Wheelchair Humour, love and other impossible pursuits

My husband and I are parents to two small, rambunctious children, aged four and ten months. They fill our days with joy and laughter, and we are consumed by their care.


This means our opportunities to exchange the banter and chatter and in-jokes that interlock with the backbone of our marriage are often trumped by tiny people shouting for snacks or needing their butts cleaned.  Date nights help, as does the exchange of weary glances, and suppressed giggles at our children’s exhausting adorableness. But we also have a separate love language that can survive the constant interruptions and busy-ness of parenthood: memes. One of the things I love most about my husband is his sense of humour: it is droll and smart and often makes even the most intolerable of life experiences bearable. He makes me laugh like no-one else can.

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LOLz for days

He is often the first person I think of when I come across a hilarious bit of popular culture while scrolling through social media. He was the first person I thought of when I came across the Facebook page of the Positive Wheelchair Guy. How to describe to you, reader, who Positive Wheelchair Guy is and what he means to me, to my marriage? Well, like my husband, he is a wheelchair-user. He is ‘positive’, but not in the way many expect disabled people to be. He does not offer any stories of conventional bravery or inspiration that those of us who are able-bodied can use to make ourselves feel better about our lives. Instead, he posts a daily meme. The format is the same everyday. A picture of PWG, huge grin and thumbs up, and some funny overlaid text. Below are some of my recent favorites.

Many of his jokes are about life in a wheelchair, and you can only really laugh at them if you are in a wheelchair or you love someone in a wheelchair. They’re usually tame, but sometimes veer into dirty territory, with talk of bowel programs and murky pee. Truth be told, the dirtier ones are our favorites. They rely on a common understanding about the intricacies and intimacies of life after a spinal cord injury that only those of us who know, know. In short, they are cool little in-jokes about the parts of our lives we often keep from the people in them. And that’s awesome. There’s something liberating about taking something that is an everyday part of the lives of a minority group, and making it mundane and ‘normal’ through crass humour. It feels good to laugh about the things few in our lives understand.*


It feels good to laugh, period. There is much about my husband’s life that isn’t very funny at all. There is a lot that is no good, terrible, horrible. And some of that is life-threatening. So, laughter is a big part of getting through the day each day, facing the seemingly insurmountable, and living our lives as parents to our incredible kids, but also as a married couple.


The other morning, while he was feeding our son his breakfast, and I was chasing our daughter around our house, my husband glanced at his phone and chuckled at a message from me: “Ah, Positive Wheelchair Guy”. And we shared a laugh in and amongst the chaos of keeping our children alive.  Positive Wheelchair Guy is our romantic shorthand for: I am still the hilarious, slightly inappropriate, nerd you married; I will always laugh with you, especially at the hard stuff.


It’s one of the ways we choose each other, every day. I’m sure that seems strange to most. That’s OK. Thanks to Positive Wheelchair Guy’s page, I know there are people out there who can relate.


*If you’d like to laugh for a few days, check out PWG’s description of an upsetting disruption in his bowel program. You won’t regret it.

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