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…


The demolished interior of what appears to have been a factory
The demolished interior of what appears to have been a factory
Photo by Peter Herrmann on Unsplash

What would you do to save the person you love most?

Would you kill?

Would you sacrifice your life so the person you love can live?

Would you sacrifice all of humanity to save them?

Can you justify such actions?

These are the questions raised by the story of The Last of Us which we experience through the character of Joel.

Initially released in 2013, The Last of Us is currently being adapted into an HBO TV series slated to air later this year. …


A person in black silhouette surrounded by critical words
A person in black silhouette surrounded by critical words
Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, and you just can’t get back to sleep because your mind starts listing off all the things you’d hoped to accomplish the previous day, but didn’t?

Or, all the things you wish you could do, but haven’t yet?

Or, the things you wish you could be, but you’re not?

Then your brain, being the cruel entity it sometimes is, convinces you that you’ll never accomplish those goals. You’ll never do those things. You’ll never be the person you want to be.

So you lay awake while all your shortcomings…


A close up picture of flames
A close up picture of flames
Photo by Maxim Tajer on Unsplash

Learning something the hard way often sucks, but those lessons tend to stick with us the most.

Adjusting to life after a spinal cord injury is a difficult series of learning experiences. Obviously, I knew I wasn’t going to be dancing up any staircases to play soccer on a roof any time soon. But as much as the amazing hospital staff tried to prepare me for what life would be like given my newfound limitations, there was still a considerable number of things I had to learn on my own, often by accident and, too often, the hard way.

One…


A young boy in a striped blue shirt reading a book
A young boy in a striped blue shirt reading a book
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

The end of May/beginning of June is the worst time for teachers.

Summer break is close enough that we can taste not having to set an alarm clock in the morning and the ability to go get a coffee at 10:30 in the morning simply because we can.

But before that happens, we have to hurdle that one last obstacle, that biggest of all pains in the ass of our job duties.

Submitting final grades.

It’s the fucking worst.

And it’s the same every year, from our first year in the classroom, to when we finally feel the release of…


A close up picture of an elderly woman’s hands as they rest in her lap
A close up picture of an elderly woman’s hands as they rest in her lap
Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Life is a wonderful, curious, and cruel thing.

If we’re lucky, we grow up, have full lives, and grow old before we die.

However, growing old is a mixed blessing.

On one hand, we get to continue enjoying the people and things we love. We get to continue learning and having new experiences. We get to keep living. And to quote Tyrion Lannister, “Death is so final, whereas life…life is full of possibilities.”

On the other hand, getting old is hard, or so my dad keeps telling me. We grow increasingly tired, having lost our youthful vigor. Our mental faculties…


A sign on a painted brick wall reading “Accessible Entry”
A sign on a painted brick wall reading “Accessible Entry”
Photo by Daniel Ali on Unsplash

When I was first home from the rehab hospital after my accident, my mom hired someone to retrofit the bathroom so I could use it. The man she hired told her it would be no problem to install some grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet.

“Ok, but what about the doorway?” she asked. “It’s too narrow for him to fit through without a lot of help.” At the time, the bathroom door was the same width as my wheelchair. The push-rims scrapped against the inside of the door frame, screeching as they barely squeezed through. In…


Photo by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash

For as long as there has been popular music, people in power have been trying to restrict, censor, and denounce it.

Remember when people feared Marilyn Manson would turn an entire generation of kids into Devil-worshipping heathens?

Or before that, when people feared Madonna would turn an entire generation of kids into uncontrollable sexual deviants?

Or before that, when people feared KISS would turn an entire generation of kids into Devil-worshipping heathens?

Or before that, when people feared Elvis Presley would turn an entire generation of kids in to uncontrollable sexual deviants?

Or before that, when Jazz was the music…


A black and white picture of an angry man
A black and white picture of an angry man
Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay

I’m guessing you read the title and thought, “People have actually gotten angry with you for being disabled?”

The short answer is, yes.

It doesn’t happen often, as most people have been incredibly kind and willing to help if the need arises.

For the few people who have gotten inexplicably angry at me after seeing me in my chair, I’m not sure if it’s the actual disability with which they become irate, or the circumstance in which they see me.

In every case, the chair is a factor, as, without it, none of these situations would either have happened or…


We live in a world in which physical beauty is the supreme goal to which we're taught to aspire. It's tough because we're told to "never judge a book by its cover," and yet, we're shown over and again that our outward appearance is what truly matters. Such a reductive way of thinking...

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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