think of myself first and foremost as a comedian.
However, when I mentioned in a previous
column that I would try to be more involved
with our readers’ recovery, I started receiving a
blizzard of letters. Now I’m feeling more like Dear
Abby for CVAs. While this may not be my forte, I was so
flattered that I swung for the fences and dove right in. Let
me share the advice I gave to two of my favorites, and
you be the judge.
Dear “Going Rogue for a Ride in Alaska”:
Thank you for your letter. I have never received
anything from your great state, so imagine how excited
I was to receive your muddy, tundra-stained envelope.
(The roaring Kodiak bear stamp was really scary!)
While it probably took a variety of airplanes and the
better part of a year to reach my NYC apartment, it’s
possible your problem may have already been solved.
Nevertheless, I still feel it’s my responsibility to respond.
I am sorry to hear (yet not surprised) that your
insurance won’t cover the expense for a motorized
wheelchair. While I have never priced one, I understand
some can cost as much as a Toyota Corolla. However,
I think your idea of swiping a motorized shopping cart
from your local Anchorage Costco is a brilliant solution!
Your cognitive therapist must be very proud of you.
Now, to your question of what to buy as cover.
Personally, I would keep your purchases as light as
possible to ensure a speedy getaway — popcorn, chips,
marshmallows. I’d steer clear from Spam or canned
caribou of any kind. These will slow you down for sure.
I hope my advice will aid your quest for mobility.
But remember, if something goes wrong, this
communication never happened.
And then there’s this …
Dear “Gotta Go in Idaho”:
Thank you for expressing your concern that there are
too many non-disabled people using handicap stalls in
public restrooms. Although I should warn you that some
in the disabled community feel the word “handicap”
is not only passé, but politically incorrect. Once I was
called out for using the phrase “handicap accessible”
to describe a venue where I was performing. I suppose
I could have gone with something like “invalid-handy,”
however I never cared for that word because if you put
the accent on the wrong syllable, it’s actually the word
in-valid, meaning “not valid.”
Anyway, I was intrigued by your idea that these
offenders can be ticketed and fined with the proceeds
being donated to a favorite charity. Hiring police, per
your suggestion, is a possibility, but it could end up
being an expensive proposition.
Here’s a thought… how about deputizing retired
hotel bathroom attendants? This would be a cheaper
alternative while providing part-time employment. Matt
Dillon deputized Festus on “Gunsmoke,” and it was a
win-win for both.
Now, about the fine. Let me suggest four easy
payments of only $9.99. This way the charity of your
choice will make money, and it will also minimize the
offenders anguish so they just might do it again — in
which case said charity will make even more money!
Your out-of the-box fundraising ideas are impressive,
and I look forward to working with you on more of them.
So if you have an awkward stroke situation — and
what stroke situation isn’t — drop me a line, email or
tweet and I’ll be glad to impart my 20 years of survivor
Editor’s Note: All of John’s “advice” is his own, the information and
opinions presented here do not represent the views of the American Heart
Association/American Stroke Association. However, we do agree that serving
as an advice columnist may not be his forte.
Curb Life at the
Ask Me Why
A Unique Perspective on His Survival
by Stroke Survivor and Comedian John Kawie
DVDs of John’s award-winning one-man show, Brain
Freeze, are available at Amazon.com. For booking
information, contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See a clip from John’s one-man show, Brain Freeze.