Mike ErvinWhen I was a much younger man, lord knows that the state of Illinois tried its level best to rehabilitate me, in the vocational sense. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation paid to put me through college and purchased my first motorized wheelchair.

But did it work? Was I rehabilitated, vocationally? Here I am more than 40 years later and I still don’t know the answer to that probing question. But maybe rehabilitation isn’t the right word for the process of helping cripples get jobs, because when you rehabilitate something, like an old house, you restore it to its previous grandeur. So if I apply that definition, I can say for sure that I wasn’t rehabilitated because there was no previous grandeur to restore me to. I was just a teenaged crippled kid.

And when you rehabilitate a person, like a prisoner or a political dissident, you correct them. You show them the folly of the path they were pursuing. You get them to repent and change course and go straight. So according to that definition, I guess I wasn’t vocationally rehabilitated, either, because I didn’t become a social worker. That was about the only career DVR would pay for a cripple like me to embark upon in