I try to be an optimist. I believe that people are basically good. Unfortunately, many times people say the most inappropriate things when they are uncomfortable. Apparently many people are initially uncomfortable around an amputee because I have heard a lot of comments that have surprised me.
Here is my list of my 10 favorite rude comments. Being polite, I did not offer a retort. I have included how I wanted to reply under each statement.
1. "Wow, I wish I had a leg like that. The ankle moves. It's really cool."
I wanted to say, "You have a leg that is even cooler. You can move it and it doesn't take batteries."
2. "It's amazing what they are doing with prosthetics. It looks so real."
I wanted to say, "Don't patronize me. My socket is black carbon fiber and I don't wear a cosmetic cover. I know it doesn't look like a "real" leg. I don't want it to."
3. "Did the amputation hurt?"
I wanted to say, "I was asleep at the time. But it hurt when I woke up."
4. "I guess you could say that you don't have a leg to stand on (insert chuckle)."
I wanted to say, "I guess you could say that you don't have more than one brain cell (insert chuckle)."
5. "How do you have sex with one foot?"
I wanted to say, "Dude, that's what the bungee cord swing is for!"
6. "Hey, are you going to be a pirate for Halloween?"
I wanted to say, "Only if you go as the parrot on my shoulder. That way I can stuff crackers in your mouth to shut you up."
7. "You're so lucky you can park in the handicapped parking spots."
I wanted to say, "You're so lucky you don't have a metal foot up your rear."
8. "I bet you save a lot of time in the shower. You only have to shave one leg."
Unfortunately, I still haven't come up with a retort for this comment. Any ideas?
9. "Can you feel this? (as they are stepping on my prosthetic foot)"
I wanted to say, "No, but can you feel this?" (Use your imagination as to where they are being kicked.)
10. "You remind me of my three legged dog. I think he could really use one of them (my prosthetic). Where could I pick one up for a medium sized Collie?"
"Are you serious? You can't really be that stupid, can you?"
I know that these comments were spoken by individuals who were merely uncomfortable. I would like to hope that they were trying to relate or to be funny. I always try to reply to inappropriate comments with a smile and a compassionate response. Even if these people meant to be rude, I believe that kindness is the best retort.
Inappropriate or rude comments are a fact of life for amputees. We are different, and it can make others uncomfortable. Please share your inappropriate comment experiences in my forum at www.amputeemommy.com.
- I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.