Opinion: Dealing with an injury, being disabled is not humorous

By Katherine Heimel — Why do people seem to think it is amusing when someone is hurt or disabled? They laugh when they see someone on crutches and joke about the difficulties of being in a wheelchair. Crutching down the hall, worrying you might be late too class, with your arms absolutely killing you is not anyone’s definition of fun. If a couple of freshman girls are saying how funny it would be if they kicked out your crutch at the same time it makes you seriously reconsider why you thought coming to school was a good idea in the first place.

Being unable to do something because of a disability or injury and can make even the smallest task more complicated. Some people think it is necessary to imply that it is the injured person’s own fault or think it amusing how they can struggle with a mundane task. Do they know what it feels like to be unable to so much as carry a drink without help? Do they know how tiring it is to support all of their weight on their arms, all day long, while trying to keep up a normal pace? It is exhausting, embarrassing and, most of all, frustrating.

They do not understand but still think they have the right to make snide comments and laugh behind the person’s back. They shove past injured people in the hallways without thinking that maybe, just maybe, it is difficult to keep balanced when they cannot be sure their crutches will stay steady while they take their next step. They let doors slam behind them without considering how on earth a person is supposed to open a door for themselves when both of their arms are already occupied.  If people could simply have a little consideration for the people around them, injured individuals could focus on recovering instead of just trying to make it through the day.

When you take into consideration the fact that some people have to put up with this kind of abuse not for weeks, or even months, but years, it becomes simply inexcusable. If in addition to facing a lifelong disability you had to sit through other people’s ignorance and callousness at your expense, you would probably not be so quick to sneer at someone in a wheelchair just because they dared to get in your way and waste your precious time. It would be nice to face that level of understanding without the personal experience but quite frankly, that is just too unlikely.

Everyone will always be quick to say they care about the disabled and handicapped but when it comes straight down to it they always just seem to be ignored and ridiculed. Every thing they struggle through somehow ends up being considered just a burden, not to them, but to the rest of society. Being injured or disabled is a painful experience. It would surely be appreciated if they did not have to deal with the selfishness of others in addition to everything else.

 [Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]