Dave has been in a wheelchair since he was run over by a moped delivering him a pizza. ‘At first, after I got run down though I was getting loads of sympathy and people were happy to let me sit around the house playing hours and hours of World of Warcraft, it was brilliant’ he explained.
However, Dave has noticed a change in people’s attitudes recently, which he thinks is down to other disabled people performing inspirational feats. ‘Take that 16 year old who has just done a marathon on crutches’ he grumbled. ‘It’s all very well raising loads of money for charity or whatever, but what they don’t realise is that it increases the pressure on disabled people like me who really can’t be bothered to do anything.’
He also blames the war in Afghanistan, which has meant lots of young blokes coming back with limbs missing and instead of getting hammered and adapting to life on wheels forming basketball teams or going to the South Pole with Prince Harry. ‘Nobody says anything explicitly’ said Dave, ‘but I can see them thinking that even if I don’t go out canoeing or rock climbing then I should at least get a job, and with this bloody Disability Discrimination Act there are ramps and lifts everywhere so I am fast running out of excuses as to why I can’t.’
Fellow long term disabled idler Ray Fulop agrees. ‘The Eighties were a golden age for us disabled’ he says. ‘There was loads of sympathy around then, plenty of benefits and people willing to lend a hand. Now it’s all about independent living and getting us into work. People used to see a wheelchair and want to know what they could do to help, now they walk past and ignore you because they think you will be offended if they offer to go and get your shopping for you.’
His Mother however says that she is realistic. ‘I don’t expect him to climb Everest, or even do his own laundry but he could at least make the effort to go to the toilet unaided. After all he has only broken his ankle and he will be out of plaster in a week or two.’
19th May 2012