Waving Thor’s Hammer in New York

Always someone in the rain with a hammer. That’s working life. And the wind, which has no politics, adds its blank cruelty. No theory can explain this, though Carl Jung tried. His essay on Job is still the greatest analysis of unjustified suffering and the uncaring cosmos. But a man or woman, even a child, must wave a hammer in rain. And the disabled wave two hammers. In this way, I’ve always thought of the disabled, my friends, as “Thor”—my pal Bill with his wheelchair has at least two hammers. My friend X who is blind and angry has five or six hammers. And they move about in rain. Navigate with insistent and pure energies. Thor’s hammer, which was made by the dwarves, according to Snorri, has the lightning on the inside where it truly counts.

 

I've been in New York City for the past two days. The city is a hard place for the disabled. I must find strangers to hail cabs for me because taxi drivers won't stop for guide dog users. You go into unfamiliar shops where the staff won't talk to you. This is not just customary rudeness it's disability rudeness. In other words the famous New York fuck you is doubly good if a cripple is around. The shopkeeper thinks: “I have to deal with assholes all day long and now what, I have to deal with you too?” Two nights ago in Macy's I asked a staff person to help me find the men's section. When we got there she looked at a salesman and said: “I had to bring him here. Now he's yours. “

 

He's yours all right. He's one of you. He's your brother. He is useful because he has Thor's hammer. He can turn ordinary minutes into legends. This morning, for instance, he saw a policeman talking gently to his horse. Two creatures quietly feeling useful.