Apologies for the NSFW language used in this post. If you read it, you’ll see it’s not gratuitous; it’s appropriate for the context. Leave me a nasty comment if you don’t agree. ~BZ
Dean Zimmer found a “Drummer Wanted” ad and decided to try out for the spot. Unfortunately, Zimmer has arthrogryposis, a condition that severely restricts joint movement in his legs and arms. As a result, Zimmer doesn’t look like he could hold the drumsticks, let alone strike out a beat. Looks are deceiving.
In college there was a woman in my class who had cerebral palsy (CP). It seemed severe to my untrained eyes, but she did manage to walk on her own. Unfortunately, because of her condition, her hand-eye coordination was for shit.
These were the days when colleges would set up a “computer room” with multiple terminals connected to a single computer. Students would sit at the terminals, type out their term papers, and save them to files on the single shared computer.
Unfortunately, these were also the days before “user experience” and GUIs were in place. So you had to type out specific commands to save your file, and the system was quite unforgiving—if you hit the wrong key, you could lose all your work.
I was sitting next to this woman with CP, and she spent I don’t know how many hours typing in her paper. The process was exceedingly slow and painful to watch, let alone perform.
And then, of course, she hit the wrong key.
Her paper was gone. When she realized what happened, she let out a surprisingly quiet “Shit!” I took notice, and quickly realized what had happened. I didn’t know this woman, but I felt horrible about the accident, so I offered to type the paper into the computer for her—she had the draft written out (how did she do that? perhaps my memory is whacked). She sternly refused.
Well I left, and came back a few hours later to finish my paper. She was still there, and no lie…it happened again.
“FUCK!” came out of her this time. I again offered—pleaded with her to let me type in her paper. She again sternly refused, and began again, taking all her will to control her hand and fingers enough to type out the paper again.
I don’t know what happened to this amazing woman with CP. I’m sure she graduated—if not from Reed, then somewhere. I did see her at Berkeley some years later. Perhaps she was going to grad school there?
Anything is possible with enough will and determination.
Do watch this video about drummer Dean Zimmer. The guy is amazing in all respects.