Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Whoa Nelly!!!

Whoa Nelly!!

Whenever things were going awry, veering off course, my mother would holler 'Whoa Nelly!!' This is an expression I use seldomly. I'm pretty good at riding the waves of both mis and fortune and have learned, as all adults do, to deal with disappointments philosophically. So there have only been few occasions wherein I needed 'Whoa Nelly' in my vocabulary.

Such an event happened yesterday.

As most of you know, yesterday I did up a recipe to satisfy the request of a couple of readers. I decided to just try to funny it up and use a bit of diability humour (I'm told there is no such thing .. I differ). So I put in some lame jokes (see there is disability humour) to keep things rolling along (really, see?) and I was enjoying the writing of it.

Then in the comments someone took extreme umbrage that the recipe wasn't something that was an actual adapted recipe that could be made by someone who was an amalgam of every disability that could possibly exist. Well, OK, I don't really get it, but that doesn't mean the person is wrong, nor does it mean that they shouldn't express anger or disappointment if that's how they feel. I've had a lifetime of people telling me NOT to feel in particular ways .. I'm not doing that to someone else. So be mad, that's cool. Express anger, that's cool too.

But ...

And it's a big but ...

In that comment were these words: I'm not sure where to start with how terrible this is on a blog purporting to represent disabled people ...

All I can say is WHOA NELLY!! (Thanks Mommy.)

When did I ever say anything about representing disabled people? Only one person writes this blog (that would be me) and I write this blog from my experience and my experience only. I don't claim to speak for all disabled people. I don't even claim to understand every disability issue. I write from the point of view of a guy who is in a wheelchair and who works with those who have intellectual disabilities. That's it. That's all I do.

My opinions are just my opinions.

My words are just my words.

They are no more than that. I began this blog because I wanted to write a daily piece about my life as a disabled man. I wanted to find a new voice in alongside of the voice I'd used for years. I had little expectation of finding a readership. I had little expectation of writing for more than a year.

I write because I want to. I cannot imagine trying to write something that would speak sense to every single person with a disability. If I speak to one or two people with an individual blog, I'm doing ok.

So don't grant me power I don't have.

Don't gift me with power I don't want.

But most importantly ...

Don't expect of me what I can't give.


Heike Fabig said...

Whoa Nelly indeed. I noticed that comment and thought it was a bit rough. This is *your* blog with *your* story and *your* take on life. And that's it.

I just assumed that this person was having a bit of a bad day...

Whoa Nelly.

RusW said...

Other than feeling my arteries slowly clog I liked your recipe and your humorous approach to writing it out. That's how dinners are made in some households. A team effort.

I read your blog everyday because you write well, write often, make me think and sometimes laugh.

yanub said...

Someone complained about your recipe? I mean, aside from the fact that it was for tater tot casserole (ewwwww!), I thought it was great, and I laughed. And it inspired Frida and me to post our own recipes on our blogs (and maybe some other people too?). If everyone posts a recipe, then there will be representative recipes for every condition and taste.

wendy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wendy said...

Had a laugh at your instructions even if the recipe itself scared me a little!
As to the Whoa Nelly issue, I have never seen you claim to be talking about anything other than you own experience. You don't strike me as the poster child type!

Cynthia said...

It was a fun recipe, meant to be fun for you to write, fun for you to make and fun for us to read. I loved it! Not everyone gets a joke. It's ok. I loved the sitee and standee parts. My favorite times to cook are with my dh. You and Joe share the work cooking. Makes sense to me that you write about that.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I've gone back and re-read my comment and thought it through in the light of your post. I'm sorry if I offended you personally in any way, I hope I didn't, and if I did please accept my apology
Thing is, I stand(groan) by the sentiment, although this is your blog about you and your life in exactly the same way mine is, whether we like it or not from the outside people are going to view what we (and others) write as representative of a wider disabled community.
I think this is the first time ever that disabled people's experiences and lives are being put on display to the world not via freak shows but by the medium of blogging in our own voices.
I don't claim to represent anyone but myself, but I'm well aware that those readers of my blog without experience of disability, particularly EDS (the condition I have) now assume that all people with EDS experience everything I describe.(comments to that effect have been made)
I'm not explaining myself terribly well here, but I'm afraid that we are all in a position of power we may not want. It's the power of a minority group speaking with their own voices for the first time and so being taken as representative of all.
Scary and wonderful isn't it?

FAB said...

Maybe Dave is somehow representative, but just like non-disabled people, don't we still need to assume that EACH person is an individual.

Dave I love you for your honesty and especially your humor, and I imagine it would be difficult to be honest or funny if you had to think about YOU represent EVERY person with a disability!

FridaWrites said...

My dad used to say "whoa, Nelly" a lot, especially in pre-seatbelt days.

I think if any of us write out what we do to get dinner made as people with disabilities, the recipes would each be individually very different, even among wheelies--this was Dave's version. Most of my recipes would include helping out for a few minutes while standing on one leg and trying to avoid thinking of pain, walk in circles around the kitchen island as I start to head to couch but head back again, give up and lie down on couch for a few minutes and repeat.

I don't usually use my scooter in the kitchen but I think I should with the new one since it has a power seat (can raise it) and I can do more that way.

lina said...

well put.

Anonymous said...

I think I know what you mean about humour, I was recently reading an article by a man in a wheelchair who I usually respect but he started calling himself a "spazy" and talked about a t-shirt he and some of his friends wore that said "No I'm Spasticus." I cringed because many have spent a long time getting rid of that word but who am I to stand in the way of what someone who is educated and knows disability better than I do calls themselves as a joke. Still don't necessarily get it but clearly it isn't my sense of humour.


Unknown said...

You give plenty Dave.


Glee said...

Hey Myr I understand your cringe feeling when your respected friend calls himself a spazzy. I see ppl cringe when I refer to myself as a "crip". I am reclaiming a word, modified and stronger sounding than "cripple" and less descriptive and demeaning than "person with a disability". I am a person with an impairment and society is the bunch that makes me disabled.

It's a bit like ummm say there is a person who is "ugly" by society's standards. Just because society has described them as ugly doesn't mean that they then have to go around referring to themselves as "a person who is ugly".

With us crips it appears necessary to provide others with a descriptive for ourselves on occasion. Well just because society wants to label me as disabled doesn't mean I have to use that label. They can stick their damn labels.

In much the same way as homosexuals have proudly reclaimed the word "gay" and even go so far as "gay pride" I am claiming the word "crip" and even "feisty crip". My blog is called GleeCrip!

So chill out with your friend cos it's his impairment and he can call it what he likes.


Shan said...

The thing I often don't like about blogs is that people can get quite testy.

Now, I am wondering: ham would definitely harmonise nicely with your tater tot casserole, but would capicolli also be okay? or would it be too hoity-toity? I think I've got some, and it's not Maple Leaf....>>wanders off to the fridge<<

Anonymous said...

Glee I think you have summed it up better than I did myself thanks