On Being A Cripple

Katie Pelay

Glass Grant


26 January 2020


For my first reading response, I am choosing to respond to the Nancy Mairs reading entitled On Being a Cripple. This particular reading stood out to me because of the honest tone that the author takes when describing her journey with Multiple Sclerosis. She begins the essay with a story, revealing an incident that pushed her to write about her experience as a “cripple.” It is interesting to note that she does not reveal her diagnosis until further along in her essay. I take this to mean that she does not put much importance on her diagnosis, rather taking her life into her own hands and living one day at a time. She is persistently optimistic but is not shy to discuss the realities about her disease.

The passage that struck me most was when she recalls a time where she fell in the parking lot during an outing with her friend. In this passage, I find that the complexity of illness shines bright. She recalls the incident in a humorous tone but also understands the dangers that her illness brings to her life. To me, the passage reveals how the disease can abruptly show itself with no signs—interrupting her life just as she interrupted her friend.  Overall, this essay reveals the complexity of illness with its highs and lows in a refreshingly candid nature.