B. C. E. takes on new meaning

Les was a chef before he was born. He helped with a BAADS Thanksgiving some years ago as a gesture of kindness, and found that — as he remarked to a friend helping out yesterday — “boy, these disabled people sure can cook!”

I laughed out loud, losing several points for coolness — but I regained them later with my Drunken Sweet Potatoes.

A weighty label like “disabled” sweeps everything before it. Literally, everything… before it. Most of us had full lives before we got a crippling illness or injury; we all have full lives now, even when much of that fullness has to do with how much harder simple things are.

But everything we did, or were, _before_ or _besides_ being [whatever] is still with us. Abled-bodied people rarely seem to think of that themselves: the term “disabled” makes our able-ness seem surprising.

Back in the late 1980’s, the socially-preferred term was moving from “disabled” to “handicapped”. This explanation from a kindly woman explained why: “It’s not correct to say I’m dis-abled, because I’m _able_ to do many different things. But I have to deal with added burdens to get the same things done that a normal person does, so I’m _handicapped_.”

Horses carry extra weight in a race, golfers get extra points on their score, and racers get penalties added to their times to handicap them. Though life isn’t a sport I entered with any thought of competition (and that’s where the analogy falls down), it’s true that I do carry a burden which makes it harder to complete the same tasks that anyone does.

But I can still cook one heck of a pan of Drunken Sweet Potatoes. Not everyone is, ahem, able to do that.

I’m definitely handicapped. I’m not sure I’m disabled. I can still write, and often remain coherent through a whole paragraph. That’s an ability!

B. C. E. — in my case, that means Before Crippling Event — I could play the flute pretty well, too. I can’t even hold the darn thing for more than a few seconds, now; the handicap there is too great to overcome.

Sadly, it’s still true that — whatever we call it — this is a nasty, harsh reality which everyone handles poorly sooner or later; the terms will continue to revolve as we try to keep from getting too stuck in our collective thinking.

As the next decade turns, I expect the terminology to change again. And then again a decade after that. And again and again, as people age and grow and try to loosen up their thinking. Rock on, I say! — We could all use a little more change.

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Extreme Moderation: an Olympic challenge

I got on the wrong train today. Got off 15 minutes later – was already 15 minutes late, so now it’s pushing an hour.

Ok, so the pain is up lately, not much sleep for a week, lot going on, etc. etc. The fact is, that’s how my life is: pain, survival, and figuring out how to handle normal issues under abnormal circumstances — this is just life.

I’m paying a lot of attention lately to navigating & negotiating these realities without succumbing to the inherent drama. One can have enough of drama, however seductive & compelling it is.

The fact that pain, survival and abnormal circumstances make the most thrilling narratives doesn’t make this an easy task. But who needs easy? It’s boring.

Y’know, I never thought of it that way before….

Here’s a new sport: Extreme Moderation — staying on top of my own responses and managing intelligently when my body plonks or my brain goes AWOL. What an interesting challenge for a recovering adrenaline junkie.

I’ve often said that, when you’re skirting Paradox, you’re close to naked Truth. So I think I’m onto something.

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File-sharing ~= sex, fecal transplants, and bacterial cognition

This is the richest, most fascinating article I’ve read about life, the biosphere and everything:

http://www.miller-mccune.com/science-environment/bacteria-r-us-23628/

Now that’s a writer with ADD, putting all that into one contiguous piece — but also she’s got one hell of a gift, to make it so coherent and approachable. I want to be like Valerie when I grow up!

I’m completely blown away. I’m going to go for a bus ride so I can explain to the air how thrilling bacteria are. After all, I have to take the bus ride anyway, so I might as well scare people off.

I am in paroxysms of bio-geek delight!

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Fabulous dress sense!

Coming up to Castro & Market, I noticed half a dozen middle-aged men, most in wonderful shape, some with jackets draped over their chairs and some with jeans in puddles around their feet. Wearing nothing but hats. … And a few tattoos, possibly as punctuation, but it’s not like they cover anything.

I perked up and went over; said, “Gentlemen, I _love_ your outfits!”

A circle of shit-eating grins glowed back at me. The cutest-and-he-knew-it said, “Thanks; we worked real hard on ’em!”

Had it been an enclosed space (like a bar), I’d have had a comeback, but aware as I was of the very mixed crowd, I just gave a little laugh and passed on –with a big grin.

I love this town.

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