Megan King, a 27-year-old call centre manager with muscular dystrophy, has announced she’s had enough of hearing about the wonderful example set by the world’s Paralympians, and is sick being made to feel guilty that she herself is not providing a magnificent example of bravery in the face of personal adversity: “Did you see them?’ they whine at me whenever they get the chance, like it’s the only possible pinnacle of my life. Maybe I don”t want to be in the bleedin’ Paralympics.
‘Swim 200 metres or get knocked to shit playing basketball?’ King continued, warming to her theme. ‘The only physical exertion that’ll inspire is me pulling myself out of this chair so you can kiss my arse. If they can think of a way I could get in some elite athletic training around my sessions watching Netflix with a big spliff, they should keep me friggin’ posted.’
While everyone she meets seems to feel the need to talk to her about the progress of the games in Rio, the worst offenders, according to the leisure management graduate, are the well-meaning middle class types who under normal circumstances would be a bit snooty about sport. ‘Racing around in circles wearing lycra would have them sneering on a Saturday afternoon in October,’ claimed King. ‘But if the competitors are hopping around like Zebedee they can’t get enough of it. Telling you how they’re using the athletics as an inspirational lesson for the children, like I could give a shit. Pillocks.’
King is not entirely adverse to more widespread and positive portrayals of disability in the public consciousness however: ‘I hear Malteasers are doing inspirational ads with people with disabilties,’ she noted. ‘Now if you can get me a spot on telly drinking a vat of Tanqueray and Fever-Tree while Ryan Gosling gives me a lapdance, I’ll be the heartwarming triumph of the human spirit you’re after, no problem. No bleedin’ problem at all.’