Take A Stroll... With Rob Delaney - Helping You, Helping Me
In 2002 I drove my car into a building while drunk. I broke my right arm and my left wrist and both of my knees were cut open to the bone, but not broken.
In the months that followed I had several surgeries, as the breaks in my wrist and arm were pretty bad. My right ulna had effectively been smashed. As a result, I spent a lot of time in the hospital for occupational therapy so that I could get everything working again. It was extraordinarily difficult to masturbate, wipe my ass and bathe during this time, but I’m diligent, so I figured out how to do all three in my own sad, time-consuming way. I was grateful to the doctors and nurses (and the cops and judges and lawyers), but I was most touched by all of the volunteers who helped me, even if they just visited to shoot the breeze for a bit or did something as simple as have big tits and wear a low-cut shirt.
About two years after my last surgery (and my last drink), a friend asked me if I wanted to volunteer for a week at the summer camp he ran for people with disabilities. Since volunteers had left such a positive impression on me, I said yes. I served as a care attendant and counsellor for kids and adults who had disabilities like Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and others. I had spent very little time with people with disabilities of any kind prior to the camp, because I had falsely believed that Down syndrome was communicable via eye contact. (I later learned that it’s not; you can only get it if you share needles with them. And, since I was sober by this point, that was not a concern.)
The work was very physical because you were more than just a “buddy” to the campers; you dressed, changed, carried them around and bathed them if needed – and plenty of them needed it. Sometimes I even got to give enemas. Not the sexy kind, though. Certain medicines taken by people with cerebral palsy can lead to pretty gnarly constipation. It was particularly challenging if your camper was a 40-year-old man with spastic cerebral palsy who weighed 200 pounds. Fortunately, over the two years since my accident, I’d worked hard to regain full use of my arms and only recently had been able to do my first unassisted push-ups. Wrestle-enemas actually provided a great workout. (Physical therapists take note.) It wasn’t all enemas and man bathing though; we sang, played basketball, went to the beach, made short films and went to concerts, too. It was a fucking blast.
Invariably, when people asked what I’d been up to and I told them, they’d say things like “Good for you,” or “Wow, I could never do that.”
I want to slow down here, take a breath or two and say, “Fuck that donkey shit.” The “secret” I want to reveal is that volunteering is fun as a motherfucker. Keep in mind: I’m an abject, pants-pissing alcoholic whose very genes are screaming “FEEL GOOD FEEL GOOD FEEL GOOD” on an incessant loop. I also MAKE MY LIVING doing stand-up comedy because I am as addicted to others’ laughter as Andrew Breitbart is addicted to pictures of Anthony Weiner’s big Jew dong. My DNA is aimed, both spiritually and professionally, at FUCKING FUN. Am I being clear? If oxytocin and serotonin aren’t engaging in serial bukkake with my neural receptors at all times, I hide in a dirty corner and eat store-brand cheese by the block until my own smell drives me back out into the sunlight. I like to feel good, and doing volunteer work makes me feel really the fuck good. Volunteering is an IDEAL glass slipper for the Cinderella’s foot of your deeply ingrained selfishness and self-involvement. So slip it on and go give a disabled person an enema today, whether they want one or not. You can thank me later.