Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Report On a Lemonade Life

"If at Birth You Don't Succeed" by Zach Anner   Henry Holt 7 Co.   338 pages   $27

Anner was born two months early and either was born with or developed Cerebral Palsy immediately after.  Happily he was blessed by loving and supportive parents as well as an older brother.  They did such a good job raising him that he decided to become a stand-up comic from the seat of his electric wheelchair. 

Since then he has produced various shows, built around his handicaps - such as "Rollin' with Zach,"
"Riding Shotgun"( travel) and "Wednesday Workout." 

He has a (to me) straight-forward sense of humor.  This happened, and it was damned funny!  No self-pity.

His message in brief is:  If you have to be in a wheelchair (or a walker) Own It.  Make conversation in elevators.  Unless it's a skyscraper, fellow passengers can escape quickly enough.  And hell with them if they act disturbed.  Because others will talk right over your head as it you were an  idiot to boot.  Don't let'em get away with it. 

Other facets of a debilitating condition?   We're all human.  Some ailments come with the advice that "This is an expected development" or "The reason this is happening is ..."  I can assure you that I was not blithely at ease writing about adult diapers, for example.  Just suck it down because whatever "it" is, it is Mother Nature  telling us something.  Just like she told a whole bunch of other people.

All that aside, Anner is funny - a girlfriend tells him he'll be the navigator for their 10-hour trip and his aside to the reader, "I'm the guy who once heard the doorbell, ran to answer it and opened a closet door and fell in."

In illness, and life for that matter, laugh at it and laugh at yourself.  It can - and should be - done. 

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