And now, a distraction. My brother introduced me to kinetic typography. I like it. The subtitles are the movie, so I don't miss anything at all. Favorites:

Along the way, I found some videos (short, long) of an artist who drew with a typewriter. I wonder what people said when he started. "Why are you wasting your time? You have spastic CP; you can't be an artist if you can't control your muscles." I wonder if his early works were any good, how long he had to spend before he developed a technique that worked for him. I have a fascination with the notion of 'improbable mastery,' and disabled people succeeding at things related to their handicaps (i.e. runner without legs, yes - mathematician without legs, not as relevant) are a very small, but very visible, subset of that.

But how improbable is that mastery, really? It frustrates me when people say things like "look at accomplished person with disability X. Imagine how much more they could have done without X!" I mean, maybe typewriter art was his thing - maybe he would have been an okay painter (because really, if you can draw on not-a-typewriter, you'd probably try that first) and never stand out, or maybe he'd have become a decent guitarist and never even think of spending time on art at all. Or maybe he's the kind of person that, no matter what circumstances were, would have to do art, and this is just the only way that it could be expressed. Another what-if does this in reverse - what if Yo-Yo Ma grew up deaf? Would he still be a cellist? A musican?

I realize I'm projecting a lot of myself onto this, because I've been the subject of those kinds of statements for most of my life. My point is that when you say "imagine how much more..." - that's all it is, imagining. Sometimes it's a useful mental exercise, but things happened the way they happened, and this is the reality, and wishing the past had been different won't change it. You can't change the past. You can't predict the future. You can shape the present - and knowing and acknowledging what the present reality actually is tends to help with that a lot.