Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What IF?

I've been hearing the word "bound" a lot recently -- college-bound, homeward bound, bound for Ohio, bound for Detroit, etc. "Bound" in this sense is used to suggest "prepared or purposing to go, starting, directing one's course, destined" (OED: subscription only). My nasty little mind immediately begins to wonder about that dreaded "wheelchair bound." What if "wheelchair bound" meant not "trapped in" or even "strapped to" your wheelchair, but "prepared for," "destined," "voluntarily directing one's course for?"


To a certain extent, I suppose, the TAB to disabled thing means that, should people live long enough, they will all "end up" bound to their chairs; it is a destiny of sorts. One to which we voluntarily head? Well, that I dunno. But what if this were the general understanding of how these things work?

I can begin to imagine a world in which wheelchair use is not a problem; it is an accessible world, a place in which disability is simply diversity. I cannot imagine a world in which wheelchair bound is said with the pride and sense of accomplishment as college bound. A place in which the frailty of the body is as accepted/desired/normalized as the destination of a flight. Of course, we all end up in wheelchairs. That's just what happens.




6 comments:

  1. Wow. well said. When reading ur words it's as if u say exactly what I sometimes think n feel inside.

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  2. I just posted on the words wheelchair bound at my blog Bad Cripple. This is a term I despise.

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  3. Me too and a bunch of us just took the phrase right out of about 400 Wikipedia entries, replacing it with more neutral terminology. That and "confined to a wheelchair". Still arguing with people who reverted the changes and just don't get it.

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  4. Oh, I LOVE your thought on this! Love Love Love--I do not take offense at wheeel chair bound, never have. And NOW I understand why (as I always have respected other's hatred of the word, I have no problem with handicapped either, I mean it has been used in Golf forever and it is used to level the playing field---is that so bad?). I think WE embrace or are threatened by certain words needlessly. My 102yr old aunt just HATED when she had to finally use a wheel chair at 99---the stigma is profound and it shouldn't be since it IS a natural course of events for most of us. Is a wheel chair such a horrible thing to be bound for or to? *I* don't think so. And it doesn't define me. That is on ME. Great post.

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  5. Just catching up on your blog ... I love the way you think. Thank you so much for all your words.

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