Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy birth-versary ADA!

*Me and Andraea circa 2002. Yeah, I'm wearing one of Draea's long ass weave in this picture. Try not to be jealous.

Yesterday, one of my best and dearest, Andraea, called me because she needed help with coming up with a name for a outreach project she was doing with kids. [Tangent: Andraea was my roommate my freshman and sophomore years in college. We were both Mass Communications majors and both completely ridiculous- so our friendship was immediate. Unlike me, Andraea actually got her dream job in DC and is kind of a big deal working with a government non profit for people with disabilities. She is off having sushi with Michele Obama (at least in my mind), while I am desk jockeying it. On the upside though- She has since become increasingly PC (at least when in the company of work people) and has removed the terms "wheelchair people" and "handicappeds" from her lexicon. I only work in insurance- so I am still allowed to throw around inappropriate terminology. However Its not completely out of her system, because she sent me the following text last week: "I wish you were here to see all these wheelchairs, limbless people, and little people tearing it up on the dance floor."] When I asked what the project was for, she said "Happy Anniversary by the way. Tomorrow's the 20th birthday of something."

I sat baffled as to what was meaningful in my life 20 years ago. The movie Ghost came out...but at 8, I was not really a Swayze fan [Tangent: I still am not. Yeah...I said it. That just happened. Just because he died, it does not mean I am going to act like I was a stowaway on the Swayze bandwagon. I always thought he came off very feminine in Dirty Dancing, and after he made To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar- I could no longer see him as anything but Miss Vida Bohemme.]

Hmmm....what else? The debut of the Simpsons? Its the anniversary of my cousin Mark's wedding and our family's vacation to the picturesque town of Detroit, MI. Its the anniversary of me buying school supplies in preparation for beginning 3rd grade? I mean I did have a super sweet 101 Dalmations pencil bag, which was pivotal to that school year, but was likely largely ignored by society at large.

the remainder of our conversation...

Me: I give up. What did I forget to buy a card for?

Andraea: Tomorrow is the 20th Birthday/Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act.

Me: Is this a Hallmark holiday? What do you do to celebrate? Do I have to get all my friends with disabilities something?

*what I should have stocked up on for this occasion.

Andraea: No...but I'm crafty- I'll make you a card with Stanley on it, the ADA mascot.

Me: WHAAA? They have a mascot? (I felt like she was lying, and so I semi-imagined the weird Olympic mascot from the '96 Atlanta Olympics. I mean, he looked "special")

Andraea: No he's the little man on the handicapped parking sign. [Tangent: After much googling- I have learned this is false and Andraea took it upon herself to name him. I don't think this is weird at all because all of my plants and major electronics have names. Would you like to meet Bea Arthur (my Ipod), Bernie (my MacBook Pro) or Barney (my cactus)? Personification of inanimate objects is not a sign of mental illness- don't believe the hype. ]

This made me feel super out of touch with my people. I felt like a wee Chinese child who was adopted by a nice white family and didn't know how to use chopsticks. Why did I know so little about The American with Disabilities Act? I then went online and wiki'd and google'd my heart out. I have since learned the following valuable bullet points.

- My employer likely got a tax break for hiring me (cool?!?)

- Transportation should be accessible and available to those with disabilities (hahaha. not true)

- Disabled people should have their needs specifically met educationally.

*I am not sure what this has to do with anything, but it's adorable.

Ok: Now for a serious note. The next few numbers were really fascinating. I kinda felt like- "self, you have totally beaten the odds." Pretty crazy...

19% of people with disabilities said they did not get the medical care they needed in the past year, with lack of insurance coverage cited as the top reason.

• 21% of disabled working-age Americans had a job in the past year, versus 59% for those without disabilities.

• 17% of people with disabilities have not graduated from high school, compared to 22% in 2000 and 40% in 1986 — the first year the survey was taken.

• 48% of people with disabilities eat out at a restaurant twice a month, compared to 75% of those without disabilities.

• 34% of disabled people say inadequate transportation is a problem, compared to 16% of those without disabilities, a gap that has widened 5 percentage points since 1986.

Let that simmer. and consider buying me this for the birth-versary of the ADA


  1. Izzy was the mascot name. As in "What the fu[k Izzy" ?

  2. As a child who found paralympic happy meal toy Barbie to be patronizing... I don't know how I feel about this mascot business. But I think we both know who would love to be the mascot so she could list it as a personal accomplishment in her introductory speech. LoL.

  3. Angi...amazing. And...yes I am aware of who you speak!

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