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Dis-Abled? What's That?

  I watched the Olympics over the past weekend, like billions of other people & I was lucky enough to see Oscar Pistorius run in the 400m races.  I salute him, as do millions (billions?) of other people, but I do it from a viewpoint few others have.  I still have my feet, but I came within a hair's breadth of losing my feet when I was in high school. 

  It wasn't a genetic anomaly; it was athlete's foot, allergies, staph & strep in my skin - combined.  Majority culture medicine had nothing that could treat my case.  I could not get my feet into the largest Women's size shoes in our small town - 11W; & I ordinarily wore 8-1/2M.  I went barefoot winter & summer, including when it was -20F, because of that - & in the winter, it was close to comfortable, because of the fever in my feet.  I melted snow when I walked across it.

  Eventually, the doctor said he was 'giving serious thought' to hospitalizing me.  I was instantly wary & asked why.  He hung his head & said he thought it might become necessary to cut off my feet to save my life because he thought I might have the beginnings of gangarene.  I said - & I meant it utterly - "I will leave the hospital naked in the dead of night before I'll allow you to cut off my feet.  I'd rather be dead."  He replied it wasn't my decision; I was a minor.  I shot back, "Like Hell it isn't.  The law won't have to live with the consequences of having no feet."  He backed down.

  My Unchi Pearl (Grandmother) was my role model then.  She had polio when she was 6.  The experts of the day told her she would never walk again.  They tried to put her in an iron lung.  At 6, she backed them off & never was in an iron lung.  She walked with braces & crutches for 8 years.  Then she woke up one morning, said, "This is a lot of bunk!" & pitched her braces & crutches as far as she could.  (Far!)  She used 2 canes for another 4 days, then pitched them.

  She told me, "My girl, I made up my mind I would either walk without canes & crutches or those damned braces or I would die trying."  My Grandmother Pearl could run like the wind.  She could dance everyone at a whynasha (Polish wedding) to exhaustion.  She swam.  She worked.  Hard.  She put her 8 brothers & sisters thru high school, working as a domestic, scrubbing floors on her hands & knees, despite the fact that she graduated high school - because women weren't hired for their ability back then.  Her calves were the size of my forearms & her thighs were a shade bigger than my biceps.  (I do have big biceps & no, they aren't full of fat.)  She was amazing.  She taught me my attitude - or refined it; take your pick.

  I'm still here, mean as ever, & at least as contrary & cantankerous, & I still have my feet.  Eventually it was Traditional medicine that healed my feet, working with a "fringe treatment" from the doctor - fresh smashed garlic clove and potassium permanganate solution & sunlight.  The details will come another time.

  Oscar Pitorius didn't have the same choice I did.  His problem was genetic; his parents decided for him when he was 11 months old.  And as he says, he "didn't grow up thinking he had no feet, he grew up thinking he had different shoes".  Not only is his attitude marvelous, especially today when people spend a ton of energy making excuses & whining about being victims; it is the only appropriate one.  Unless a person wants to live as a victim..  Mr. P doesn't; I never have; & neither should you out there.  Pass the word!

  Some jackass(s?) complained that he shouldn't be allowed to compete in the Olympics - which spot he won, by dint of the same kind of hard work as every other Olympian - on the basis that his blades "might give him an unfair advantage".

  To those rocket scientists who said that, I ask, "If his blades could give him an 'unfair advantage', why have no other Olympians had their feet amputated, so they can have this advantage?"  What a collection of dummies the complainers are. 

  On the other hand, there are the other kind of rocket scientists who carry on about him being a champion of the dis-abled.  What a bunch of hooey!  Tell us, rocket scientists, how this man is disabled?  We're listening..  We're not hearing anything, either.  Because you dummies have nothing of value to say about this.  We all walk on our 'shoes'; some of us better than others.

  I've been told 4 times by experts that I would "never" walk again.  We're more than 40 years down the pike, takoszja (grandchildren), & I'm still walking.  I won't win any prizes for my gait, but I'm walking.  That's what counts.  Every day I walk, I win.  I am a winner - of this I have no doubt.  And you can believe there have been plenty of people who have urged me "for my own good" (of course) to quit walking.  To quit chemistry.  To quit putting myself thru University.  To quit shoeing horses as a profession.  To get out of electronics.  To not be so outspoken.  To "tone it down some".  Etc.

  HAH!  I have set a good example all of my life, including now, & I'm not going to back down one iota.  I do not doubt for an instant that lots of well-meaning boneheads have urged Oscar Pitorius & all the others like him to "give up & take welfare" / "give up & ride in the chair" / "take an easier road" / "don't make things any harder on yourself"..  etc. ad nauseum.

  People like me search for others like us because everyone needs heroes & role models.  I rattle my tongue for us!  I rattle my tongue for Oscar Pitorius for not giving up, for not listening to all those losers who can't come close to his accomplishments - or mine - but who urge us - always in the most warm-n-fuzzy tones to be less than we are.

  Similarly, I rattle my tongue for those losers.  But it sounds in their case a lot more like a raspberry.

  Oscar Pitorius, wopila tanka!  You are fantastic, & I'm so glad I witnessed your runs.  I feel like I found treasure in finding you & your accomplishments.  You are one of my heroes, & I'm tickled pink to have found another one.  Mitakuye oiasin / All {are} my relatives.

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