Let’s go back several years, no need to count how many, to the August of my 18th birthday. I had graduated that Spring, moved “away from home”, was legally (almost) an adult (19 is adulthood in the state of Nebraska) and excited to embrace two civic duties now available to me: 1) Vote* 2) Give blood.The first was easily registered, the second wasn’t. Turns out to give blood I had to be 18 and have certain healthy weight and blood pressure qualifications, which I did not. I even tried to negotiate with the nurse, to no avail. I'm asking for two things for my birthday this year, read on to give one.
The recently publicized quote from a UK public official using the term “mongols” as a descriptor of people with Down syndrome reminded me of the reason I won’t be seeing David Sedaris perform live when he comes through town next year.
In his book, Naked, David Sedaris tells us about his time as a volunteer at a mental institution during his youth, including this anecdote:
“The day proceeded, everything from a mongoloid teenager with an ingrown toenail to a self-proclaimed swami who had fashioned himself a turban of urine-soaked towels.
Out of Control
Years ago I internalized everything wrong happening around and to me. When people were mean. When my naivete’ allowed for manipulation. When I wanted change but couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel… Then there were three Aha moments that changed my future. The first came from this quote:
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” – Gandhi