Saturday, October 24, 2009

An Undignified Observation

I keep a Google Alert running for "confined to a wheelchair" and "wheelchair bound" simply because [1] I don't like the terms and [2] I am curious about how they are still used in the English language.

This press release came up via my alert settings earlier this week, and after I read it I found it was garnished with phrases that irk. 

After reading the release, I was found myself mulling over the name of the device -- "Dignity Wheelchair." 

I began to think the designation might be sufficiently inelegant enough to fit a company who would send out a press release with "wheelchair bound" in the first paragraph. I am still not sure how I feel about the ... indignity of the release later using the possibility of decreasing workman's compensation costs as part of the chair's selling point. 

I admit to being undignified. And more often than I would like. Nevertheless, I tend to believe that neither using a wheelchair nor the necessity of urinating or evacuating my bowels subtracts from my dignity nor differentiates me from the billions of other human beings who travel with me on this mortal coil.

Thus, I have no reason to believe that I actually need -- or require -- a special wheelchair in order to move within polite society. Dignity arises from how we act rather than how we look. I imagine Bernie Madoff looked quite dignified in the custom-tailored suits his Ponzi-scheme investment scam allowed him to purchase.

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