Great column from today’s paper:
A Variety of celeb disabilities
By MIKE STROBEL, Toronto Sun
We are all disabled. It’s just a matter of degree.
Look around you at work. Look at all the sags, limps, hunches, twitches, winces, scars and drools.
Look in the mirror. Me? I see wonky gams, a stiff back, absentmindedness and, uh, um, oh, er, what was the other thing? Right. Follicular deprivation. I have yet to meet a perfect human being.
Later this week, I’ll tell you about Kelly Knox, a beautiful Brit who was born without a left forearm, yet has become a top model.
Why profile Kelly? Well, because she’s lovely in many ways, but also to help launch my 2010 Christmas Fund for Variety Village. Watch for it in Sunday’s column.
When you stare in that mirror and bemoan your crooked nose or trick knee, give a thought to some of the kids who swarm Variety Village, a sports centre at Danforth and Kingston Rd. in Scarborough.
The great thing about VV is it’s fully integrated. Park your pity at the door. I was a member ‘til I moved downtown. I could find myself in the pool doing laps with a blind kid, a one-legged man and a woman chatting with the ceiling.
No one cared that I was old, fat and bald.
VV has a wall of fame, glittering with paralympians and the like. Other celeb alumni include singer Justin There’s No Place Like This Hines, Lt.-Gov. David Onley and broadcaster Tara Weber.
Often we link celebrity and perfection. But the famous are as prone to fate’s whims as the rest of us.
Some are obvious. Stephen Hawking can’t move, but he’s no dummy. Ask him about black holes. Or challenge him to Scrabble.
Remember Jim Abbott, the Angels’ pitcher? A lefty. No right hand.
Christopher Reeve became a disability Superman after his 1995 riding accident. Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran the United States from his wheelchair.
Close your eyes and listen to Stevie Wonder or Andrea Bocelli. Hard to think of them as disabled.
I choke up anytime I see Michael J. Fox talk about his fight against Parkinson’s.
Terry Fox, well, every Canadian knows what he did.
Some celebrity disabilities are more surprising.
We all know Bruce Willis, too, is follicurly deprived. But did you know he needed a therapist to cure his stutter? “Everybody has some kind of vocal flaw,” he told Maxim. “It’s what makes us unique.”
Exactly. Imperfections make the world go around. Some are just more noticeable than others.
You thought Sonny was Cher’s biggest handicap? Nope, dyslexia.
Mia Farrow survived polio, after a stint in an iron lung.
Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton likely were autistic. Kitchener golfer Moe Norman was for sure. A true master on the course, a total misfit off it.
Ever wonder why Neil Young looks so cranky? He’s had to deal with diabetes and a childhood bout of polio, not to mention being the son of a newspaper columnist.
Funnyman Dan Aykroyd was diagnosed with Tourette’s at age 12, though the symptoms are all but gone.
If Robin Williams and Jim Carrey do not have a touch of attention deficit disorder, I’m a monkey’s uncle, though if ever a handicap was a gift, it’s theirs.
Comedians often mine disabilities for material. Damon Wayans, for instance, was born with a club foot. Whoopi Goldberg and Jay Leno are dyslexic.
Didn’t stop ‘em, eh?
Disability need not stop anyone, as long as places like Variety Village exist.
So, starting Sunday, please take a look in the mirror.
Could be worse, you know.
So, what ails you?
I have a whole litany of minor annoyances. )
Arthritis (from old injuries), Fibromyalgia (mild), Raynaud’s Disease (mild, but a bitch in winter ), Allergies, Asthma, Hypothyroidism. Much as they can make life uncomfortable at times, I always console myself that none of these conditions are life threatening. Oh yeah, add absent-minded to the list. ) :p