Hunger fills your stomach as a Saturday afternoon at the mall with friends and/or family progresses. You enter the food court to notice one guy sitting next to another feeding him, the second guy propped up in his wheelchair at the table’s head. What do you do? Divert your eyes and ignore the two people? Stare like you just caught the neighborhood dogs participating in non PG behavior? Let’s momentarily pause the space-time continuum with a Zack Morris Saved by the Bell style timeout and pick up How We Roll by Tim Wambach.
How We Roll by Tim Wambach shares Wambach’s adventures with his excellent friend Mike Berkson. You know one can call a friendship excellent when peeing on the other creates roaring laughter rather than tense hostility. That’s exactly what happened one day inside a junior high bathroom as Tim assisted Mike. You see Mike Berkson has cerebral palsy, a neurological disability which can hinder your body from functioning properly. While Mike’s cerebral palsy limits him physically, mentally he’s just like any other person. Mike uses a wheelchair to get around and relies on Tim for assistance. Tim began working with Mike just before Berkson started seventh grade.
Reading How We Roll will really get you thinking about life from the perspective of someone in a wheelchair and in the process get you to appreciate your own life more. For instance, Wambach recalls one time while waiting with Mike for the elevator to come three kids approaching the duo to inquire about riding the elevator with Mike. When Mike asked them why they wanted to ride the elevator their leader answered “Elevators are cool. And we don’t want to take the stairs.” Mike responded “Be thankful you can take the stairs.” That right there provides one lesson people of all ages can afford to learn.
Besides teaching readers to appreciate tasks too often taken for granted, How We Roll explores misconceptions about people in wheelchairs. Take for example the too often made association between people with disabilities and low intelligence. In the beginning of How We Roll Wambach transcribes an overview about Mike Berkson the person in Mike’s own words. Within the overview Mike remembers back to an experience from his sixth grade year. After he scored 100% on a vocabulary quiz his teacher kept him following class to see if Mike received help on the quiz. His teacher explained her skepticism by sharing how no other disabled student achieved this accomplishment before.
Overall How We Roll captures the imagination and gets you thinking about life in a wheelchair. With that said, let’s wander back to the proposed scenario we started with. Hunger fills your stomach as a Saturday afternoon at the mall with friends and/or family progresses. You enter the food court to notice one guy sitting next to another feeding him, the second guy propped up in his wheelchair at the table’s head. What do you do?
Rating: Four out of five stars (Highly recommended)
Other cerebral palsy related reading:
Living This Rodeo (Audiobook) by Shane Michael Taylor
Someone Like Me by John W. Quinn
Daddy Bent-Legs by Neil Matheson