Why People who Use Wheelchairs Should Join the Mafia - The Mobility Resource

No, I’m being legit.

We’d be the best thing that ever happened to the Don.

See, here’s where I’m coming from. Like I’ve said in the past, I live in D.C. What this means is, I’m shocked when I go to any museum in any other city in the world and repeatedly bounce back off the entrance like it’s a force field because I realize I actually have to pay to get in. So I’m spoiled by the free splendors of the Smithsonian. But what do government-funded galleries entail? Lots and lots of security guards and checked bags.

I, of course can’t fit through those metal doors. They have to wand me (or, my favorite, just circle around me and prod with their eyes). More often than not, I’m cleared to go in three seconds.

I, uh…

You know what, Chris (my boss. Love ya, Chris), maybe this actually shouldn’t be posted on public domain…

Let’s just say with the amount of junk I’m packin’ on the wheelchair, I probably should have been checked a little better.

But not even that. Not even that. Look at the obvious. There are thouuuuusands of nooks and crannies on our chairs.  Places to stuff stuff. Sodas to smuggle. I even have a big teddy bear on the back of my ride (man is it annoying when security contemplates untying him and thrusting him through the X-Ray…) that could be carrying a lot more than stuffing in his stomach.

But he’s not.

We’ve all been there, accompanied by varying degrees of aggravation. Come on, security-passing cripples, represent. Show of hands. With such insusceptible pictures of innocence, such unintimidating-appearing physique, we look harmless.

Are we?

Well, alright. I guess I’m getting a bit overzealous about this heist.  We should be (mostly) harmless to society (there are some aspects of society that could use a little harm-and-erode). Yet you know I preach defiance. This time, rather than promote taking rebellious advantage of these small graces that come with the disability regime (tempting), I say guard it. Be stewards of your own dignity and pride by making there truly not be a need to scrutinize our chairs, even when we might be carrying something that we should have remembered to leave at home. I know it’s not objects, but my hands that will make that a reality. Earn the innocence the world grants upon you. I know I cherish mine.

Yes, I am occasionally swept inside a museum without the proper checks and security when I forget (or push my luck) to take off the bags of my chair, but once in, reflecting, I pause and give thanks that I am one of the many who would not disrupt peace when the choice is available. One of the many that security need not worry about even if they are not quite certain how to clear my entrance with the complicated mix of respect and thoroughness.

Now, you don’t need to tell me. I know. Even with a benign creed, it is selfish of me – the ever-rebel, the steadfast rogue – in my desire to avoid the frustrating and long task of perfectly reattaching everything in a way that I can easily reach them, not to strip my chair before entering as I should. But I am not pumping my fist when I roll through without my pockets invaded. I am endeared by their trust. And safeguard it. Keeping the strangers who pass me safe is something I find worthy as well.

I bet there’s stories far and wide, short and tall of fellow cripples being patted down in unusual, awkward, and clunky ways to enter a secured building. Of course, to cover my bases, I’ve been through some that would upturn every pocket (compared to the more lax ones written about above). And you can beat me up like a mob lord if my take on the whole thing ends up being a bit different from yours.

So to end with. That’s precisely why we should (or shouldn’t) join the mafia. Perfect facades of innocence for getting the, uh,  “job” done. Just remember that. More complaints about employers not hiring handicapped folks?

I hear the Don’s looking.






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