Joe pushing Murphy in the "new" wheelchair in the backyard.
One Saturday evening, the boys and I were having a few beers and enjoying the cool weather of late winter in Savannah. Joe and I decided that, yes, it was indeed time to drive to McDonald's and order some succulent, nasty, fulfilling fast food. Because I was sober, I was elected/volunteered to drive the two of us down Abercorn Street to the beacon of light so proudly represented as a large, yellow "M." As we clamored into my Jeep and began to pull away from our home so fondly named "Randall," I spotted a rather large pile of random junk left on the curb for the next day's bulk trash pick-up.
I stopped the Jeep. "Is that a wheelchair?" I asked, pointing at the mound of abandoned items.
Joe squinted into the night, and upon realization, his eyes lit up. "YES!"
I turned to him, slowly, and in response to his excitement, I calmly expressed that we were definitely in dire need of a wheelchair. However, we were hungry, and I did not feel like parking my jeep and wasting precious McDonald's time to throw a wheelchair in the house. Instead, I asked Joe to send a text message to Eric, who was still in the house, and ask him to retrieve said wheelchair and bring it into the house for us while we were out foraging for food.
This part of the story is not relative, but it is funny. As we were driving to McDonald's, Joe insisted - in his booze brain rationality - that he speak of the conundrum of having coitus while inebriated.
"You never get your nut," he said. "She'll be like, 'You finish?' and I'd be like, 'No, I'm American.'" (As a side note, Joe likes to say really hilarious things while he is drunk, such as the previously written text. Other quotes have been saved in our memories, but they shall be mentioned at their respective times in my stories.)
Upon our return from our quest for the Great Hunger Defeater, Joe and I excitedly entered Randall to find, staged under the ceiling fan's light, an old, dirty, blue-seated wheelchair. We had not noticed it at the time, but stenciled on the back were the words "VAMC CHARLESTON PROSTHETICS." We were elated at the fact that we had managed to find a wheelchair so easily, and we excitedly raced through a list of the many things we could do with such a wonderful vehicle.
Before bedtime, Joe and I cleaned the wheelchair as best as we could, pushed ourselves around the backyard while wearing a Burger King crown for a good bit, then retired the chair to its current resting spot - in the dining room, parked next to the table for that hungry resident who wants to sit at the table and enjoy his meal.
* * *
The next weekend, Eric, Joe, and I had friends over for a little get together. The wheelchair was put to use, harboring my childish demeanor I immediately fall into at any time that I am inebriated. I wheeled around the kitchen, yelling, "I don't need your assistance! I can help myself!"
Eventually, I made my way, via wheelchair, to the back porch of our little home, and proceeded to tell Eric that I, in fact, was suffering from the ailment "Leif Garrett's Disease."
"You mean Lou Gehrig Disease," he responded, laughing at my mistaken vocalization.
"No," I retorted. "I have Leif Garrett's Disease. I talk to people in wheelchairs."
Our friends erupted in laughter. In my drunken stupor, I had created a new "disease." This disease apparently involved the symptoms of being inebriated and having the ability to speak to others seated in wheelchairs.
Now, at any time I find myself sitting in our new piece of furniture, I am reminded of the proclamation I made of my newfound illness: "Leif Garrett's Disease."
I promise you that I am not one to lay judgment on those who have been unfortunately made to spend their days in a wheelchair. However, I am also not one who only applies one schema to an object commonly known for its assistance with those who are disabled. One man's vehicle may just be another's toy.