Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

A Short Tale About Some Big Boneheads

17 Feb 2012Lots of people have fears, they can be valid fears, or very unusual. I have a friend with koumpounophobia, a fear of clothes buttons. When he first told me, I honestly couldn’t stop laughing, and didn’t think it was possible, until one day, he nearly had a panic attack when I handed him an envelope with money that I owed him in it, which I had surrounded by all types of different sized and shaped buttons.

When he saw the buttons in the envelope, he screamed and threw it back at me. Looking back at it now, I feel bad because I’ve since learned that a fear of buttons is a real phobia, but at the time, I thought I was the funniest person in the world, and he was the craziest.

Comedian/actress, Rosie O’Donnell recently admitted to a phobia that she has on her own talk show; The Rosie Show, while interviewing so-called comedian, Chelsea Handler. Rosie confessed to Chelsea that she was ashamed of her fear of little people.

Rosie said that her fear of little people stemmed from her grandmother, who was scared of the munchkins in the Wizard of Oz, I do have to agree though, they used to scare the hell out of me when I was younger…. I think it was their creepy clothes and voices that did it for me; I also used to freak out over the Oompa Loompas too, from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory *shivers running down spine*.

Anyway, during the interview, Rosie and Chelsea discuss little people, Chelsea compares sleeping with a small statured man, to child abuse. Rosie says her brain gets confused because she’s looking at a small person who is an adult, and she can’t distinguish between the two. Chelsea says that by hiring little person, Chuy, who now works on her show ‘Chelsea Lately’, she has basically saved his life (despite the fact that she belittles (get it?) him all the time, and makes him dress up in costumes), because according to her, no one else would’ve ‘given him a go’.

Ultimately, the two women are just throwing around stereotypical views and essentially perpetuating the fears or misconceptions that people have towards people of short stature.

Technically, at three feet tall, I am a little person, and I know that it bugs me when people assume that I’m of lower intelligence, or a child, just because I’m smaller, so I can understand the outrage that has exploded from many people in the small statured community.

As I have always said, I think the biggest problem in society when it comes to able-bodied people reacting to people with disabilities, is lack of awareness and the outpouring of stereotypes that exist in the world.

Another incident that was in the news recently, which had terrifying consequences, was of an English man, Martin Henderson, who is a little person. Martin was out for his birthday at a pub, when he went outside for a cigarette, and an unknown drunken fool picked him up and threw him hard towards the ground, trying to copy disgraced English rugby players, who did the same thing to little people in New Zealand a few weeks earlier, which has now been dubbed ‘dwarf tossing’.

Martin was taken to hospital shortly after the throwing incident, because his legs were going numb. He sustained nerve damage to his spine, and now requires a wheelchair to travel long distances. The mystery thug has still not been identified.

After reading Martin’s story, and hearing about his weekly ordeals of taunting and being ridiculed by the public, which he has endured since he was a child, due to his small size, I feel a sense of sadness that someone who is of normal intelligence, and should be treated as a valued human being, isn’t given the respect he deserves. We live in such a cruel world.

If you’d like to read either story of Rosie and Chelsea bagging out little people, or the ‘dwarf tossing’ incident, click on these links: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gossip/2012/02/rosie-odonnell-little-people-chelsea-handler.html or http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9009559/Dwarf-left-paralysed-after-being-thrown-by-drunken-Rugby-fan.html

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