Back when I was in college, there was this one student who was confined to a wheelchair. Brown hair, baby face, reddish complexion. Had a non-motorized wheelchair, so he had to wheel himself all over campus.

I don't recall having any significant dealings with him, but he seemed like a nice enough person, most of the time. He'd never let anyone push him, and sometimes he'd get angry if you held a door open for him.

Anyway, sometimes you'd see him wheeling himself across campus carrying a boom box in his lap. The stereo was playing some generic action movie soundtrack. He was pushing the chair just as hard and as fast as it would go, and you could tell, by the look in his eyes, that he was imagining himself as the hero of a TV movie that would never get filmed. Overcoming all obstacles despite his handicap, earning the respect of everyone he knew, getting the girl.

Nothing wrong with the fantasy--most of us indulge in that kind of daydreaming--but playing it out in public...?

In Extreme Ghostbusters, an animated series sequel to The Real Ghostbusters, one of the ghostbusters is in a wheelchair. He's a really cool superhero because aside from the occasional joke, his wheelchair is never mentioned. It's just there, and he kicks the crap out of ghosts.

I was born to be an astronaut. Deep blackness, intense crisp light, our gentle moon and swirls of weather and landscape below. Three missions. This last time I installed sheets of lichen for air scrubbing and set up new systems and sensors for microgreens, legumes and fungi. The worms are doing well and the system has reduced overall waste issues dramatically. I also delivered some exoskeletal rigs for people out working on debris. It feels like it is over in a moment. So I keep my name in the hat for future trips.

Now that I am back I have ramped up the engineering. I have never finished making stuff for around the house. There is always something I can adapt and change. I try to recycle parts and make things modular so that it is easy to experiment with new tools and rigs.

I get a workout using the climbing wall and harness. I change the setup to stretch different muscles. The wall is on an angle rather than vertical so it is easier to keep at it for longer.

I like being able to cook. That is one of the rigs I like the most. We entered a cake in the local show which would have done well if we had the colours in the right order.

Mainly my work now is making rigs for other people. We have a larger space now for people to give them a workout and see how they fit. There have been a couple of folks with wheelchairs and a few without. The spinal tap solutions are still a bit delicate so folks do like these old steampunk rigs, but some people just like the transformation.

I still wear the wheels out sometimes. They are fun with the recumbent mode and have a retro charm.

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