Abby’s Top Ten List

Abby has been using a wheelchair since a car accident in 1995. For most of her life, people knew this and it was just a small part of who she was. She came into contact with children who didn’t know other kids in a wheelchair and we coached her to just give a simple explanation, because they probably had never met anyone in her situation. After all, how many people did we know who used a wheelchair? Outside of Wheelchair Sports Camp and Joni Eareckson Family Retreats, we knew exactly none.

Most of the time it is a question driven by honest curiosity, and that is fine. We don’t mind a little educational explaining. But then there are the other times. People can be so rude, or careless, or just outright stoopid. Many people think being physically disabled equals mentally disabled, and in their small minds, that means you don’t have to treat the person in a respectful, human fashion.

Abby encountered one of the latter last week at church. A group of young adults were gathered. For one reason or another they filtered away, leaving Abby and this young fellow. She had never spoken with him before and this was The Charmer’s opening line.

“So, what’s wrong with your legs?”

She gave the official party line and that was that. We always have a laugh at what she should have said, what she should say in the future, and I live for the day when she comes home and tells us about using one of the lines to subtly teach the asker that maybe they could ask their question another way.

Here are a few of the ideas we lobbed around.

1. I was bitten by a shark.

2. I was bitten by a poison snail. (Honey insisted we use this)

3. I can walk, I just don’t like to.

4. I’m lazy.

5. I prefer to sit.

6. I’m taking lessons.

7. A shark bit my bum off. (there were even more shark ones, I just chose 2)

8. I forgot how to walk.

9. I have an infected windpipe. ( we love this line, a girl gave it to Honey once, back in the day, when he asked her to dance)

10. I just don’t want to walk.

Ok, now it’s your turn. What kind of snappy comment can you come up with, and remember, it’s US, so not much is off the table!!!!

Any ideas? Hit us with your best shot!!



  1. Pam said,

    May 4, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    1. I am just practicing for marriage, where I’m sure I’ll sit all day eating chocolates and bon bons, being waited on hand and foot.

    2. I’m waiting for the right man comes along, and then I’ll get up and walk down the aisle to meet him in marriage.

    3. I just want to give dumb people like you something to talk about.

  2. Laurie said,

    May 4, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    I may have to comment through the day as things come to mind. how about: The same thing that’s wrong with your brain — out of order.

    • deb said,

      May 5, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      Smirk and then say “Conversation starter.”

  3. beckib said,

    May 4, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Keep it simple. She should just keep repeating the same phrase “What do you mean?” to the orginal question and each subsequent question with a puzzled look on her face. Or pose a different question back to him. For example: So what is wrong with your legs? What do you mean? Why are you in that chair? What Chair? etc.

  4. Laurie said,

    May 4, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    “Football injury. ”
    “Stepped on a crack and broke my back”.

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