I knew the day was coming. Any of you that happen to know someone with Cerebral Palsy or have it yourself know what I’m talking about. The day where… No matter how much you try to hide whichever body part is effected; no matter how much you work at not letting a new crowd see what some deem a “deficiency”, someone spots you. And it’s all over. Let the drinking from the fire hydrant of questions begin…
Don’t get me wrong, I love my quirks. I think it’s hilarious. But the wide eyed look of shock when you run directly into a treasured person -who is by no means small- usually ends with, “Dude! First off, how did you not see me, and.. What the HECK is your hand doing?”
Well Sir, ya see, sir.. Um. I don’t know? It felt like dancing and your waist is it’s stage and I can’t tell it to stop cuz it’s just too darn cute, okay? No.. No. That’s not an appropriate response at a Christian College. (It’s not appropriate anywhere). Someday, some merciful PhD needs to spend millions of dollars investing in a short quip that explains cerebral palsy to a blushing man. It’d do a world of good. Any doctors out there willing to contribute, let me know.
Cerebral palsy is a motor skill disability. A large portion of the people mildly effected look normal. Heck, they are normal. (Yes, I’m an expert and of course I’m going to say that). Fine motor skill “deficiency” (not being able to pinch something to pick it up, inability to move one finger at a time) are the most typical.
When the person is tired, however, all bets are off. All of them. Hyper tension sets in, and somehow, these digits and limbs that you were able to command three seconds before grew their own brain. Pronto.
When that happened the other day, I did something I’ve done since before I can remember. I crossed my legs, put my arm between my legs and squeezed. Object of the move? Don’t.. Let.. The..monster… Out. I look like I’m trying not to pee, but it works. I just pour on the humor and people don’t notice.
I ended up explaining it to the best of my ability to someone this week. His response? (Side note, Minors in Bible are just as bad as majors in Counseling)
“So, your left side really DOESN’T know what your right side is doing! Wonder what Jesus would’ve done if YOU were in the crowd the day He said that!” (Matthew 6:3) I wasn’t sure how to break it to him that my Dad had let that joke make its grand entrance years ago. Oh well, the guy was proud of it.
The questions stopped when he realized just how much it didn’t matter. When I started teaching him simple phrases in sign language, he got confused when my right hand never looked exactly right. With a look of concentration as he glared at his own hands, I heard him mumble, “Remember.. Pay no attention to the hand behind the curtain. Just do what you’re told.”
I think I’ve entered Oz. My quirks followed me, though.