If you listen to NPR you’ve probably heard of Kevin Kling. We’ve seen two productions at Seattle Rep starring Kevin: How? How? Why? Why? Why? and Breakin’ Hearts and Takin’ Names. You can read our review of Names – nwadventures.us/BreakingHearts.html
Kevin was born with a few physical problems, then later he was seriously injured when an automobile collided with his motorcycle. He tells a story about his recovery. He was leaving his doctor’s office and gets into an elevator with a young boy. The boy has just had stitches for a bad scrape and has tears in his eyes. In an effort to comfort the boy, Kevin explains that Kevin himself has stitches from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head . . . and places in-between. The little boy looks at him and says, “Yeah . . . but mine hurt.” From that Kevin states that “You can never judge another person’s pain.”
Just as you can’t judge someone else’s pain, you can’t really judge their disabilities, either. If a person walks with a cane, you understand the disability, but there are so many hidden disabilities that plague people and can’t be seen.
A recent news article points out an incident at a Walmart store. Stacie Friend parked her car and displayed her handicapped placard before walking into the store with her daughter. When she came back to her car she was confronted with a note on her car that read “You are not disabled pig.” Besides the insulting note someone had scratched up her car’s hood. Friend suffers from Parkinson’s disease, which means she has control of her muscles sometimes and sometimes not. – yahoo.com/lifestyle/stranger-leaves-hateful-note-disabled-womans-car-parking-handicapped-spot-234228128.html
Aside from the note, the scratches in the hood could elevate this incident to a hate crime. How could anyone treat someone in this manner? Why was there so much anger? Disabilities come in many different packages. I like the use of the word TAB, which stands for Temporarily Able Bodied, which is all of us. We all face the prospect of needing help and being handicapped. Shouldn’t we be as kind as we can be . . . or should be?