Still not feeling fabulous, still very behind on other projects, so I'll make this burst of irritability short.
I don't know anything about Heather Mills-McCartney except that
- she married Paul McCartney,
- had a kid with him, and
- is now getting divorced from him;
- she is a female lower limb amputee, but not a transfemoral one; and
- she has sold her name to a line of products which enable other female lower limb amputees to wear high-heeled shoes.
Honestly, and I say this without rancor, these are five more things than I ever wanted to know about Heather Mills-McCartney. I do not wish the lady harm in any way. I wish her well in the same sincere but distant way I wish the Senegalese or the Antarcticans well. Please, be merry and feel good, Heather. Truly, I wish that for you with all the generalized love for strangers I possess. You will, I hope, forgive me for not going in search of the details of how you accomplish it, however, as I have pursuits of my own about which I do not expect you to care but which matter very much to me.
In spite of my distant, impersonal, and highly nonspecific feelings of goodwill toward Ms. Mills-McCartney (and see, I don't even know -- or want to know -- if she's changing her name after the divorce 'cause, again, it's not really any of my business and I am middle-aged and already have way too many things I actually want to know and remember falling out the back of my head like so many loose vegetables in a poorly packed farm truck), in spite of my completely anonymous but genial hopes for her happiness and absolute disinterest in the mechanics thereof, people will talk to me about her as though I care. It's because I'm an amputee.
It's like the Kennedys if you live in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, people you don't even know might start speaking to you at any time or place about the Kennedys (which looks wrong; should be Kennedies, should it not?) as though they are your mutual relatives. You are assumed to care and be paying attention like you would to a beloved chain of cousins you pretty much only see at weddings and holidays. As far as I know, in spite of an ever so slight resemblance between all their roundish noggins and my late father's, we are not related. You might be related; I do not know. Regardless, if you are in Massachusetts, be aware that at any time or place people you have never met might up and start speculating to you on the latest details of Kennedy lives and ask you what you think, and if/when you tell them you don't think anything at all because it's none of your business, they will just keep right on talking as though you haven't said anything.
Some people think the Kennedys are royalty, which is highly disturbing. I have had people I otherwise respected say things to me such as how this or that action by Ted Kennedy while in office showed a real sense of "noblesse oblige." Considering that this gentleman, for whom I have voted on at least one occasion, is actually our employee, employed specifically to represent our interests, it is my rather stringent position that he'd bloody well better take actions that serve me, and not because of any sense of noble obligation, but because it's his job, for which he was employed and for which he is paid. Unless it involves me or mine directly, breaks laws, or somehow renders him unfit for public office, I don't care where he summers or with whom he sleeps, unless along with the noblesse oblige someone has decided that there should also be droit de seigneur for elected officials. I'm pretty sure that as bad as things have ever gotten along those lines in this country, things have not gotten quite that bad yet. I'm pretty sure I am still free not to care about Ted's personal life. He's not my relative and he's not my liege lord. I am really only interested in his job performance, and I neither wish to hear about nor discuss any other aspect of his life, ever, thank you.
Is that so unreasonable?
And you know what? I feel that way about almost every single famous person I don't know personally. Yep, every single one, with few exceptions. Their lives, even the parts their publicists and the media conspire to invent and reveal for us, are usually not more interesting than my own. I want the actors to act. I want the cooks to cook. I want the writers to write. I don't want to hear about what they wear or whom they bonk unless they want to tell me about it themselves in some particularly diverting way.
Similarly, unless she's offering the money directly to me or someone I care about, I have absolutely no interest in the specifics of Ms. Mills-McCartney's charitable associations. I don't care what she wears, whether she walks or wheels herself about, what happened to her marriage, etc. I do not think she's especially marvelous -- and certainly not on the basis of her being an amputee -- nor do I think she's particularly terrible, either. I simply don't know or care about her personally at all, except in that very general, humane, good-wishes-to-all-and-to-all-a-good-night kind of way. And I would appreciate it very much if the "normals" would stop asking me what I think about her, would stop assuming I do think about her, and also would stop trying to insert her into my life.
This is directed to the very sweet ex-customer of mine whom I really like very much, but who brought her up with shining eyes every single time she came through my register.
This is directed to the very well-meaning hospital employee to whom I spoke while making arrangements for my own amputation, who assured me that I would be fine and eventually able to do whatever I'd like, because "Look at Heather Mills-McCartney. She's an amputee, and she just had a baby."
This is directed to anyone who doesn't know what to say when speaking to an amputated or soon-to-be-amputated stranger.
Unless you're trying to sell us one of her name-brand products, please don't bring up Heather Mills-McCartney because "she's an amputee, too." She is not a goddess icon secretly worshipped by all amputees, and her accomplishments and failures are as relevant or utterly irrelevant to any other individual human's as anyone else's.
See the person in front of you. Seek humanity, not symbols. If looking for a common language, start with "Hello" and no assumptions except that the person in front of you matters for his or her own, albeit possibly obscure, sake, and so do you.
That is all.