I have prosthetic hands and it constantly surprises people – Michmutters

I have prosthetic hands and it constantly surprises people

A few days ago, I visited a local pub with a girlfriend, and standing at the bar together we ordered two glasses of wine.

The bartender promptly placed two stemless glasses on the counter and began pouring.

“Sorry but do you have glasses with stems?” I asked.

Instantly his demeanor soured and after finding a boringly old-fashioned wine glass, he filled it up with an exaggerated look of disdain.

“Oh, I don’t want to be precious, but I have prosthetic hands and there’s no way I could pick up that glass without smashing it,” I said.

My girlfriend and I casually laughed at the situation before the necessary apologies began rolling in.

Perhaps I should have stated it up front and saved everyone from the whole judgment-turned-apology exercise, but the situation was a fast-paced transaction with no room for explanations.

But life is full of fast-paced exchanges between strangers. And in the split seconds we have to process what is going on, we humans seem to regularly squeeze in enormous amounts of expectation, judgment and criticism.

So why has our community become so uncomfortable with the unexpected?

I have used prosthetic hands every day since my amputations nine years ago.

They are quite amazing gadgets. Able to open and close and with their skin-coloured cosmetic covers, they look just like real hands. Nail polish and all.

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