A girl in a wheelchair wearing a shirt that says, “I run better than the government”
A girl in a wheelchair wearing a shirt that says, “I run better than the government”
A friend sent me this a while back. Still makes me laugh.

Sometimes, being in a wheelchair is funny.

Not the actual being disabled part, though that presents its own set of hilarious circumstances which make people uncomfortable and a little squeamish when I describe them.

Many people err on the side of caution when they interact with me for the first time, afraid they are going to say something to which I will take grievous offense and for which I will label then as ignorant and intolerant.

Personally, the clichéd “walk on eggshells” approach annoys me. It’s insulting and patronizing. It’s also incredibly boring.

What I enjoy much more is when…


A newsstand displaying various magazines
A newsstand displaying various magazines
Image by Michael Zimmermann from Pixabay

The day I finished grad school was one of mixed sentiment. On one hand, it was all “Congratulations on this amazing achievement.”

On the other, it was, “You’d better get a job and start paying back those student loans, because, if you don’t, the loan company is going to take the house.”

It was more than a little pressuring.

What’s worse is that, at the time, the economy was in the toilet. Sure, there were jobs out there, but many of them were minimum wage, hourly jobs, many of which were only offering part time employment. …


Photo by Yaopey Yong on Unsplash

This may come as a shock to some people, but I promise you, it’s true: bicycles aren’t cars.

Give that a moment to sink in.

Bicycles aren’t cars, and yet, some people ride them in lanes dedicated for automotive traffic. Normally, this would be mildly annoying at worst.

However, what’s concerning, and what prompted this post, is when people, presumably parents, make their kids ride in the street with them. I don’t mean teenagers or middle schoolers. I mean little kids. Kids who look like they’re in kindergarten. Kids who can’t yet conceptualize their own mortality.

That, or when cyclists…


Photo by Josue Escoto on Unsplash

Social distance is a funny thing. Besides being a phrase I hope to one day never hear again, the physical separation from other human beings is a current necessity to help keep us healthy as we’re still dealing with COVID.

However, the practice of social distancing has some unintended negative side effects.

Human beings are highly social animals. We need to be around and interact with each other.

According to the CDC, when forced into prolonged isolation (such as a quarantine during a global pandemic), human beings suffer the following:

-Significant increase of premature death from all causes, a risk…


Red and white 1’s and 0’s forming a red heart on a white background
Red and white 1’s and 0’s forming a red heart on a white background
Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash

When I was in college, I arrived early to class one day to see my friend Emily sitting on the floor, back against the wall, and utterly engrossed in her phone. She was deeply focused as her thumbs texted what could have been a dissertation. Once she was done, she looked up and said “hi.”

I commented on how intensely she was typing.

She let out a small, embarrassed laugh. “Just texting this guy I’ve been talking to.”

“That’s cool,” I said.

“Yeah, we’ve been texting for three weeks so…it’s getting pretty serious.”

I laughed.

Emily didn’t. Instead, she looked…


A pair of legs in jeans on blacktop
A pair of legs in jeans on blacktop
Photo by pan xiaozhen on Unsplash

As I was coming out of a Starbucks a few years ago, I failed to wheelie high enough over the door jam. When my front wheels impacted against it, bringing my chair to a jolting stop, my legs began bouncing up and down like I was running in place.

The middle-aged man who was kind enough to hold the door open for me scowled and let go of the door, which then closed on me.

When I leaned forward to open the door and hold it while trying to get my front wheels over the door jam, the guy scoffed…


A man on a castle wall with the word “Narcissism” underneath
A man on a castle wall with the word “Narcissism” underneath
Image by Jills from Pixabay

“Narcissist” is a term we’ve heard with growing frequency over the last decade, but is often misused. Much of the misuse stems from a lack of understanding of what the term means and to whom it specifically applies.

Luckily, clinical psychologist and psychology professor at UCLA, Dr. Ramani Durvasula, was the guest on this week’s episode of the Self-Helpless Podcast. During the episode, Dr. Durvasula breaks down what narcissism is, the different types of narcissism, and what non-narcissists can do when interacting with narcissists to avoid falling into needless arguments or enduring their abuses.

Full disclosure, I have to give…


Photo by Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash

Would you watch an R-rated Star Wars movie?

What if The Mandalorian included more intense violence, some gore, a few “fucks,” or occasional nudity? Would people still watch?

What about R-rated content in a novel or comic book? This may already exist, but I must admit to being unfamiliar with most of the Star Wars’ Expanded Universe or “Legends” as it’s now called, though I am beginning to read more of the EU stories.

Here’s why I ask.

Historically, Star Wars has been aimed at children.

I’ve been a Star Wars fan since I was a kid. I made hundreds…


The blue handicapped sign painted on black asphault
The blue handicapped sign painted on black asphault
Image by Ian Scofield from Pixabay

In my tenure as a quadriplegic, one of the constant uphill battles I’ve fought has been for handicapped parking.

Many able-bodied people complain that there are too many handicapped spaces in parking lots. They often wonder to themselves, “Come on, how many people really use those spaces?”

Depending on where you go, there are more people with placards than there are spots.

At doctor’s offices, hospitals, and pharmacies (just to name a few places), handicapped parking is premium real estate.

Why?

Senior Citizens.

Maybe it’s different elsewhere, but the great State of California hands out handicapped parking placards like they’re…


A man yelling into a white telephone
A man yelling into a white telephone
Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

If two vegans get into an argument, do they still call it a “beef?”

It would seem less than fitting, as the allusion to deceased cow meat is often offensive to non-meat-eaters, PETA, and the manufacturers of meat-substitutes such as the Impossible and Beyond Burgers

Calling an argument between vegans a “carrot” or a “turnip” just doesn’t have the same gravitas, though turnip does have a certain auditory bite to it. Calling it a “soy-based meat-substitute conflict” is a mouthful (pun most definitely intended) and I don’t see that catching on.

To the best of my knowledge, we don’t currently…

Matthew B. Johnson

I’m a Sacramento-based writer, English professor, track coach, C-5 incomplete quadriplegic, diehard 49ers fan, comic book geek, and lover of all things coffee.

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