Dearest Mariah, RE: Dr. Hawking


By Mark E. Smith

Maybe I’m naive or eternally optimistic, but I truly root for whack-job celebs, where I want to see them turn their lives around, where they would prove the world wrong. After all, as one with a disability, some people project traits on me that aren’t accurate, so I fathom that the same could be said about celebrities. Sure, I see Britney Spears wigging out each night on the cable news networks; however, part of me wants to believe that she’s just misunderstood rather than a drug-addicted, bipolar, child-neglecting, egomaniacal, nut-job who only wants to get her groove on with losers. I mean, we all have bad days, right?

And, so this brings me to another kookoo celeb who I root for: Mariah Carey. Now, my take on Mariah Carey is that she’s so beautiful and vocally talented that I desperately want to know that she’s not the crazy cliché that the media portrays. Every time I see her on television, I get up close to the screen, hoping to hear some kind of proof that her IQ is a higher number than her dress size. Please, Mariah, utter the words I want to hear – quote Nietzsche or explain macro economics – prove to me that there’s not just a loose marble rattling in that overly-hair-sprayed head of yours. 

But, alas, Mariah shattered my hopes again this past week, noting that she wants Stephen Hawking’s augmentive communication device so that she doesn’t have to speak or write: “Before a big show I have to do ‘vocal rest’ where I’m not allowed to speak for two days. It’s so boring having to write notes to everyone! I need Stephen Hawking’s voice machine for when I’m on vocal rest,” explained Mariah.

As if her statement isn’t silly enough, there are reports that she went on to say that using Hawking’s communicator would make her sound smarter, too.  

Apparently Mariah is completely clueless to the whole disability thing, not understanding that Dr. Hawking doesn’t use a communicator because he’s a hip, Hollywood cat, but because he needs to as a result of ALS. Well, I guess someone should bring her up to speed on this, and it might as well be me: 

My Dearest Mariah, 

I am writing to you on the subject of Dr. Hawking’s augmentive communication device – or, “text messenger thingy,” as you might call it. I would convey this correspondence in the form of a coloring book for your best understanding, but my drawing skills are on par with your acting skills – that is, very poor. Therefore, please excuse any polysyllabic words in this letter that may confuse you. 

Firstly, I shall point out that Dr. Hawking has a condition called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which affects his speech, and requires him to use his augmentive communication device to communicate with others. And, no, he doesn’t use it just because he doesn’t want to write, just like guys don’t date you for your worldliness. In fact, Dr. Hawking’s communicator is truly a tool of liberation, allowing him to live a highly-successful life, including dictating books that you wouldn’t understand and teaching college courses to which you can’t enroll (see, outside of Hollywood, the rest of the world has something called “standards”). 

Secondly, please understand that Dr. Hawking’s communicator doesn’t make him smart. I know that you look into a mirror for hours like a parakeet, thinking that there’s someone talking back at you, but I hope that you can recognize that Dr. Hawking’s communicator merely speaks the words that he inputs into the device, a process called text-to-speech. Put simply, the reason why Dr. Hawking sounds smart is because he is, just like the reason why you sound like an overmedicated airhead is because… well… you know. 

Lastly, while you may not fully understand why it’s in entirely in poor taste for you to make light of Dr. Hawking’s communicator, I have one final reason why you should think twice before wanting a communicator of your own: You have to know how to spell to use it. I thank you for your time, and I look forward to seeing you on the next season of the show “Celebrity Rehab.” 

Hugs & Kisses,



Author: Mark E. Smith

The literary side of the WheelchairJunkie

6 thoughts on “Dearest Mariah, RE: Dr. Hawking”

  1. Hi Mark,
    Thanks for a very thought provoking site! I’m glad I found it. As for Ms. Carey’s comment regarding Stephen Hawking’s comm device, I have to include that while I don’t disagree with your commentary I would add that her insight into the device’s use and her desire to use also is a sort of acknowledgement of its hipness and usefulness. If the sound of his device is his voice on the Simpson’s then it has become the recognized voice of Stephen Hawking the man and great physicist and therefore is for many “common” folk the “sound of smart” in today’s pop culture. You and I both know Ms. Carey is part of that reality.
    Keep up the great work!

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