wheelchair confidentialI spent a month planning what to say at my high school graduation and then I spent that week memorizing every word. Public speaking freaked me out, especially in front of the whole school. On the day of, I rushed through my morning routine knowing I wanted extra time to look nice but not be late. Lots of my family had arrived, and we were heading to a buffet brunch before the ceremony.

Feeling good, I ate a ton of waffles, pasta, and fresh seafood and drank all the champagne my aunt kept sneaking me. As we wrapped up, my stomach felt off. I figured it was nerves, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt my insides flip. As my mom helped me put on my robe in the parking lot, I leaned forward and felt a chill as I passed gas loudly. In that second, I went from worrying about forgetting my speech to worrying that I was going to crap my pants.

I anxiously sat and prayed for my body to cooperate until it was my turn to get on stage. I held my breath as I rolled up and they lowered the mic down to my height and closer to my midsection. I ended up only forgetting a few words … my stomach kept quiet, and I got a free lesson in digestion on my graduation day.

—Cy O’Relief

Chasing Fail

My cousin got married in a big wedding this spring and I dressed up in a suit to support him as a groomsman. At the reception, things were going well and I was really hitting it off with one of the bridesmaids. Trying to be suave, I noted her empty glass and asked if she wanted another.

“I’d love one, but do you want me to grab them or come with?” she asked politely. I said I had it, even though I wasn’t sure that I could drive my chair and hold a champagne glass through the bumpy grass. Undaunted, I got the drink and quickly but carefully headed back, focused on avoiding a spill.

I thought I was home free as I zoomed my chair behind her and angled to pull in next to her. I was wrong.

As I approached, she stepped backward directly into my path and my footplate caught her ankle enough to offset her balance and knock her on the ground. She was nice about accepting my profuse apology, but I knew hope was lost when she limped towards the bathroom and I saw the grass stains on the rear of her light-colored dress.

Take it from me, women don’t really want to be swept off their feet.


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