17 August, 2011

A Chair With Wheels Is Called A Wheelchair

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A Chair With Wheels Is Called A Wheelchair


We’re going to do a more personal blog today, I think. Why? Because this is my blog and I can write whatever I’d like. Maybe I should just write 1500 words on the mating habits of the apatosaurus. That may be more interesting then what I’m going to write. Then again, you’ll have no idea unless you continue to read. It’s a weird Saw movie trap, isn’t it. I promise I won’t hide a key behind your eye. (See also, Saw 2.)

Change. That’s what we do, isn’t it. That’s what our culture is based on. Change. Using an ancient art form that hasn’t changed, save for some technological enhancements, for thousands of years. An odd paradox, isn’t it? Change. Modify. Enhance? Maybe. We do things to our skins and bodies; we change them to our liking, or as close to our liking as we can get I suppose.

Not just jewelry, not just ink. We put yarn in our hair. We put paint on our faces. We put ties on for funerals and weddings, we wear sassy and sexy shoes for… some reason. We change. Most of the time, change is a fun thing to do. An experiment, a trying of things outside of our comfort zone. Going outside of the comfort zone can be exciting, frightening, new. All good things. Yes, being afraid can be a good thing. It’s an exciting sensation, and exciting is always good. Especially safe flavored exciting.

This isn’t about what’s exciting. It’s about change. We change, we modify. The lynchpin in that machine which makes it different and fun and interesting and all of that is that we have control of that change. We make the decisions to change. I want a mod, I want a makeover, I want a Huffy. Huffys are a big change, I’ve heard. But we like control, don’t we. We like to manipulate the things around us. We like to orchestrate and dictate, write our futures in our own language, view our pasts through specifically designed lenses. And when we deem necessary, we change something to our liking. It’s human. It’s normal. It’s the way we are built. Control. It’s a nice thing to have. Especially in a society where we have most of our social interactions through writing text on people’s virtual walls. We have such very specific control of how we present ourselves and exactly what we want to say. Except, of course, those people that make it onto www.damnyouautocorrect.com. They kind of missed the boat on looking over your text before you send it.

But what happens when the control is taken from you, and the inevitable change coming is one that you may not necessarily want or care for? What happens when you get sick, when your girl cheats on you, when your workplace goes out of business and you no longer have a job? Changes beyond your control. How do we deal with those changes, and how do they fit into the jigsaw puzzle of our realities? Do they even?

Then there are changes that are coming over the horizon that we have to decide and plan what to do about when they finally arrive. Here comes a change; what do I do when it gets here? Do I welcome it? Do I resist it? Do I force control onto it when in actually there may be no room for control at all? How about an example. Would you kids like an example? Huh? Who wants an example? You do! You do! That’s a good reader!

I want a wheelchair. That’s a change that one may consider ‘big’ or ‘slightly big’ or ‘moderately bigger than wanting a Huffy.’ My legs are bad, kids. My legs are really bad. Perhaps it’s the workload from this summer, all of the moving equipment, gigging, driving. Or perhaps it’s the natural degradation of my worthless carbon meat bag. Whatever the case, walking has become a very difficult thing for me to do, and the cane as ceased its usefulness. I can’t move, and all I want to do is lie on the couch and lose extra inning games in Xbox MLB 2K11. I think about what I have to do today. I think about going to the bookstore to write. And I need cigarettes, so I should hit the Wawa. Oh, and I owe my old man some scratch, so I have to head to the bank. And that blu-ray I want came out today, so I should run up to Best Buy. At least one, or more likely two of these things, won’t be done today because I can’t afford the pain and stress on my legs. Which one goes? Probably Best Buy. Maybe Wawa too. Why? Because I just can’t do it anymore. Change is coming. The kind of change I don’t want.

I can still walk. Slowly and painfully. I minimize the severity of it to those around me, my folks and girlfriend and band. I don’t want to be a useless member of the band, so I move amps; I wrap cables; I drive the three hours to the gig in Virginia; I perform as if it were my last show ever. And I don’t let them know that later that night, I’ll be throwing up from pain, and probably mortgaging my ‘intimate’ time with my beautiful girlfriend later in the week because the residual pain is too great. I just don’t want to walk anymore. Is that lazy of me? Am I a quitter?

Changes. Life changes. Changing things over which you have no control. You see them coming, don’t you? I know I do. I think about the chair. I think about how I have people in my life who live on second floors. I think about how running into Wawa will become a tremendous ordeal. I think about how my mother will be crushed, or at least I think she will, at the notion that her son, her thirty-one year old little boy, is rolling in a chair. I really don’t want to do that to her. She has enough to deal with. My grandmother is sick, my sister just broke her foot, my father just retired. Changes. Chaos. The last thing she needs is this: “Hey, mom. I’d like to graduate to a wheelchair because the pain in my legs is unbearable.” She doesn’t need that kind of change right now. Am I unwise to err on the side of timing, bad or otherwise, or am I unwise to err on the side of putting my pain on the back burner? Either way, I’m unwise.

So how do I welcome the change with all of its negative repercussions without wallowing in them and trying to focus on the ripple effect of doing what’s right or wisest? When it comes to a drastic lifestyle change, what’s the right decision? Do you look out for your own? Or do you look out for the greater good? Can’t they be both? Often not, it seems. So change comes, and what do we do about it. It’s a less simple reaction or decision than where my next mod is going. Though that is important, and I’d like to get my nostrils done again, that’s not really what’s on my mind right now. What do I do about the wheelchair thing? Do I accept it and look at my decrepit body as having reached another stage of worthlessness, or do I stick it out and continue to hobble around until I cannot bear to stand any longer? Change without control, kids. Some of it’s good. Some of it is… different.

I suppose that there is a solace in knowing things will always change and change again, and some, if not most, of that change will be pleasant and beautiful. There’s marriage and houses and making people and promotions and family things that are beautiful that happen. There are personal accomplishments that happen, life goals that are achieved. Songs and poetry written. Video games and books finished. Small victories. The accomplishments of making someone cry with something I’ve written has very little to do with chairs with wheels, but the chair with wheels is hard to go unnoticed when you’re the one in the chair with wheels. That’s selfish thinking, I suppose. Still, the cane is a nice accessory, so maybe we’ll hang onto it for a little bit just for the sake of it’s coolness. Maybe a monocle is in my future. That’s a rad change. I’ll go for a Mr. Peanut look. Stay beautiful, kids.

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