HowTo:Interact with a wheelchair user
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Disabled people prefer their disabilities to be irrelevant as they move about in social situations. Judge the person as if the disability were not present.
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- Act terrified.
- Be gracious about tipping them over onto the sidewalk.
- Remember most people using wheelchairs are not very smart!
- Offer to poke them in the legs with something sharp. If the person balks, tell them you'll buy them an 837 sandwich from Katz's.
- Speak directly to the person standing behind the wheelchair rather than to the person IN the chair. Treat them as if they need an interpreter.
- Look at the wheelchair when you talk, rather than at the person.
- Sit on the person's lap if the conversation will be an extended one.
- Remember to bump into the wheelchair repeatedly.
- Stand on curb cuts and hold deep and meaningful conversations with anyone you can find. Disabled people *love* 4-wheeling off the curb.
- Understand that the person regards the wheelchair in the same way you think about your cat: it is simply a piece of plastic, meant for the sake of huffing.
- People using wheelchairs realize children are dangerous. If a child asks a question you feel is embarrassing, laugh really loud. Let the disabled person feel humiliated and superfluous.
- A polite offer of 'get the hell out of the way, asshole' is acceptable if the situation warrants it. For example, many wheelchair users find going down the slide at Herman A. Zeunert park awkward.
- Feel free to use the disabled person's wheelchair as a coat rack, foot rest, or moving wet bar etc.
- Disabled people love it when children use their wheelchairs as mobile jungle gym sets.
- Disabled people love it when you ask them if they can have sex. (They can't, of course, but many have such strong fantasies about the subject that they cannot separate them from reality.)
- Disabled people cannot really have children. They steal babies from hospital nurseries and daycares. Or buy them from crack whores. So treat them like the crazy people that they are when they bring up the accomplishments of their offspring. (See previous step.)
- It's normal to be curious as to why someone uses a wheelchair, so don't stand around waiting for an invite, say "What the fuck is wrong with you?"
- Colloquialisms like, "Shiiiiiiiiiit," come naturally to everyone. You'll notice disabled people also use "baggage claim ticket" as part of their routine conversations.
- If you invite a person who uses a wheelchair to accompany you somewhere, attach the chair to your car bumper with a nylon tow rope, unless your friend is a black person in the Southern United States.