Dancing Through Life 'Til Hell Freezes Over - Gary Presly on Gimp Life at 50 Years


Gary Presley, author of "Seven Wheelchairs: A Life Beyond Polio" (University of Iowa Press) begins his article in the Washington Post this way, "This month I began my 50th year of riding a wheelchair through life. In case you're wondering, everything is all right down here."

He goes on to give advice like almost all of us wheelchair riders give:

On the other hand, maybe life has always been good down here, at least for me, and I have been slow to recognize it. Maybe it took me too long to understand Mr. Lincoln's opinion that "most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

So if you see me rolling through your life, smile. I'll smile in return. Good karma, right? Don't be a boor. Don't lean over me and ask, "What's wrong with you?"

Only small children can ask that question and get a fair answer from me, one I try to fit to their level of understanding. Their mothers are sometimes embarrassed, but I don't mind. I smile and open the child's eyes to the magic in my world.

For people who should know better, who see me as an object of curiosity, I have nothing to offer but a bland smile. I suppose I could explain that I am more like you than you want me to be: an embodiment of the secret fear that the world often spins out of control. But you need to discover that for yourself.


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