Wednesday, December 11, 2013

10 Things That Piss Off Amputees

I often get a lot of questions from people who ask me about my disability.  Many folks in the liberty movement have seen my face all over the Internet, but not the rest of my body.  Needless to say, finding out I have one arm can be a little shocking for some folks.  After many interesting and colorful questions, here are a few things I’d like to share with everyone.  Keep in mind this is all from my own perspective.  So here are 10 things that piss off amputees:

1.      Being called an ‘amputee.’  I suppose it doesn’t matter for actual amputees, but it does for folks like me.  I’m not actually an amputee—I’m congenitally limb-deficient, meaning I was born without an arm.  There was no amputation and nothing was removed.

2.      Asking about parental drug use.  “Did your mom do drugs when she was pregnant with you?”   Now let me ask YOU something: Did your mom used to pull trains back in college during the era of sexual liberation?  Not exactly the most pleasant thing to picture, is it?  Neither is the idea of my MOM doing hard drugs.  To answer the question, no.  My mom was a patrol officer in the LAPD when I was born.  She was quite healthy and in tip-top shape.  Some things just happen and you need to get used to that.  For those whose disabilities really are from parental drug use, let them tell you, because that’s private and potentially embarrassing information.

3.      Staring.  If people were checking out my hard-earned physique, I wouldn’t particularly mind.  But I know 9 out of 10 times they’re either staring at my prosthetic arm, or on relaxed days, at my empty sleeve.  As your eyes tell you, there’s nothing there.  Neither another arm nor Waldo are hiding there, so you won’t find them by staring a little harder.

It's funny when we do it...
4.      Amputee humor.  Don’t try making jokes about “giving me a hand” or “getting a kick” out of something.  It’s funny when we do it, not when you do it.  You ever walked right up to a man and made racist jokes about his ethnic group?  Same train of thought here.  And for heaven’s sake, I’m a Jedi knight, not Robocop!

5.      Trying to help carry things.  It’s very polite to offer help to someone struggling with carrying heavy or awkward items.  If they take you up on your offer, great.  If not, don’t keep insisting.  If I need help, I’ll ask.  If you think I or any other amputee will fail, let us fail and get it over with, because we may prove you wrong after all.  Seriously, I work out for a reason.  I can carry more than your average Joe.

6.      Telling us stories.  It’s common practice for people to try to relate to an amputee by telling some old, tired story I don’t give a rat’s ass about.  Yeah yeah yeah, your father’s mother’s uncle’s brother’s second cousin’s former roommate (twice removed) lost his leg in a motorcycle accident back in 1985.  Yeah yeah yeah, I’m sure he inspires everybody.  The story would’ve been nice when I was 5 years old and doubting myself, but now that I’m pushing 25, I think I can make it through the day without feeling sorry for myself.  Now can I have my life back, please?  I have to go to class.

7.      Pity.  Don’t feel sorry for me.  Don’t lament over a tragedy that never occurred.  I can never miss what I never had, and those who do miss what they once had are a minority among amputees.  Pitying us only reinforces the idea that we’re victims instead of the empowered people we strive to be.  You should offer your sympathies to Lorena Bobbit’s husband long before offering them to us.

8.      Online dating.  I had to learn the hard way to make it absolutely clear in writing that I’m missing my right forearm.  It’s less than a footnote to me because I’ve conquered the disability, but it’s a giant shock to some people who’ve never been around a disability.  While I have met some high-quality women who don’t mind it, I have met others who read my profile and think I could be the father of their children… until they find out that some assembly is still required.  Then they run in the other direction.  At least it makes for fun stories at happy hour.

9.      Lack of honesty.  Because we’re real people with emotions and stuff, we have relationships, even romantic ones!  And many of them come to an end. Such is life.  There is nothing more annoying than people walking on egg shells to spare our feelings.  Ladies, don’t say “It’s not you, it’s me.”  It’s the oldest line in the book.  Be honest—it is me.  Maybe I wasn’t romantic enough, maybe I didn’t pay enough attention to you, maybe it’s my random humor, or maybe I’m just an asshole.  So just be honest so that I can learn from it and improve myself.

10.  Lazy non-amputees.  People who illegally park in handicapped spaces or take the elevator for only one floor seriously need to be thoroughly beaten with an old World War II veteran’s prosthetic leg.  Lazy bastards!

So I hope these things made the picture a little more clear for some of you.  These are problems unique to an often overlooked sector of society.  By no means do we want all kinds of special attention—God knows special attention to amputees is often of the circus variety.  But remember that we’re human beings, with our strength and faults just like you.

Frankly, my disability was a blessing in disguise.  Without it, I never would have had the drive to swim across lakes, climb mountains, become an Eagle Scout, join the military, and become a serious liberty activist… all of the above-mentioned just to prove to myself that I could.

My day job is to help train combat medics. I LOVE what I do!

Bonus - Things that piss veterans off: When I’m sitting around with a bunch of my veteran buddies, all of whom were in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, but strangers come up to the group and they think I’m the war veteran.  I always tell the truth, but not gonna lie, it’s kinda hilarious.

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Online dating graphic courtesy of

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