posted by Joe Anaya on December 10th, 2012

One of my best friends, Dave B. was born with a birth defect but he’s not handicapped. He was born missing his left arm, and his right arm goes down just past his elbow and ends in a thumb and finger, no hand.

There are many things that make us friends. We have a similarly dark sense of humor. We both work in the entertainment industry. (Although he clings to the ridiculous notion that theater is a higher art form than movies. Whatever.) One of the things I like most about him is that he never feels sorry for himself. He participates in almost everything. I’ve never heard him bemoan something he couldn’t do. In fact, he’s comfortable just asking for help if he needs a heavy box from a high shelf, but in reality, he’s just as likely to assess whether anything will break if he simply knocks off the box from the shelf and lets it crash to the ground. He always has a work-around.

Once while playing basketball, I ended up guarding Dave B. After his team got ahead by a few points, because I let him make his first couple of baskets with his ridiculously low-delivery-Rick-Berryish style shot, I thought, “Screw this, I’m going to block his shot.” Swat! Swat! His next two shot attempts got viciously blocked by yours truly. That’s how our friendship works. The next time he had the ball, he faked a shot, I eagerly leapt up to reject another of his shots. But he changed his aiming point and heaved it, as hard as he could, right into my crotch. After a few seconds on the ground catching my breath, I never aggressively went after another of his shots. I maintained good defensive spacing, one hand raised to his face, and the other protecting my groin. Dave B. had a work-around.

My other favorite quality, of Dave B. is he has brass huevos the size of Montana. We once saw a play in a cracker box art theater and he was really digging the poster design for the play. There were several posters hanging in the lobby and he announced, “I really like these. I’m going to get one.” As luck would have it, a producer from the play, who came out to talk to the crowd, came our way. I thought that was the perfect opportunity to ask for one of the posters. Dave B. however believes in the adage, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.” So, while the three of us chatted about the play, my buddy casually peeled a poster from the wall, “The first act felt a little long, but it picked up in the second act,” rolled it up, “The lighting cues seemed a little tardy,” and stuffed the poster into his satchel. There was a moment when the producer had a look of confusion and thought about asking what Dave B. was doing but then thought better of it and moved on.

I don’t know if the producer let him do it because of Dave B’s brashness and therefore “he must have permission” or the producer’s fear of embarrassing a “handicapped” person or general confusion from comments that seemed critical but were delivered in a friendly tone or a combination of all three, but I do know, my ballsy friend still likes that poster hanging in his living room.

File Under Jack of all Trades