I went through an official medical list of disabilities and assigned a point value (1-10) of the pros and cons of each disability. The disabilities were then ranked by the highest difference (pros – cons) and then adjusted with a sympathy factor (+/- up to 3 points) since you can never underestimate the sympathy factor. People will do anything for you when they feel bad for you so this has to be factored in. This is not making light of any disabilities and by no means do I wish any of these upon myself, however if I had to choose between them this would be my order.
Cons – The ultimate negative here, which I would’t be able to stand if I was deaf, is that anytime anybody moves their hands you have to look over at them because, hey – maybe they’re talking to you, maybe they’re just scratching their head, but you still have to look over to find out. Sitting around reading a book and someone in the room has something in their eye? Well everytime they reach up to itch it you have to look over because what if one of those times they were raising their hand to tell you that the house is on fire? Also, you aren’t able to hear people or cars coming which makes things more difficult. Not being able to hear people coming makes you 100% easier to sneak up on and scare, I get started enough on a day by day basis and that certainly wouldn’t help. Overall Cons – 6/10
Pros – The biggest pro is that I wouldn’t have to talk on the phone to my girlfriend anymore. Every single night I can etch out a solid hour or 2 that are gone, completely wasted like dust to the wind talking to my gf on the phone. Being deaf maybe I would have to talk to her online everynight, but at least then you can surf the internet easily and take your time responding. I’d definitely opt for that. Keeping in line, another positive is that most people converse through the internet these days anyways. People just send emails or messages or type all day. For my job I could easily be deaf, all I do is send out emails all day. Another bonus is that after my gf breaks up with me because I am playing a game online rather than talking to her, being deaf I would now be able to speak two languages – and I think chicks dig that. Besides knowing sign language I think I would also become very proficient with reading lips which can always come in handy since I am convinced people talk about me behind my back all day. The main question, though, that it comes down to is would I trade never hearing the Beatles again for never hearing my girlfriend nag me again? Tough call. Overall Pros – 6/10
Difference – 0 Sympathy Factor – 0, I don’t think people really are that sympathetic towards deaf people and are extra nice to them because of it. Overall Score – 0
Cons – I was a little surprised to see dwarfism listed as a disability, but then I thought about it and it definitely is one. Let’s face it, the world was not created for little people. The main detriment that I can think of is that being a dwarf you probably need an excessive amount of sweaters and jackets since warm air rises. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine that dwarfs wardrobes is all winter clothing. Also, everything when you are little is a hassle. Getting onto the couch pretty much becomes an Olympic event each day. Once you are situated somewhere you have to stay there for a couple of hours because getting down is such a hassle. Also, people walk into you all the time because they can’t see you. Sporting events you can’t see over anybody in the stands. You would have to splurge on front row seats just to go to a sporting event. That would quickly add up. Overall Cons – 5/10
Pros – The main pro, which is a pretty good one now that I think about it – is that you can always pass for a teenager and hit on 16 year old girls. The thought of being 30 and dating a 16 year old is not so bad. And plus when I was actually 16 I had no idea how to talk to girls, I still have no idea – but I think by the time I am 30 I will have it figured out. I would have so many interesting, smart things to say to them that I could easily seal the deal with 16 year olds. If you’re not into that kind of thing, as a dwarf there is a limited dating pool, which is positive as well. Dwarfs generally don’t date non-dwarfs so every dwarf girl you have a chance with. There are no, or very few, dwarf super athletes or movie stars or CEO’s of company’s that you have to contend against – so all male dwarfs are really playing on the same field which would be nice. You could also fit in very small spaces which is great for hiding from people. I always imagine people are breaking into my apartment and am constantly searching for places to hide from them. Being a dwarf would open up endless places to hide from intruders which could one day end up saving my life. Overall Pros – 6/10
Difference – +1 Sympathy Factor – +1, I think people are fairly willing to help out and be nice to somebody because they are a dwarf. Overall Score – +2.
3:Wheelchair Bound (Motorized)
Cons – I had to specify for the record that I would never opt for the manual wheelchair, I would 100% spring for the motorized version. I’ll never understand who wouldn’t. What else are you going to spend money on? It’s not even like a bed where you spend 1/4 of your life in so you should spring for the best version – you’re spending 100% of your life in this thing – get the top of the line comfortable motorized chair. I’ll never understand some people. Also, why are there not more wheelchair bound people who are overweight? Shouldn’t everybody in a wheelchair be overweight, how do they get exercise? To start with negatives, you can throw doing anything athletic right out the window, which is a fairly solid blow. I guess there are wheelchair sports, but I don’t think I would participate in them. I could imagine getting a flat wheelchair tire or if anything happens to the functionality of your wheelchair you are pretty much out of commission for a long time. Overall Cons – 4/10
Pros – The biggest pro’s are fairly easy to spot. Handicapped parking is a fantastic fringe benefit. I think every single one of us has had a fantasy that involved getting a handicapped parking spot at one point or another. The other benefit are those fantastic handicapped public bathrooms. Those things are a palace. They’re the size of my apartment. The world has really adapted to the wheelchair bound at this point. Everything is handicap accessable with ramps, elevators and the such. Also, is there anything a lazy man could hope more for than a motorized wheelchair? I don’t think so. Another pro is that you never have to fend for your own chair. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a bar and had to stand the whole time because there were no seats or gone to the conference room at work and had to stand for an entire meeting because there were no chairs. Built in chair, not too shabby. Overall Pros – 6/10
Difference – +2 Sympathy Factor – +1, people always will feel bad for the wheelchair handicapped bound and willing to go out of their way to help them out. Overall Score – +3
Cons – The main negative is that it takes forever to get an idea out when you think of something. Another big one is that it is a hidden disability, which you would think is good that people can’t tell that you’re a stutterer right away, however it is kind of like false advertising – you talk to a girl and she thinks you are normal, then you start stuttering away and she is dissapointed vs. like not having an arm where the other people can tell right away and there is no let down moment. Remember, under-promise & over-deliver. The last negative is that it rules out any job or position that involves speaking with people on a regular basis. I once dealt with a stuttering person who was my account manager and I had to terminate our agreement eventually because his calls took forever. Overall Con Rating – 3/10
Pros – A huge positive here is that it must be so much easier to lie for stutterers, right? Anytime you want to you can fake a stutter to buy yourself a couple extra seconds to think. Girlfriend questions your whereabouts the night before? I have to come up with something right on the spot, if I had a stutter I could stutter out the first 3 or 4 words and give myself a solid 30 seconds or so to think it through. I lie a lot, and by a lot I mean almost everything I say is a lie. And whenever I’m caught off guard by a line of questioning and start stammering and stuttering around the person can tell that I’m lying. Not so if I had a stutter. Then stuttering and stammering about would be how I reacted to every question, not just when caught off guard. Another smaller pro is that I think people like sleeping with stutterers more so than non-stutterers. Sleeping with a stutterer is the ultimate confidence raiser. Sleep with a normal girl and you get, “Oh, you’re so good…” if you’re sleeping with a stutterer that suddenly turns into, “Oh-oh-ohhh, yo-you’re so go-go-goo-oo-ood..” Now, tell me that wouldn’t make you feel like a champ. Overall Pros – 8/10
Difference – +5 Sympathy Factor – -1, nobody really feels bad for a stutterer. They are more mocked than sympathized with. Overall Score – +4
Cons – I really had a tough time coming up with any negatives for this. I really have no good childhood memories I would miss. My parents still maintain that the happiest they ever saw me was when they told me I had to empty the dishwasher and I went to empty it and the dishes were still dirty so I didn’t end up having to do it. They said I danced around the house in joy. That should shed some light into a very dismal childhood that I don’t think memory loss would really hurt so much. The only real negative is that you can’t hold a steady job or retain any information. This would be quite a negative blow to my Trivial Pursuit game as I am generally considered undefeated in the game. And I guess when you think of any good ideas you would have to write them down or you would have no chance of remembering, but I am pretty much at that stage already. Overall Cons – 3/10
Pros – Every day is a new day, literally. The unbeleivable college basketball championship game that took place last night – people could tell me that the game was tonight and I could watch a taped version of it and relive that thrill over and over again. I could live in a recurring world where everyday was Super Bowl Sunday or the 2001 World Series. Is that such a bad life? I don’t think so. Goodfellas is a masterpiece of a movie, but even I get sick of watching it the 5th straight day. With memory loss – no such problem. I could live very happily in my small bubble of a world. It would just be held up upon my family/friends telling me that each day was the 2004 Kentucky Derby and that I bet on Smarty Jones to win. I think I could genuinely be happy. Overall Pros – 9/10
Difference – +6 Sympathy Factor – +2, I think people feel genuinely very bad for others with memory loss and would do whatever it takes to help out and make this peron’s life as full as possible. Overall Score – +8
So memory loss it is in a blow out. In fact after going through this it’s 50/50 I don’t try to enact this upon myself. I think it is a pretty solid list. Beforehand I thought being deaf would definitely be one of the top 1 or 2 disabilities, but after going through all of the pros and cons it only showed up 5th on my list.
If you disagree with this list, feel free to post your own rankings of these disabilities or any others you think would be better to have and we can discuss.