Devotee Memoirs--Part 1

I have been attracted to the disabled for as long as I can remember.  I would
embarrass my mother by trying to peek up the cutoff pant leg of a SAK.
I remember seeing a little girl around my age, maybe older at a Sears department
store, who wore a prosthetic hook.  I asked my father how I could get a hook arm,
and he replied to me, "Only if you're very unfortunate."
I had no shame as a kid, it would seem to me as I looked back at my lifelong
fascination.  I asked a day-camp counselor how someone ended up with no legs and
in a wheelchair.  She mentioned something to me about "gain-green".  I grew up
during the post-Vietnam era and remember seeing a guy in some public service
announcement with a disabled vet with no legs rolling through his workplace.  I
also remember seeing a show on TV about a woman with major limb deficiencies, using
the remainder of her fingerless hands to type.  She too was in a
wheelchair and had no legs.
   People who were in wheelchairs and otherwise whole also fascinated me from a young age,
especially if they were wearing socks and no shoes.  I've seen people with muscular
dystrophy, their feet so amorphous that shoes were a foregone conclusion.  Jumping to my
college years, I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Now, if ever there was a college for the devotee, this may have been it.  Now, there
wasn't a preponderance of students in wheelchairs, but definitely more than most
colleges.  It is probably the most wheelchair-accessible campus in the country,
situated perfectly in the flatlands of East Central Illinois--hardly any hills to
speak of.  While at U of I, I got to see my share of fairly attractive young paraplegic
women, sometimes not wearing shoes.  There was this one gal in a chair who would roll around,
one leg crossed over the other leg, and for some reason only known to this gal, the foot of
her crossed leg was always shoeless, and she'd be wearing a sock.  Another woman who I would
sight from time to time was a SAE who wore a prosthetic hook most of the time.  I do
recall one time sighting her without her hook while I was riding in a car.  It does need to
be noted that I was very much in the closet about my attraction to disabled women while in college.
If I had the chance to meet a disabled woman there (which I didn't... they
seemed not to travel in the same circles as me, being a loose-cannon campus radical
and an embarrassment to most of the campus radicals at that...). 
   Out of college, and being true to my underachieving history, I got a job as a bike
messenger in downtown Chicago.  I did get to see my share of walking-disabled/orthopedically-
challenged individuals: women wearing those open-toed booties, beggars missing legs,
paraplegic professionals.  Just to make it perfectly clear, I didn't take the job of a
bike messenger just to gawk at cripples downtown.  You see, I was determined not to take
what I thought of as a corporate sellout job that would make me cut my (then shoulder-length)
hair.  I wanted to wage class war as a member of the working class--or at least in a
working-class-type job and organize the messengers so we could rise up and make revolution...
But I could scarcely organize my own life, much less my workplace.

(more later, as I'm keeping my roommates awake with my typing...)


from: Carlos Desperdicio (USA)