Thursday, August 26, 2010

One Man's Annoying / Aggravating / Interesting Access Picture of the Week

What makes this picture interesting is that you're not quite sure if the male and female icons are pointing out that this space is designated as accessible or if they are pointing at and mocking the icon with a disability.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Must See SCI TV: Breakthrough with Tony Robbins

One evening a few weeks ago I was working at the computer while peeling through my DVR and I got an out of the blue text from my good friend Kurt, who also doubles as one of my two co-founding partners of the Minnesota Spinal Cord Injury Association nonprofit we’re starting, that read, “Are you watching the Tony Robbins special on NBC?” I’ve never been a fan of those “inspirational speaker/life coach” types who charge people oodles of money for their books, seminars, etc. so I very facetiously replied, “Not a fan, is he going to work a miracle or something?” A quick reply came back simply saying, “Turn now to NBC.”

So I obliged him and immediately flipped the channel to NBC to find fifteen minutes left of a “Breakthrough with Tony Robbins” episode that featured a quadriplegic named Frank and his wife Kristin. Frank broke his neck and sustained a spinal cord injury diving into a hotel pool on his wedding night, and the couple had been struggling both independently and collectively with their new, unexpected lifestyle ever since. I’m not going to do a blow by blow account of the episode in this space since you can just watch the episode yourself, but the premise is that Robbins puts them up to a handful of challenges, again both individually and collectively, that changes their outlook on how they can live their lives in light of everything that Frank’s new disability brings to the table (e.g. skydiving, spending time apart for the first time since his accident, playing “murderball” (aka quad rugby) in front of his family, and working on and driving a desert truck since racing one was his dream). Then there’s one other big surprise at the end.

Of course, some of the thoughts that Frank (and Kristen) shared hit home for me since I parallel them in a lot of ways: second guessing his choice to dive into the pool, grieving the life you should have had, having a loved one have no choice but to help him with his personal cares, not having the ability to sense his wife’s loving embrace, feeling like he’s holding his loved ones back, self doubt about the ability to start a family, the frustrating strive to be self supportive, hesitations about getting outside of his comfort zone, etc. And then yet despite all the hard struggles and emotions of living with paralysis, gaining that strong sense of pride and accomplishment for the things you can do as well.

If you live with SCI or know someone with SCI it is a pretty powerful piece. Heck, I recommend it to anyone interested in checking out an inspiring personal journey about overcoming personal demons and adversity, and ultimately achieving potential you didn’t know that you had inside of you. And dare I say it: a new found respect for Tony Robbins, if you are like me up to this point.

However, the caveat is that the clock is ticking because it is only available to be viewed online until September 4th. Here is the Hulu episode link, or click the link above to go to the NBC show site. I would have brought this to people’s attention sooner but I actually just got around to watching the balance of the episode that I missed tonight. So tune in before it’s too late. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One Man's Annoying / Aggravating / Interesting Access Picture of the Week

Things that go through my head immediately upon seeing the picture below are: 1) based on the word use alone my assumption is that this parking spot must be located in either California or Hawaii where surfers live (there's also a hint of palm tree trunks on the top left background), and 2) that I would love to park there since this is quite possibly the coolest label for a handicapped parking spot I've ever seen.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Get a Clue

I was thinking about calling this “One Man’s Annoying/Aggravating/Interesting Anecdote” or something like that and start a new blog segment, but I decided “Get a Clue” was much more apropos. The point is that I wanted to pass along a few links to a fascinating handicapped parking story I came across not long ago. Here’s the link to the local news story (“Woman sues over handicap parking ticket”) and here’s the link to a related follow up blog post (“Is This Able-Bodied Woman Entitled to Handicapped Parking?”). I can tell you very quickly that the answer is “no.”

The bottom line is that an able-bodied woman illegally parked her Mercedes SUV in a handicapped parking spot, but the more detailed breakdown is that she parked there because her arm was still in a sling from a recent surgery, the surgery left a “huge scar,” she was still on medication, it was raining hard, and she ran into the store for just a few minutes. She returned to her car to find a $300 parking ticket. Pretty open and closed case—busted, pay the fine, live and learn.

But what makes this story fascinating are the assertions that she made after the fact. Now she admitted that she parked in a handicapped spot on purpose, that she does not possess a disability placard, that she does not have a disability, and that what she did was wrong. Still, given the aforementioned circumstances—the arm sling, the “huge scar,” the sore arm, being on medication, and the “torrential” rains—she asserted that she had a disability “that day” and therefore for her to have parked anywhere but the handicapped spot was “unavoidable.” Given that defense, she argued that the $300 parking fine was way too high, and subsequently went on to sue the town of Danvers, Mass. after the parking clerk refused to dismiss her ticket. The nerve! Ridiculous. I’ll just assume that her case won’t get too far.

Unfortunately, these kinds of “I’ll only park there for a few minutes” sets of circumstances happen all the time, all over the country, every day, and has prevented me from finding a parking spot dozens of times over the years. But this inexplicable set of events is a new one on me.

So with that all I can really say to this lady is, “Here’s a quarter (or 1200 in this case), get a clue!”