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Enabling Good Dialogue

, , , , , , | Friendly | January 17, 2018

(I am at the hospital to see my dying grandfather when I take an elevator alongside a disabled veteran who is walking on two prosthetic legs. I am impulsive by nature, and find that humor cheers me up greatly, so I ask the question that immediately comes to my mind.)

Me: “I have an uncle who has one leg missing and no eyesight. Would you rather two missing legs or one missing leg and no eyesight?”

Veteran: *awkward chuckle* “Uh… neither!”

(We both laugh.)

Veteran: “But in all seriousness, I prefer having my eyes over having a foot back.”

(My aunt and sister thought I was crazy and rude, but I assured them that every person I have met with a long-term disability has felt best about it when people don’t tiptoe around it or pretend it doesn’t make a difference in their life. My blunt manner, combined with the amused bewilderment people get from my openness to interactions with strangers, seems to me to be a good way to cheer people up, especially when they may have felt the grimness of visiting the ICU, which is where they headed.)

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