Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Presto Chango

It's happened.

It took me by surprise.

But it has well and truly happened.

My brain is now disabled.

I was getting into a hotel chair, raised by elephant feet (thank you again Mary and Natalie) when I looked over at the ottoman. It's pretty high. It's taller than an average coffee table by far. I thought to myself, naturally, without a second though, "I wonder if normal people can use that?"

"Normal people??"

"Normal people??"

I have never used that term, in contrast to myself.

In an instant I realized that in my mind I have now become completely 'them' ... the 'you people' referred to by the majority.


Odd thing though.

Didn't hurt a bit.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Yikes - is that a good thing? By giving "them" a label as normal - what does that make you?

Dave Hingsburger said...

Yep, Anon, for me it is. I saw your comment early and thought I'd respond, I don't often have too much time ... but yeah, I'm different from the norm, not as big a deal as I thought it might be. But then, I'm not been part of the mainstream with sexuality or size, this is just another area where difference just is ... I don't fear difference. In fact, maybe difference has a coolness all it's own.

Unknown said...

Hey!! Who are you calling "normal" :) Seriously though, I have noticed in the world of kid/babydom that many of the tools I used with children with special needs are now being sold for "normal" kids. Which means of course that they are now cheaper (because we always charge more for "special" stuff)and perhaps the line is beginning to blur between "special" and "normal" and we are calling them all children. Hope so :)

Utter Randomness said...

It's fairly natural for humans to think in dichotomies, us and them mentalities, "othering" (if you're a scholar of these sorts of things), especially in the West. It can be problematic, but I think it also gives us the tools to learn how to recognize and respect differences.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I see what you did there, reminding us of the temporary nature of any ability. You had me for a moment, but I have to respectfully question you. Can your brain be considered disabled by not being impervious to unconscious ableism? I ask because my brain is disabled, as in, I actually have a cognitive disability. It looks like you just compared my disability to ableism. Maybe you were speaking figuratively, but, well, I'm sure I don't have to remind you how often any disability is (non-figuratively) misconstrued as a bad attitude.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to respond so quickly - we all need to be thankful for those little pockets of time :-). I guess to me there is a BIG gap between the "not normal" (which is the opposite of normal as in your blog) and "different". I'm all for different in all it's forms - but the "not normal" label kinda triggers me off. I do fight, not because I want to be "normal", but because I want to be included. What is normal anyways??? :-)

wheeliecrone said...

Welcome! As another one of "them", I'm glad to have you on board.

wheeliecrone said...

Welcome! As another one of "them", I'm glad to have you on board.

Nan said...

I don't know . . . I have a button stuck on by bulletin board that reads "normal is a setting on the dryer." While I like dichotomies because they make the world really easy to deal with (us/them, normal/not normal) they are a poor way to think of the universe and all our connections. They are a poor way to grow. They offer a very flat way of being community. They make me rather nervous. . .

Ettina said...

Anon with a cognitive disability,

I don't think that's what he meant at all. He was saying he's the one with a 'disabled brain' - not in the literal sense like you (or me!), but in the sense that he has a disabled identity - he thinks of himself as a disabled person, he sees disabled people as 'us' and normal people as 'them'.

Oh, and to people who object to the term normal - to me, as a scientist, I just think of normal as 'within two standard deviations of the mean on a normally distributed characteristic'. No value judgment implied in my use of the word. Dave would be abnormal since he's outside the mean on walking ability, and without treatment he's outside the normal range on blood sugar levels. I'd be abnormal since my IQ is greater than 130, and since my social skills are below the lower end of normal, and since my personality traits put me outside the normal range on several personality scales, most notably those tapping autistic traits.

Being abnormal has meaning in a sociological sense. It means that you live in a world designed for people who differ significantly from yourself in some way, and most of the people you interact with will have certain things in common with each other that they don't share with you. This can take on a different flavour depending on the kind of abnormality and the society you live in, but there are certain constants.