Maybe because these human interest stories are a dime a dozen. I’m not trying to be cruel. I’m not trying to devalue what he’s doing. I’m not trying to underestimate the power of the human will to survive, thrive, and create.
While categorizing this a “sob story”, as malcolmvexxed put it, sounds harsh, it’s hard to deny that this is exactly how the media treats them. Tug at the heart strings and get people to cry. There’s certain inspiration to be found through these stories. I won’t deny that. However, such stories aren’t particularly unique or all that new.
It’s unfortunate that we live in a culture that says that everybody’s special and that everybody’s a winner. To quote Roberto, “OUCH…Ouch oh man, OUCH.” I know. We’re not all special though. Not everybody is or can be a winner. I look at this guy, what he’s overcome, & what he’s accomplished and say, “He’s found something that makes him happy. He’s found a way to make the best of his situation. Good for him.”
I’m just struggling to find out what makes his story more special than the next guy’s. Without getting too personal, I can safely say that a number of us here on this board have overcome some pretty stiff odds to be where we are today. Whatever our origins and circumstances, here we are - still standing and, hopefully, thriving.
We’ve all got a story; some more dramatic than others, but still. The story is not that life knocked you down, but that you got up again. That’s the human condition. We either sink or find ways to swim. Thankfully, most of us are swimmers.
Put to paper, some of us here would seem as interesting or inspirational, if not more so. This struggle over adversity is all too common. This guy’s story is interesting, but no more or less special.
We’re not all made the same. I understand this all too well. I have a 26 year old cousin. She was born physically disabled and is mentally no older than a 3 or 4 year old. I fully acknowledge that there’s a different set of standards for her than there is for her other cousins. She’s her own best metric. When she accomplishes something above and beyond her known limitations, I’m happy for her. It’s a “good for her” situation.
Similarly, when I look at this guy, I too say, “Good for him.” Even so, I have to acknowledge that he’s being judged by a different set of rules. The moment somebody puts him up as a source of inspiration for everybody else, the rules change.
Like I said, I love my nephew’s art. It’s got a permanent place on the refrigerator. In that context, I’ll always judge him against himself. However, the moment I decide to hang his piece next to everybody else’s in a gallery, I know that he’s going to be judged against them. The bar gets raised and how his blue mowhawked stick figure men stand against everything else changes.
You can’t offer up a story like this for public consumption without opening it to public scrutiny.
Honestly, how many of you would chime in and offer him some friendly tips and advice if you met him? Again, that’s how we grow and get better. I’m sure that he wants to be treated like everybody else. If that’s the case, we should be happy to constructively critique him as we would everybody else. That’s the sort of thing these sites are built around, not ego stroking.
Good for him, but still… I believe that we should strive for some semblance of equality, regardless of race, economics, or physical challenge. We may not be all made the same, but we can certainly strive to be treated the same. Love it or hate it, that comes with as many downsides as upsides.
If that makes me heartless then I’m sorry.
(FWIW, though I won’t apologize for having an opinion, I do apologize if it has offended. I’m not trying to rub people the wrong way.)