We all have moments where we stick our foot in our mouth (pun intended!). When you have only one foot (or in my case no feet), that moment can be even more awkward. I compiled a list of all the screwball things that have been said to me or my amputee friends over the years. And what’s a screwball question without a sarcastic screwball response.
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I must note here that the intentions of the questioners are typically not rude or heartless. But just because I do not believe most people have ill intentions in saying these things, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t draw the line in the sand for basic conversation etiquette. Take a moment to read my humor-inspired list below and feel free to add a few of your own in the comments!
Humor Disclosure Statement: Our rhetorical responses should be humorously interpreted by other amputees and may sound extra harsh to make a point. Some humor may not translate for my two-legged friends. Reader Beware!
“Well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?” – Actually that is not always true. Most people that have lost limbs, lost them in ways that very easily could have killed them. That being said, you have no idea how hard my life is or has been. Don’t brush my sacrifices off with a petty silver-lined comment. Those comments only show that you feel you have rationalized and justified my entire life in seven words.
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“I guess I shouldn’t complain about my problems to YOU…look at YOU!” – The truth is that we all have problems no matter how great or small. But really, stop comparing and assuming that I must be doing awful just because I am missing legs. Seriously, listen to your question – it’s really rude!
“It’s such a shame…you’re so pretty…” – Can someone explain this one to me? When did having all your limbs become a requirement for a pretty face? Last time I looked at someone that was pretty, it wasn’t because of her pedicure.
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“Maybe someday you will find a young man that will love you in spite of this.” – When I was single, this was said to me quite often. I don’t care what was “intended” by this statement, it is rude. It always made me want to say “well looking at you (knowing you got married), I find hope.”
“My brother’s nephew’s sister has a niece that is cousins with a girl dating a guy that lost his pinky and still runs a marathon!” (Exaggerated family tree …but surely everyone knows SOME distant connection) – I don’t care. Really. As bluntly as I can say this I will repeat myself: I don’t care. Each amputee is different. Each level of amputation is different, and we don’t all carry some membership card stamped that we joined a club. We are individuals. I also don’t care if you saw the latest technology on television. Truthfully, my insurance won’t cover any of that stuff for another 15 years anyway.
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“Wait, you are married like that?” – Yup, girl with no legs and managed to snag herself a man. And not one that felt sorry for her either…imagine that. This comment makes me sad for people, because they must not understand what true love is about.
“I wonder if you can have kids like THAT?” – Well, I don’t have any yet. But seriously people, I just got married and just purchased a house. One thing at a time! And besides, that is my private business. How do you know that this isn’t a sensitive topic that may cause me to burst into tears? How rude! I don’t ask you if you can have kids like THAT…
That about sums up the most frequent comments made to me and my amputee friends. I am sure that if you are reading this and you are an amputee, you have a few of your own. I would love to read them. Leave a comment below the article to share with all of us!
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To my two-legged friends that have stumbled and probably even found yourself in the above list: I love you and wouldn’t have had an article if it weren’t for your kind clumsiness! Thank you for being you and I am more than sure you have experienced plenty of inconsiderate statements directed at you. Share those stories with me as well!