309. The clinging (V)
Forced jollity: I recently learned the first girl I had a crush on—the first girl I went on a date with, really—had been paralysed from the waist down playing ice hockey. It was all in the eyes; her eyes had very deep black lines beneath them and read defeat; she was a cornered animal, permanently cornered. The eyes said: “I will continue to make the best of it. Why? Why am I like this? Something is wrong. I know what is wrong, but why is it wrong? I must get out but I can’t.” Her mouth used to have a slight crease in the left corner at a distinctive angle; it conveyed a haughty confidence, especially when she smiled—it had collapsed quite away. It would not return, I knew that at once.
I suppose if you are not born disabled that, at some level, the body never accepts what has happened; it is always slightly startled. She was trapped; I could see the despair there, the idea that she would somehow get up in a moment and yet the definite knowledge that she would not. She still waited to stand up from the initial accident, as a person is supposed to do when they fall.
She made it to the Paralympics, another exercise in maximal forced jollity. It took me a moment to realise that the Paralympics is about laughing at the disabled. “It’s about acceptance! We used hide people like that away. It was awful, just like The Elephant Man.” The disabled do need to be hidden away—it preserves their dignity. They make the normal feel uncomfortable; and this discomfort rebounds back on the disabled. It must be connected to democracy, to the principle that anyone can do anything; ergo, even the disabled must be athletic. Envious thoughts are raised with democratic expectations. “People are looking at me!” We have a government department for that.
I doubt I could stay in a room with her for more than a minute. “Terribly nice to see you again after all this time, you’re looking so well.” Perhaps not; given my residual policy of radical honesty I would probably say: “This is atrocious; especially since I still thought about having sex with you occasionally.” I would have to say that, otherwise I would cry. She would probably laugh; I doubt anybody said it was atrocious. Indeed, about three second after the horror at seeing she was disabled wore off I thought: “Damn, I don’t want to have sex with her now; probably impossible.”
Life is not fair, but it is just; and here is the justice in this case: this girl had fallen, partly through her PhD, into a feminist stance; why else would she consider ice hockey? I knew what lay behind this choice—semi-latent lesbianism aside. I had seen it with another girl who always wanted to wing walk; she was not the prettiest, it was an appeal for attention. Reality does not care for women who do ultra-masculine sports or wing walk or dye their hair purple—particularly to serve ideological demands. Later, it occurred to me that this accident was no accident; unconscious, of course, but the victimhood ideology seeped in deeply over the years—eventually an “accident” made the victimhood complete.
Reality is clear: these genes shall not continue—men are repelled, transsexual sterility sets in, or an accident paralyses you. As women, it is not their responsibility—they have so little autonomy—yet reality judges the incentive system and the individual together. Judgement: unfit, genes culled. This is justice; it is hard, but that is what it is—and this is why I feel little sorrow; only the reality-adjusted survive, my little ones. The reality-adjusted look like the long-lived shark; it can chew your arm off, though it rarely does. That night, I turned to my pillow and wept—shed a few tears for her, though only a few. I am, after all, only human; reality is not.