Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Magnum Opus of a Proud Dyslexic

About 10% of the North American population has some form of dyslexia; I happen to be one of them…I think it would’ve been easier dealing with ADD.

The reason why I'm writing this article is because I'm tired of people making fun of this disability.
Back in the day when people cracked their little jokes about dyslexics, I would laugh along with the group; after all…I didn’t want my crew to know I was one of them!

After being put in that position, I think I know what it’s like being in the closet!

My biggest fear was getting caught in the stairwell by my school mates; not for blowing another guy, but for trying to read a book out loud!

Dyslexia is one type of learning disability that affects a person's ability to read.
Being dyslexic didn't necessarily mean I couldn’t read; but reading a 350 page books wasn't something I took up as a regular hobby either.

A hobby is having a rock collection, or taking up photography; but for a dyslexic, reading is a god damn chore!

Improving my reading skills was such a slow process; when people in high school were reading “One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest” I was still trying to master “Clifford the Big Red Dog”!

Now I read pretty long as I'm alone.
As long as I have some privacy, my reading is as good as a bad vocalist singing in the shower.

People would say to me, "When you lock yourself up in your bedroom like that, you almost sound like the president of a book club!"

Some dyslexics see words backwards; this was not always the case with me, but when I was a kid, I’d naturally viewed books from back to front.

Remembering my childhood years, I didn't see the first Star Wars movie when it came out, so I ended up reading the book. At the time I couldn’t understand why the book ended off with "A long time ago".

Till this very day I do have a problem with comprehension; comprehending what I just read is difficult depending on the subject matter.

All I can say is thank God for ‘Hustler’...I can just look at the pictures!

Do you know what it's like not being able to understand what you just read?
I could read a ransom note, and I’ll still be confused!

“This guy wants what? Tell the kids its supper time!”

I've struggled with dyslexia when I was younger, and didn't even know I had it.
No damage done; I knew people who were slow, and didn’t know they were retarded!

They’d hop on that special bus thinking they were riding in a big yellow limo.

I grew up in a West Indian household; in the West Indian community, there were no such thing as a disability or anything like that; if you're falling behind in school, there can't be an neurological explanation for it…you're just lazy!

You don’t get any special attention, no extra tutoring; they’d just try to beat the lazy out of you!

(To them it’s like beating dust out of an old rug.)

One of the reasons why I write today, is because when I was in the fourth grade, all of the students in my class had to write a short story; being considered to be one of the students who needed special attention, I came in third!

When the teacher called me up to receive my prize, one of the so-called smart kids almost had a heart attack; the good thing is he got to miss the rest of school.

How can a person who has a problem with reading and writing beat out most of his classmates?

Easy; it took creativity, imagination, and a passion for story telling…and it also helped that I had a crush on my Teacher!
(Good grades were the last thing on my list…I was trying to impress her.)

Now when I think about it, the only reason why I'm a writer today is because I was always told I could never be one.

I didn't become a writer out of ambition; I’m a writer because I’m hard headed.
Now I wish my Guidance counselor told me I could never become a Biologist.

The truth is I have more than just dyslexia; dyslexia only affects words and language; 'Dys' meaning 'difficulty' and 'lexia' meaning 'words'.

I also have dysgraphia which affects handwriting, and dyscalculia which responsible for poor mathematical skills; in my case these things are affected by the evil ‘dyslexia’.
If I knew this before, I might have been able to stop my crazy West Indian Father from trying to beat the laziness out of me!

I have very limited verbal skills; proper grammar, and pronunciation is a bitch!
I always had a problem pronouncing long words...even the shortest word was a sesquipedalian!

(Words like 'it' were a pain in the ass.)

Because of my problem with language, I learned to talk very late in life; my mom told me I didn't know how to fully talk till I was five!

Do you know what it’s like not being able to talk till the age of five?
People would ask me my name, and I had to mumble it!

Even till this day I have a really hard time learning other languages.
I don't know a single language other than English, and even that's a struggle!

I'm from Canada, a bilingual country; and I don't know a bit of French...but I took French emersion!

Whenever I’m in Quebec, and a Francophone says “Bonjour”, for some reason…I think it’s French for the N-word!

As I said earlier, having this disability affects my handwriting; people who’ve seen my writing calls it chicken scratch. But the truth is if you saw my writing, it's actually an insult to the chicken!

(Foghorn Leghorn from ‘Looney Toons’ would’ve been pissed.)

Spelling can also be affected by dyslexia.
I always knew I wasn't stupid, because I have a very high IQ; according to my test scores, I’m a practically a ‘genius’...but I didn't know how to spell it!

Because of this disability, I always had a problem learning how to tell time; clocks and hand watches were the enemy.
I do understand how it all works, but sometimes it takes awhile; even though I own a watch myself, I still ask people for the time…just for validation.

I had this problem all the way up to high school: because of this difficulty, I always wore a digital watch!

Digital watches came in handy; people would always ask me for the time.
They would come up to me and say "Excuse me, could you tell me if it's quarter after three?”

I would look at my watch and say, "'s only three fifteen!"

Basic math was a bitch to learn especially multiplication.
The easiest of all the time tables, were multiplying by one.

I’m not good with numbers at all; when I'm in a restaurant, sometimes I can’t even figure out the tip.
Sometimes I prefer not to give the tip...I rather appear as an ass-hole, than a dumb-ass!

Dyslexia is pretty tough to deal with; because of it, I don't like driving.
I drive all the time because I don’t have a choice; but most of the time, I will only drive alone.
Now when I think of it, I should throw out those car-seats; my kids aren’t driving with me, especially my younger one.

The last thing I need is a three year old backseat driver…who can talk!

I hate driving: when I’m under pressure, I can’t differentiate between left and right, I can't parallel park, and I can't read maps!

Every time I look at a road map, to me it looks like varicose veins!

I’m terrible at taking directions; don’t ever give me directions verbally.
I’m so bad at it - I'm probably the only brother in the world…who can get lost on my way to a booty call!
(Even if she’s my next door neighbor, that girl would have to come to me - that’s not because of dyslexia; that’s from being lazy.)

I'm bad at directions; I don't know my north and south, my east or my west; as far as I know, that song "Jesus Walks" was performed by a Kanye ‘blank’!

Dyslexia can also affect hand-eye coordination; I believe this is the reason I’m so bad at video games.

Whenever I play that new 50 Cent game ‘Bulletproof’, 50 says “That nigga gon’ get me killed!”

I guess this is why I’m so terrible at sports; I’m so bad at it, my athletic skills are the equivalent of a white person dancing.

When I was a kid I loved playing soccer.
Because I had a great love for this sport, I was able to become good enough to make the school team; but I was always the last one picked, and I barely got to participate.

When people asked me what position I played, I'd say 'bench warmer'!

When you're a bench warmer, you're pretty much a spectator; the only difference is…you get to wear the uniform.

The positive side to dyslexia is, it gives me a creative edge, and I perceive things differently than the average person.

Very early in age, people realized I was a wunderkind when it came to the arts.
I was always highly gifted in music, poetry, and visual arts…if you want to include graffiti.

Then very much later, I found out I had good comedic timing; which led me to stand-up comedy, then branched off to a hosting career in Television.

Now when I think about it, if I had to live my life again, I wouldn’t change it for the world; I look at dyslexia as a gift.
If it wasn't for my condition, I probably wouldn't be able to view life the way I do.

In closing, I hope I gave some insight on this subject.
You may not view this article to be a Masterpiece, but as a dyslexic, I am proud of all my accomplishments.

This specific article may not be my magnum opus, but if you're dyslexic, I hope you find this to be my…

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