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University Of Maryland University College
ENGLISH 101 Term I
Intruduction To Writing
Essay # 1, Narrative essay
Hank's Handicap
By: Cristian Rodriguez
Tuesday, Aug 30, 2005

It transpires so often in Hank's day-to-day life; he wittingly hurts himself and the ones he loves. Hank's diagnosis is not at all uncommon in men, I am afraid. Many others, like Hank, go through their lives misconceiving the inner conflicts of their handicap; undoubtedly, missing out on some of the greatest joys a human being can experience in this life: truthful relationships with others.

Hank's fate was predestined twenty six years ago when he was born a healthy baby boy, another innocent victim had emerged. His parents immediately went to work on him, shaping and molding him to overcome his handicap, and put it all behind him. They certainly knew what to do; they had seen it many times before. Hank's parents would let him cry a bit longer in the cradle before they came to attend to him; they believed this would help Hank be stronger to overcome his handicap in the future. Friends and family also helped Hank suppress this terrible disability. Society, collectively contributed to the obvious solution and the message was loud and clear: Hank was to never reveal his disadvantage if he was to be accepted as a "normal" man.

At the age of five, Hank had little understanding of this "malignant illness" that, if not contained, could spread and manifest in all aspects of his life. Hank had to deal with his problem frequently. Whenever he would expose his disability other kids would call him names such as "Crybaby" or "Wimp". It did not take long for Hank to realize he would not be accepted as he was. Hank began to build a "brick wall" around the very existence of his handicap. Moreover, Hank got used to the praises he would receive from his parents and just about every adult in his life whenever he successfully concealed his disability; "You are a brave boy, Hank"; "That boy has a lot of guts". And so the years went and everything seemed normal. It was something to be "proud" of.

By the age of ten, his parents had almost forgotten of Hank's condition. Since it was just too painful for Hank to dig it up, he would burry it deeper and deeper inside. Hank had been enrolled in many sports throughout the years: soccer, baseball, football, to name a few. His parents always knew sports would help him develop and grow as normal as possible. Although Hank's handicap was very much existent within him, he was fitting in with the crowd. One day during a game of baseball, Hank was the last one at bat. It was the county schools' baseball finals and Hank's team was down one point; it seemed everyone in town was there watching him. His parents were cheering him up: "Let's go Hank! Come on, you can do it", siren-like like noises. The pressure was on and Hank wanted to make everyone proud of him. "Strike one…strike two…and he is out!" Hank's team lost the game. Naturally, Hank was very saddened by this. His parents told him that it was fine, that the important thing was that he did his best, but his peers were not as kind. Hank was ridiculed and made fun of by other kids; they called him a "chump" among other things. When Hank came home with tears in his eyes and tried to communicate to his parents what had happened to him in school, his parents told him not to let his disability get the best of him, that he was a big boy now and that this things would happen. So Hank swallowed his pain and buried it down inside. Hank went through his teenage years further disconnecting himself from that part of his life. Everything he did, he tried to do better than the next kid; he felt he had to somehow over compensate for his disability and never show weakness. In romantic relationships, he could never be completely open for he feared he would be taken as being soft and revealed his disability would come out. Over the years, all the pain, all the suffering, all the sentiment kept piling up deep inside Hank's heart. By the time he reached adulthood, the "brick wall" he began to build around his heart as a young kid was stronger than ever.

As Hank turned twenty years old, he had no ability to connect spiritually, intimately and personally at a higher level with others because he could not be himself in entirety. All that meant for him to deal with his disadvantage, was off limits, it just translated into anger, frustration, confusion, depression, and violence. Despite it all, Hank went on and formed a relationship with a wonderful woman. She was the complete opposite of him, and that was most attractive to him; she laughed spontaneously and she was not ashamed to talk about her own disadvantages. Hank ended up getting married and having children of his own with this woman. They had a baby boy, who was born with the same condition Hank had been struggling with since childhood, but Hank has a conflict in his mind; will it be worth it to treat his child the same way he was treated so that his child can most of the time fit in with the rest of society?

Now at age twenty six, Hank gets extremely angry often and throws things around the house; he drinks a six-pack of beer every night; he goes for days without genuinely speaking to anyone and smokes more marijuana than when he was in high school. On the surface, Hank might not have a miserable life, but one wonders how much more fulfilling his life would be if he would have learned how to express his feelings and emotions early in life. We as a society treat our boys' sensitivities, emotions, fears, and acts of spontaneous happiness as handicaps; we treat it as disabilities, as something that will be an obstacle in their lives, as something unnatural, just because they are boys. A boy that expresses pain/hurt is called a "sissy" while a boy that hides these feelings has "guts". A boy that shows fear is called a "wimp" while a boy that hides his fear is called "brave". Even a boy who laughs "too much" is often called "silly". In our society, we use a collective process I like to call "emotional handicapitation" on our young boys: turning perfectly healthy, innocent boys into emotionally handicap men.

Why does Hank have to live in denial of his own human nature and be emotionally handicap? Answer: "Because Hank is a boy and boys don't cry."

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