graphic of the cover of Mouth. It says, Who's in Charge.

excerpts from a pictorial essay

by Lucy Gwin

Nearly every group lives under some variety of social tyranny.

Dis-labeled people live under the tyranny of helping.

photo of a helping professional girly helping a grown man with something he already knows how to do perfectly well.

Our helpers are missionaries for conventionality.

Even when our disabilities are invisible, our unconventionality is likely to betray us, somehow.

photo of another professional girly, this one in a white coat, supervising a grown man who has been directed to roll a knee-high rubber ball. A friend of Mouth's, who once was called on to roll such a ball in a "care" facility, calls such an item "The orb of redemption." No, we don't know what it's for, but it's a staple in rehab advertising.

Here is one picture of helping.

photo of a woman offering her hand to a young boy -- he has no legs and is perched on a skatboard at the edge of a river. He looks a little bit dubious about her help.

Here is another.


Pictures of helping deserve a second look. The photo at right, from a cancer camp, shows a helper offering her hand.
Should the boy accept this offer, on the trajectory indicated, he will lose his wheels and dangle, helpless.

He can see it coming. She cannot.

He will, all his life, be the real expert on what help he wants or doesn't.
That is exactly not what is taught to students at helping schools.

He will learn: (a) that not all help is helpful, (b) that he must find graceful ways to decline even ill-conceived help, and (c) that gratitude is required in any event.

the same photo as above


continued in the print or audiocassette versons of Mouth #57, January 2000

Link to where you can buy this issue in our online Attitude Catalog Store.

back to #57

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To read a Declaration of Independence from contaminated help, click here.