Finding the funny in a speaker’s life
The Cart of Misfits
For people like me who need special assistance getting through air- ports, the electric cart is a standard mode of trans- portation. When my
autobiography, More Than Meets the
Eye, was released in the mid-1990s, I
traveled to dozens of cities on a book-signing tour, receiving assistance in
dozens of airports due to my blindness.
One day, the woman assisting me led
me to one of these carts so I could get
to my next gate. I placed my hand on
the back of the bench seat, then slid in
and got ready to roll.
A moment later, I heard the voice
of a young woman sitting in front of
me. “Mark, scoot over and I’ll sit right
next to you,” she said simplistically.
“After we ride in this fun cart, we’ll get
on another plane. Okay, brother?” I
sensed Mark starting to rock as he
squealed with delight at this adventure.
I instantly related to the boy’s gleeful
behavior. He reminded me of several
multi-impaired students I’d worked
with at a school for blind children in
my previous career.
Before long, another passenger
stepped onto the cart and sat next to
me. He turned to me and enthusiastically said, “Hi! I’m Billy Barty!” I
recognized this three-foot-nine-inch
“giant” of an actor from his movies that
included Foul Play with Goldie Hawn.
“What a thrill!” I replied. “My name
is Joan. And this is Mark and his sister.”
Mark turned around and rocked
with his arms flying, his sister settling
him with a kind chuckle. Right then,
the driver started announcing, “Cart, please. Cart, please.” We’d just begun rolling when a businessman ran up to the driver and pleaded to jump on, squeez- ing onto the seat next to Billy. As he turned to the actor, his voice froze in excitement. Then he declared, “Why,
you’re Billy Barty!”
I still grin thinking about it. This
raucous group had only come together
for 10 short minutes, but what an
amazing blip in time. For those crazy
moments, we had bonded in an explosion of mirth and delight.
Although my blindness presents difficulties, it also delivers gifts. I treasure
the humorous moments I’m given in my
travels as a professional speaker. My
sense of humor is a gift and so is yours.
Bringing it into your “cart” can only fill
your life with joy everywhere you go.
At age 32, Joan Brock suddenly lost her eyesight and then lost her first husband to cancer. As a speaker and author, Brock shares how she
overcame adversity and inspires others
who’ve experienced losses to “get on with it.”
Her autobiography, More Than Meets the
Eye, was made into a Lifetime movie. Her
new book is Come to Your Senses. Visit Joan