The Up Rights and the Sit Downs: How do we really interface with the unknown?

By Todd Stabelfeldt

Some years back I received this “question” and it was immediately promoted to my favorite Up Right quote.  I have been riding my iron steed due to an accidental gunshot 25 years ago, and this one is pure gold folks!  Yes, the quote, “Can you swallow?  Cause I hear people like you can’t swallow and you die of starvation.”  Pretty amazing wouldn’t you agree?  It truly is…

We constantly receive messages from everyone around us; our world is dialog. The Sit Down learns early on how to correctly balance messages received from the Up Right.  A real time dynamic interface must be running at all times to receive, validate, and determine next steps when dealing with the unknown.  Personally, I am still in progress with my interface tool and constantly apply updates to adjust for the season I find myself in.

How do I, the Sit Down, try to compare my story with hers, the Upright?  The answer is simple: I cannot.  To download 25 years of pain and suffering prior to the questioning process would be awesome, but concordantly the matrix is not an option, vis-a-vis you have to learn to deal with it.

My top 2 personal interface updates thus far: (In order for sure)

 

1. Wedding Cougar That one burnt out, self-diagnosed cougar trying to work a dress that was purchased by her sixteen year old daughter.  You both are at a wedding reception and she wants to show YOU a good time.  She doesn’t play the game. Nah, she made the game!  You start shaking that one good shoulder, mix a little head movement, and finish the equation with some gangsta attitude.  You spot her on the side line doin’ her thang. You instantly know the next 4 songs are going to be real.  You adjust for this moment. It is about to start and it’s time to do work!  A quick prayer for the subluxation in both shoulders to hold during the square dancing bit learned oh so many dances ago.  You ever try to walk a bulldog puppy when it clearly doesn’t want to?  Just imagine you are the caboose on her crazy train as you get dragged across the entire floor for at least one trip. Your heart is screaming, “I think I can! I think I can!” while your body softly reports, “This is going to require physical therapy for the next 6 weeks.” Once the train comes to a stop, you then move to a power ballad which results in a lot of hair whips and arm grabs.  The experience ends with a classic real booty grind while poppin’ to Montell Jordan’s, “This is How We Do It”. You wheel off the floor concerned about costs on PT & counseling bills, and she walks away with a smile knowing she has just made your life better.

 2.The Real Man Shake – You can see mid-way through that this stud has NOT computed the required responsibility from your end to complete the traditional handshake.  It’s the moment where his commitment level is tested (watch for a slower hand to hand rate), so he now puts all investment into this being the best handshake ever. History shows a prayer for the shoulder is in order as he grasps your hand with impressive athleticism. Your hands and arms are now in a Macarena / yoga configuration, and a few words about how you are a warrior are expressed. It ends as fast as it starts, but your arm somehow finds a new position dangling off the side of your wheelchair armrest. You find someone who you know and an unspoken language is shared while your arm is correctly positioned back on the chair.

 I remember when I was a young boy, maybe 7 (pre-wheelchair); we were at a party hosted by the local Skate Land. This young kid in a wheelchair was trying to play a video game called Paper Boy. The game required you to stand tall enough to use the controls which were a bicycle handlebar. I remember explaining to him that he needed to use both hands, but it just did NOT seem to click with him.  As I walked away I remember thinking, “Why did he not listen to me?” I remind myself of this interaction whenever I am in need of some extra compassion when dealing with all the wedding cougars and real man hand shakers out there. I believe we have an obligation to educate.

How do we address this dilemma without turning this post into a novel? We will keep it simple. If I was going to speak to the adult “covertly” staring at me while their kid is desperately trying to ask questions, I would say, “Model your kid.” Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do NOT assume anything. If the Uprights and Sitdowns are going to address the unknown, it has to be done together, through dialog.

The above stories are real and they are mine. I would NOT change anything in my story outside of the actual getting shot in the chin thing, but the “IF” game always leads to a dark place.  My name is Todd and I am a man in progress. I continue to learn and hone my interaction with the unknown, and I encourage you to do the same. The years boil down to this simple yet at times hard to apply classic statement:  Reaction is my choice.

I would like to take this opportunity to invite your questions. While I assure that I can swallow my own food, maybe there is something you’ve always wanted to ask a Sit Down, but didn’t know how to start. Well, here’s your chance.

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Author Bio:

Todd was born in 1979. When he was about 4 his father died in a motorcycle accident when coming home from work. In the summer of 1987, Todd ,then 8, found himself playing with some antique rifles owned by his deceased father. He was accidentally shot in the chin by his cousin Michael.

Todd’s mother Gwen, did not allow him to dwell on his disability. She told him he would be allowed to stay at home only until he was 20 years old. Todd learned at a very young age to not let his disability stop his dreams. He attended public school and started  college at 16. A week after turning 18, Todd got his first job as a software developer for a medical company based in Seattle.

Today, Todd is a very successful businessman. In addition to owning an IT manage services business, Todd loves sharing his story to help folks push through their “machine” and find peace /purpose.

www.ToddAgainstTheMachine.com

www.TheTSF.org

 

6 Comments On “The Up Rights and the Sit Downs: How do we really interface with the unknown?”

  1. love this todd! you continue to amaze me…

  2. Cougars and Manthers! Way to flow T-Dawg

  3. Todd! I am so glad I found you! This is Megan (Boad). I have been a Special Ed teacher in South Seattle, and I am soooo happy to have stumbled upon your blog. I have been working with students w/ disabilities from ages Preschool through 21 for the past seven years, among them many outstanding Sit Downs. Unlike you, most of them are cognitively impacted, or have communication/processing difficulties, which is why they can’t always communicate if “Mrs. Orr is annoying the crap out me”. Enter: YOU!

    Off the top of my head, I have a few questions I have for my fellow Sit Down friends. They are probably going to seem SUPER dumb, but I have to ask SOMEONE!!:
    Q: Do you like it when I pat your shoulder to greet you (instead of a physically prompted handshake)?
    Q: Language: When I’m giving directions to the class, and it’s your turn to “walk to the office”, would you rather I tell you to “roll, or wheel to the office?”
    Q: When I’m talking with you, is it more comfortable for you if I kneel to your eye level, or stay upright? Maybe just for the younger kids?

    I will post more as I think of them. So glad you are blogging and I can’t wait to read more!

    • Megan!! This is truly amazing, and I am glad to see you all grows up. My answer ( hope they help):

      Q: Do you like it when I pat your shoulder to greet you (instead of a physically prompted handshake)?

      A: A quick story on the best greeting I’ve ever received. Marc (not family or a close friend) came up to me, pressed his cheek to mine, and said, “Great to see you”. Wow. He was a gracious kind man! I like shoulder or arm touches. Please do NOT pat my head like a dog!

      Q: Language: When I’m giving directions to the class, and it’s your turn to “walk to the office”, would you rather I tell you to “roll, or wheel to the office?”

      A: Nonissue for me. I find myself saying things like, “Let’s go for a walk.” Stay natural and do NOT force it.

      Q: When I’m talking with you, is it more comfortable for you if I kneel to your eye level, or stay upright? Maybe just for the younger kids?

      A: Very important to be talked to and NOT talked at. There is a too high and also a too low when it comes to the physical constraints of the individual. Adjust for the audience, and I personally like when people are close. You can tell their comfort level by watching their face. If their speech is slow, do not finish their sentences; everybody else does. Be different and watch how they light up!

  4. Go Todd!

  5. Todd,
    I knew you were a very special and amazing person when I met you and you continue to confirm this. God bless you for all you do and the lives you touch.

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