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Now don’t get me wrong here. When it comes to politically correct I still use terms like “women’s lib” but wouldn’t we really take the sting out of being challenged if we truly exemplified the fact that we could all take other’s challenges in stride and accept some of the responsibilities for being blessed?

Stay with me here.

Look at this like a photographic film negative where black is white and white is black.

A bank of bathroom stalls with various signs. The first two have a silhouette of tall and thin people on them — Really Blessed. Then the shorter people and wider as we went down the line until the last blue-and-white sign was merely a circle with a sweatband on it — Barely Blessed but Working Out.

As far as entrances to buildings we could have the ramps, an escalator, the stairs and then one of those climbing walls with a bucket of chalk dust next to it to get a really good grip.

Again the blue-and-white signs could indicate accordingly —

Needs the Ramp, Couch Potato Wussy with Electric Stairs, Out-of-Breath Stair Climber Trying to Prove Something, and finally a big blue star next to the climbing wall.

I’ll stop with the melodrama since my point is not that complicated. Fact is there was a time when we needed a law to be sure to regulate the simple consideration we should have always had for each other. That was some time ago and hand in hand with the passage of that time is the growth that should have accompanied it.

Making fully accessible facilities isn’t a matter of building separate but equal amenities. It’s not cold, hard decisions made by engineers on a stack of paper labeled ADA-COMPLIANT.

The notion is that the access should be a consideration in the early part of the design… maybe even the concept. As a person who, only at the moment and by the grace of God, does not require special considerations, I can honestly say it wouldn’t bother me to bend a little lower to get my drink of water or walk up a series of ramps instead of stairs.

Perhaps if we looked at challenged considerations through the other side of the looking glass and considered what fully physically capable people were willing and able to do, the entire concept would take a different tack and disabled people wouldn’t have to endure constant reminders of what they can’t do.

Ronald D. Ciancutti is the purchasing manager for Cleveland Metroparks, a metropolitan park system that encircles Cuyahoga County and includes more than 20,000 acres of natural land, six golf courses, seven nature centers, a variety of special interest facilities and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Ron can be reached at rdc@clevelandmetroparks.com.

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