Monday, May 12, 2008

Touching The Handicapped
What A Difference Beer And Conversation Make

I had the pleasure of witnessing a handicapped viola student playing his instrument. His handicap was in his right hand, which wasn't a hand at all, but actually two fingers jutting out from an arm.

He held the viola against his chin, and with his right two digits, he awkwardly hooked the handle of his bow.

This was my for my friend's recital, and the viola student was but one of 3 musicians on stage.

My friend was in good spirits and so he suggested we meet for drinks afterwards. I agreed and was surprised to find that we were being joined by the musicians.

They walked in and I noticed that the viola player quite naturally folded his deformed hand into his wrist, which I imagined was a conscious decision in order to hide the two fingers.

When everyone filed in, they all wanted to shake my hand, and I hesitated to do this because to start shaking everyone's hand meant that I would have to shake the handicapped viola player's digits. I chose to wave at the second person I was introduced to who was sitting across the table, and he made a curious remark.

"haha a wave! I guess we're too far away to shake hands huh?"

Now I was feeling bizarre because the person sitting next to me was the viola player who had a gnarled up right hand, and while I enjoyed hearing him play, I wasn't about to start shaking two thin digits straight out of an Alien movie. I figure the polite thing to do is ignore ALL handshakes or shake everyone's hand and pretend nothing is wrong with a hand that only has two fingers, and shake it without making a face.

Naturally I shrugged it off and had my beer, discontinuing the handshaking process before it reached the viola player, to which I'd HAVE to point out that he has two fucking fingers on whatever you call that appendange (its not a fang, its not a hand, its a fand).

And here is where I sing the praises for alcohol, because the more I drank, and the more he talked, the more it became obvious how much of a good guy he was. We accused someone in the group of being gay, we pointed at Lesbians, me with my good finger, and he with his half-a-hand, and a good time was had by all.

So, before I left, I shook everyone's hand, and when it came time to shaking the viola player's hand...well I went ahead and I did it with nary a moment's doubt.

I touched the cripple.

I'm not sure what the lesson is in all of this other than "alcohol makes you do some dangerous things," but I'm sure he appreciated this tiny gesture.

Princess Diana and her dumb lepers have absolutely nothing on me.


David said...

I think the lesson here is that you're socially retarded and alcohol temporarily eases the handicap.

kevin said...

I am not socially retarded, the world is. Thank you.

The 'Goose said...

You are an inspiration to leper-phobes everywhere. As soon as I find a leper, I'm touching the living shit out of him.

"What now, leper?" [Poke.]