Dyspraxia, which is Greek for “chronic clusterfuck clumsiness,” is a developmental coordination disorder. It is a neurological condition that affects both fine and general motor skills—everything from writing neatly to walking in a straight line. It was originally called “congenital maladroitness,” a term almost as cloddish as the lumbering mopes with the ailment—myself included.
It’s estimated that anywhere between six to twenty percent of the global population has some form of dyspraxia, and it is sometimes associated with above-average intelligence—not that you’d know from being around those who live with it.
As a dyspraxic, I despair every time somebody throws me a set of keys or a cigarette lighter and I clasp my hands outward, only to be off by several inches as the object flies by and an awkward silence permeates the room. Look, just pass me the fucking thing. I’m three feet away, after all. It’s mainly guys who do this shit, and while I get that the whole “pitching and catching” thing is a common test of masculinity among our kind—which is ironic, given the phrase’s homoerotic connotations—I’m technically disabled, and I really don’t want to be part of your pseudo-Darwinian hierarchy establishment here. You’re able-shaming me, and isn’t OK.
Would you kick a soccer ball over to a person in a wheelchair to see what their catching skills were like? No, because then you’d be Hitler. At least the ironsided get to showcase their physical shortcomings and be left alone as a result. What do I have to do to get treated with a little respect and dignity around here—wear a T-shirt that says, “My brain is all screwy, so please don’t hand me your baby”? No. I refuse. Let society learn to accommodate my impairments, not the other way around.
Because dyspraxia is both invisible and hilarious, it’s almost as easy for people to mock as it is for them to remain unaware of its existence. In order to drive sympathy into your heart like a stake carved from raw oppressed outrage into the chest of a psychic vampire, I offer you some harrowing stories of the daily struggles that I have bravely overcome in order to be where I am today. It took me seven fucking hours to type these correctly, so you’d better read them all:
• One time I offered to roll a joint for a girl that I liked, and halfway through my wrist jerked inadvertently, sending the contents of the rolling paper scattering across her patio floor. Thankfully I had already fucked her, although you can imagine just how smoothly that went.
• During my high-school art exam—the curriculum of which called for a “foreign cultures” motif in our central pieces—I spent several hours sketching and painting an Oriental take on The Birth of Venus by Botticelli. After achingly detailing the “rising sun” background, the Edo-style waves, and the flying fish in the foreground, I moved on to the form of the original’s iconic woman. When I went to paint her eyebrows black, I dripped over her mouth and accidentally gave her a mustache. I got a “C.”
• Unless I concentrate really, really hard, my handwriting resembles that of a drunken doctor with a head injury and a crippling case of arthritis wearing a blindfold in gale-force winds. Thank fuck for computers.
• After a riotously successful stand-up comedy performance, I managed to undermine the atmosphere that follows a perfectly delivered set by knocking over the mic stand. I succeeded in incorporating this blunder into my act, but I still felt like a dumbass as I walked off the stage.
• When I pee, I sometimes end up splashing my thigh or ankle with a droplet of urine and end up having to take a shower. This can repeat itself several times in the space of an hour, and by the end of the day my facial skin resembles that of an old man’s elbow. As a result, I go through a lot of lotion and remain in substantial debt. I’m sure this happens to a lot of non-dyspraxic men as well, but fuck them—they are not my people.
• I have humped at a woman’s thigh cleavage after mistakenly believing I had entered her on more than one occasion. To tell you the truth, I kind of prefer it to traditional sex.
• When I do win a fistfight, I usually fall over my opponent after having downed him. I can’t blame dyspraxia on this one; it’s simply how I demonstrate my dominance.
• If I were to show you any Christmas present I have wrapped over the past ten years, you could easily be forgiven for assuming that I performed the task while wearing oven mitts or that I’m severely retarded. I’ve actually used staples and glue on more than one occasion. Merry Christmas, indeed.
• You know that saying, “It’s like riding a bike—once you learn, you never forget”? Well, I fucking forgot. I have to relearn basic cycling skills every time I want to go for a little ride. I’d probably qualify for handicapped parking if there was even a remote possibility of my ever being able to drive an automobile without killing someone. I’m not even allowed on bumper cars. Die, able scum.