Dealing with the ‘Normies’

How to Deal With:

TSA Agents: The TSA spiel about what I call the “airport massage” is tedious when you’ve heard it for the 52nd time. “I will use the back of my hand on sensitive areas, do you have any external devices, do you want a private screening, blah blah blah …” It’s even more tedious when they are training and cautiously engage their novice TSA spidey senses to explore every crinkle of clothing while they disguise their own insecurity in safe drivel talk: “Oh, you’re off to San Diego? Sunny! Heh heh.” I’ve often thought of asking them to do my breast exam while they’re at it, or to check the skin on my butt while they’re back there.

You must simply keep in mind — as you watch the minutes tick on and the other passengers stream by — that while YOU don’t have heroin stuffed into your cushion, the elder lady in the wheelchair behind you just might. These blue-shirted warriors deserve to have at least 10 minutes of their lives feel significant, so just smile, avert your eyes as they cautiously caress your inner thigh for signs of a crossbow, and engage your calming breaths as they remove your shoes to test them … the ones that are in pristine shape because you haven’t walked anywhere in the last 16 years, much less through a warehouse filled with gunpowder. Maybe they should check the tires instead?

Online Dating Inquirers: How do you possibly respond to the New Agey guy who says you look “interesting,” asks why you use a handcycle rather than a foot pedal bike (despite your FIVE wheelchair pictures and reference of paralysis in your profile), and then implores in his third message that you meet his personal guru who miraculously taught himself to walk again through sheer mind training? What do you say to the guy who starts ranting about his other disabled friend who preys on his generosity and selflessness while ignorantly dismissing his own obvious narcissistic behaviors? And what about the guy who sends you a dick pic and wants to see your picture, but won’t deign to entertain any sort of real meeting because you are apparently not his type? The answer is, simply treat them as a research project in which you are the scientist and they are messed up weirdos about whom you can draw curious conclusions and make funny jokes. And when appropriate, respond to uncouth messages by typing “Barbaloots in their Barbaloot suits.” It throws them off enough to allow a clean getaway.

Inaccessible Places of Worship: For those religious establishments that don’t feel the need to invest in ramps for their sacred houses, keep in mind that what they offer inside can be accessed in numerous other places. A quiet focused environment? Sit under a tree. Wine and bread? Italian restaurant. Live music? The local bar. Community? Again, the local bar. A sense of charity and righteousness? Be kind to the homeless person on the corner. Everlasting life? The library. Frankly, sometimes being excluded is the blessing … it reminds you of all the other places in life where you can get inspiration.

People Who Decry Inaccessibility But Don’t Do Anything About It: You know the type. They watch you in a restaurant as you struggle to squeeze through tightly situated chairs or move kitchen supplies so you can get to the bathroom, or strain to see over the high top because there are no low tables. They might even say something to you: “Ugh, that’s really challenging for you, huh sweetie?” “Jeez, they really should make that easier for you!” But that’s all. They couldn’t possibly take the initiative to actually say something to the business owner to rectify the issue. They leave it at the comment and feel better about themselves for having noticed it.

As frustrating as it may be for us to continually deal with those who are all talk and no action, in their silence, we get stronger! It’s as if they are sitting eating cupcakes and watching crappy network TV while we climb rock faces and practice swordsmanship.

** This post was originally published on

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