Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Would it help if we were a little “off?”

I was on the phone with my brother today. He has Down’s syndrome and lives in a group home but comes home to my mother’s house on the weekends. He calls the group home his “college dorm!” He is lovable and funny and people really enjoy being around him. Anyway…I was on the phone with him and as I we were talking about what time I would pick him up, I heard him utter a deep, exasperated “uhh…the TV.”…Then from the background I heard one of his staff members thank him for letting them know. I was very confused because it really hadn’t seemed like there had been much of a ruckus but he was distracted from our conversation for a second. I asked him what was going on and he replied, “Oh. I was watching the television in here and Mark just threw it out the window. The whole set.”…I knew that he was on the second floor of the house so I questioned him further. I asked him if it was his TV and he told me that it was the staff’s TV/VCR combo. I laughed so hard because I found it to be quite an eye opener that sometimes we live in situations that seem completely normal to us but if similar things had taken place in other people’s lives, it would’ve caused quite a stir. To him, the fact that the TV he was watching had been thrown out the window, was nothing more than an everyday annoyance. If someone had thrown my TV out the window, I think I would’ve taken it a little harder…on a couple of different levels: 1: I would wonder why someone would simply throw it out the window before asking if he could use it himself. 2: Because I live alone and my neighbors only break into my house to look for cash. Chances are that they would simply take the TV instead of breaking it.

The question is, are we freer to do what we want to do if we are mentally challenged in some way? It seems as though that may be the only difference between someone who is functioning at the standard level of mental capacity, and someone who isn’t. Maybe that guy who threw the TV out the window was simply doing what many of us have thought of doing at times… A cliffhanger season finale… Election Results night…The Jerry Springer Show…We just don’t have the guts to follow through. A little voice goes off in our head and says, “Wait. That’s not right!” That voice, while it might be keeping us out of prison, sort of sucks. Is it really the “boss” of us? If I was allowed to throw a TV out the window once in awhile, maybe I’d be more fulfilled. Once in awhile, tossing that rational voice aside and driving your car into the front window of a McDonalds when they don’t have strawberry shakes, might just be good for you!

Well...Maybe I got carried away a little there... There may be some repercussions to the strawberry shake scenario. Perhaps something a little smaller, like not drying your hands in a public restroom, would be a better place to start expressing ourselves. The point is that so often we are trapped behind our rational thoughts, that we never take the chances we need to take in order to get onto the next path that’s been carved out for our lives. Maybe the color was bad on that old TV/VCR combo and it needed to be thrown out the window so my brother’s staff would be forced to buy a new one that would be able to tune in more of the educational channels….Maybe an anger management show or two?… Possibly we should follow his lead and step out from behind our fears once in awhile in order to view the life that’s been hiding just around the corner from us.