The older I get, the more inclined I am to lie about my disability. No, I don’t lie about having a disability – I can’t hide my powerchair or profound condition. I simply lie about why I have a disability.
Now, the fact is, I just don’t get the opportunity to discuss my disability with many acquaintances these days. We live in an enlightened time, so strangers aren’t too fixated on my disability, and most people who I deal with personally and professionally already know that I have cerebral palsy based on what they’ve read and heard about me, so I just don’t get the chance to talk about my disability with strangers as much as one might expect.
As a result, when an acquaintance inquires about my disability, I’m compelled to take full advantage of the moment, sensationally exploiting his curiosity for my own enjoyment – I just can’t pass on the opportunity. I’m instinctively compelled to draw the person in close, looking him in the eyes, in confidence, with vulnerability, sharing a tale of my disability that’s unforgettable.
“When I was a young boy, my father was a religious man,” I explain. “One day, he asked, ‘Mark, do you believe in the good Lord?’”
“Yes, Father,” I replied.
“If you believe in the Lord, stand up and raise your hands to the Lord!“ he shouted.
With great faith, I stood up, raising my hands to the Lord – and, at that moment, the wind blew me right out of our convertible moving at highway speed….
As I pause and stare stone-faced at the person, I can see the wheels in his head spinning, horrified by what I’ve shared, while wondering if he heard me right?
Sometimes, I’ll smile and wink, confessing that it’s an old line from a joke that I picked up somewhere and warped it into my own use.
Other times, I simply share my father’s belief that the Lord works in mysterious ways.