I love discount bins. I love rummaging. Thus yesterday I was in heaven as the grocery store had two bins, side by each. One filled with remaindered books, the other with cheap DVD's. I'd finished with the DVD's and had a couple nestled between my back and the back of the wheelchair. Then I was on to the books. Almost immediately I found a book that purported to have 505 facts about germs. It was on sale for only $3.99. That's less than a cent a fact! Joe found me sitting happily waiting for him to return from the bathroom with 3 DVD's and 1 book. I showed him my prizes. When he got to the book he said, "Germs?"
Sometimes Joe just doesn't get it.
On the drive home I sat quietly flipping through the book discovering things you need to know like there is 10 million, million, million different bacteria in human poop. There's things in there about pus that are a revelation. I'm reading these things out loud to Joe who is oddly quiet. Then I come upon a fact. I've turned that fact into a quiz. Here, try it out ...
The earliest depiction of a person with a disability at work was in ...
A) 108 AD
B) 1580 BC
C) 1248 AD
D) 1824 AD
Do Do Do
Do Do Do Do
Do Do Do
Do Do Do Do
(The theme song from Jeopardy if you don't recognize my singing.)
If you guessed 1580 BC, you'd be right. There is a painting of an Egyptian priest ... you read right ... priest ... with polio. I looked him up on the computer by Googling three words, egyptian priest polio, I click on the search button and suddenly I'm faced with a huge number of hits. All about this guy named Rom who is depicted with 'withered leg and staff'. One of the hits goes further and tells of this Eqyptian Pharaoh with a disability. When the mummy of Siptah, a Pharaoh who died around 1193 BC, was discovered, scientists found that he had a seriously twisted leg and foot and they attributed the disability also to polio but with less certainty than with Rom. What was certain about the whole thing was that these two guys, without question, had disabilities, and also without question held powerful positions in Egyptian society.
I have one question.
How could we, as human beings, at one time accept disability to the extent that it didn't prohibit people from being in powerful jobs, and now in the age of 'tolerance' have people with disabilities unemployed at a remarkable level? Why is it that people with disabilities have trouble even getting an interview? I feel incredibly lucky to have become disabled after I had spent a career building a reputation and a place for myself. There have been few barriers for me, but only because I was already employed, already 'in'.
Those early Egyptians had it going on. All I've ever really read about history before was that disabled people were discarded, disposed, disposessed. And now I find two guys who must have been pretty cool. I feel like sneaking into schools and finding kids with disabilities and saying, "Hey you heard the one about the Egyptian Pharaoh with withered limb?"
Well, I'd say that little fact was worth a tad more than a cent.
Now did you know that if you lived long enough with smallpox the whites of your eyes will turn completely black ...