors didn’t hire fluffy ethnic disabled actors, they only hired “perfect” people, but there were exceptions to the rule. I grew up watching Whoopie Goldberg, Roseanne Bahr, Ellen, and all these women had one thing in common: They were comedians. So I became a comic.
— Maysoon Zayid, www.ted.com/talks/maysoon_zayid_i_got_99_problems_palsy_is_just_one.html

The Gorilla in Your House
Acquiring a disability is a bit like getting home to find there’s a gorilla in your house. You contact the authorities and they umm and aah before saying something like “what you’ve got is a gorilla, and there ain’t really a lot what we can do about them,” before sending you back home to the gorilla’s waiting arms.

The gorilla will cause problems in every part of your life. Your spouse may decide that he can’t deal with the gorilla, and leave. Your boss may get upset that you’ve brought the gorilla to work with you and it’s disrupting your colleagues, who don’t know how to deal with gorillas. Some days you don’t turn up at all because at the last minute, the gorilla has decided to barricade you into the bathroom.

There are three approaches to the gorilla in your house. One is to ignore it and hope it goes away. This is unlikely to work. Another is to try and force the gorilla out, spending all your time fighting it.

I have known people to spend the best years of their life trying to force their gorillas to go away. Even if it does wander off for a while, they won’t get their pre-gorilla lives back. They’ll be older, broke, exhausted, and constantly afraid the gorilla may come back.

The third way is to accept it, tame it, and make it part of your life. Figure out a way to calm your gorilla down. Find out how to equip your home with gorilla-friendly furnishings and appliances.

People may get upset about this and throw around accusations of “giving up” and “not even trying.” They may even suggest you enjoy having a gorilla around because of the attention it gets you. The best way to deal with these people is to smile and remind yourself that one day they, too, will have a gorilla in their house.
— Mary, batsgirl.blogspot.com. The Gorilla Story is making its rounds on the Internet as “unattributed,” but we were able to trace it to an April 10, 2008 blog entry.

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