Thursday, December 30, 2021

Not dispensible

if our disability is anything, it is a fire. we give our fire – our work, our own personal story back out to the world, not hoping for a grand conflagration, but a beacon for an ever-opening world.
~Stuart Ian McKay

I saw the documentary Crip Camp Wednesday night and LOVED IT. So good. Thank you to everyone involved with making it, including the Obamas. If you are like me, you don't watch documentaries much, but you should watch it.

On another topic that is actually the same topic, I live in a county where people have been good about wearing masks. Yesterday I was in Target and Barnes & Noble and I didn't see anyone not wearing a mask in either store. During the pandemic I have seen people not wearing a mask or wearing it wrong sometimes, but I have only been provoked to speak to someone about it once.

It wasn't the person so much as my personal circumstance that did it...I had just spent two weeks staying in the hospital with my husband, who had sudden kidney failure. So I had seen zero people not wearing masks for two weeks. What I HAD seen were folks who were doing their very best for others, putting other people's health front and center, and I just couldn't stand the sight of this woman at the grocery store wearing her mask under her chin. Such disrespect for everyone around her.

The poem I'm sharing today expresses why Crip Camp made me want to sob. It's not that the movie is sad, it's the utter disrespect and disregard the disabled community has been shown during the pandemic that is so heart-wrenching. (This poem is by a British poet but applies just as much to the U.S.)

Dispensible Other
by Janine Booth

Accept our rule and stop this hue and cry
Some loved ones have to go before their time
It's just the weak and sick and old who'll die

We have a theory here to justify
Our nudging unit thinks it's just sublime
Accept our rule and stop this hue and cry

No need to test or rest or notify
Our British stock is mostly in its prime
It's just the weak and sick and old who'll die

Forget your fragile neighbours and apply
Survival-of-the-fittest paradigm
Accept our rule and stop this hue and cry...

read the rest here


On the one hand, more people have turned out to be disappointing than I would have ever expected, but on the other hand (literally) watch people being creative and beautiful in this hand ballet from the 2020 Paralympics:


Carol's Corner has the Poetry Friday round-up today. Thanks, Carol!

P.S. My husband's kidneys are working now!


Linda Mitchell said...

Oh, that line...or, maybe refrain of history: "bring out your dead" is chilling. During this pandemic I've seen so many times that we humans are just the same as we were in past plagues. It's disheartening. I really thought we had learned a few things about taking care of each other through the ages. And, I'll admit, I'm a bit angry about it all. Love this poem. Love that you are sharing it to close out the year and I'm hoping for better in 2022...starting with helping Carol's community survive and recover from these terrible fires. Ugh!

Irene Latham said...

Dear Tab, I'm so glad your husband's kidneys are working now. We will check out this movie (we love documentaries!). The hand ballet is such a moving piece of art... thank you! xo

Linda B said...

I'm so happy for your husband's recovery, Tabatha, & that most in your town wear masks. Here, too, but my son & family live in Texas, say they are the very few wearing them. My words are always the same: "I don't understand". there is a pic in the NYTimes today of people in 2018, the 2nd year of WWI & in their pandemic, all wearing masks. I'm sad that it's become this way, a tragic "It's just the weak and sick and old who'll die". I also saw someone say that so very few children have died, so why are we putting them through the restrictions in school? Of course, we know for those parents, one is too many. Thanks for the poem. Wishing you & all your family a better 2022!

laurasalas said...

Thankful your husband is doing better, Tabatha! I think of Hitler every time I hear people say that it's "just" x, y, and z who are dying. Sometimes I'm ashamed to be human. Then other times, like watching this amazing video, I'm overcome with joy and pride. Thanks for the rollercoaster ride today, and Happy New Year!

Carol Varsalona said...

Tabatha, this post is so meaningful to my family. My son was a competitor in the Long Island Games for the Physically Challenged. It was an amazing experience there. The community was strong and the competitions as real as could be. He found acclaim there as a swimmer but in the real world he was often shunned. Life is cruel and strange at times. The hand ballet shows the potential of disabled people.
I am so delighted to hear that your husband is doing well now. It is so difficult to have illness over the holidays. We are off to the COVID Testing site for my son. It is probably a very bad cold that he has like the other members of the family but the doctor wants to be sure. Unfortunately, there are no more home test kits in this area. Happy New Year.

Linda said...

Thank you for highlighting this important documentary. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm going to. May 2022 be filled with joy!

Michelle Kogan said...

Thanks for sharing this powerful poem Tabatha, that really cuts into the heart of raw emotions and feelings. It's others that we have to think about, care about and protect, by coming out of oneself and helping another. Glad to hear your husband is doing better. Thanks also for the movie, and the mesmerizing dancing hands video–Wow, terrific! Happy New Year!!!

Margaret Simon said...

Thanks for such a rich post. I'm happy to hear your husband is better. I do not live in an area where people mask well and it can be so maddening. Thanks for the watching recommendations. I'm not sure I can do a sad movie right now. I'm in escape mode.

Tabatha said...

Margaret, it's not a sad movie! It's inspirational and empowering.

Carol Labuzzetta said...

Tabatha, Thank you for sharing your personal strife with masking. Personally, I do not understand it either. A gesture so small (wearing a mask) speaks so loudly about how one feels about their fellow humans. I am so glad your husband got great care and now has functioning kidneys. My mom was hospitalized during the pandemic for urosepsis and we experienced much the same. The hospital and its staff were outstanding at putting their patients and community first. Everyone respected the rules. Happy New Year!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

I appreciate the reminder about Crip Camp--I saw a piece about how it came to be made early on and then have forgotten to watch it. That video is stunning, and I guess I'll go and look up Janine Booth when we're living in Brighton this summer! Glad to hear that Ben's kidneys are back online. May 2022 bring less of all these challenges.

Mary Lee said...

I agree that this is the best of times and the worst of times, with incredible generosity and creativity, and total boorishness.

Thank you for the heads up about Crip Camp. Looks like I can watch it without having Netflix. For supplemental reading, I recommend Sharon Draper's OUT OF MY MIND and her new sequel, in which Melody goes to summer camp, OUT OF MY HEART. Draper does an exceptional job showing us the humanity of kids with disabilities.