Dave Riggler’s Stories
Author: Brian Hartman
Challenges come to each of us at different moments in our lives. Some are physical and others emotional and each one of us has to decide how we handle these obstacles and roadblocks placed in our paths. Handicaps do not always hold people back. Success comes in many varied and unique ways when determination and perseverance are part of the person’s makeup. Spinda bifida is a birth defect that “involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord or coverings.” Dave Riggler was born with this condition and when detected at birth they do not have problems from it. However, in some cases if it is more severe it can and will make walking and daily activities difficult to do without help. Dave RIggler was born with this illness and from an early age you can tell he was determined to live his life to the fullest no matter what. As author Brian Hartman introduces us to Dave at an early age we learn from the start that he gets around from place to place by crawling. Big brother, Richard, is determined to help him learn to walk before he goes to Kindergarten and the conversation between them is warmhearted, funny and definitely lets the reader know the love they have for each other. With grandmother there explaining to Richard that some things will never happen, like Dave walking, he tells him not to give up on it there is always tomorrow. Next, we meet Dave when he’s meeting with his analyst. He is now in the seventh grade and has developed upper body strength in order to wheel himself around in his chair. He is smart, intelligent, sassy and definitely not a kid to be trifled with, as he explains to the doctor in no uncertain terms the reasons why walking makes him feel more handicapped and why some although some think that getting up to walk is a victory and closer to their definition of normal, to him it is like “suffering a defeat.” The pain and agony required to move his legs and walk is too great a price to pay each time he tries to be like everyone else. Looking less handicapped because he can walk does not really make him feel normal. He says and I quote,” I feel more handicapped and helpless.” Dave Riggler knew himself and understood his limitations and how to deal with them even at this age.
Next, we meet him at the age of 25 in a story titled Last Call where he is having an evening out with a close friend. But, not everyone you are going to meet in this book of 6 stories is physically handicapped. Some are handicapped in other ways like Carole a woman who comes into the bar where he and his friend Lue are having a drink and some great conversation while celebrating his birthday. Dave is definitely a caring person who tries to help others even when they don’t want to help or hear what he is trying to say. Carole is upset. She vents to him about her life, her kids and her feeling of homelessness. Expressing her feelings you get the feeling that she has given up on life and does not see anyway out that would make her feel worthy of being in this world. The startling end you will have to read for yourself and decide just what happens to Carole and why. Surgery is next as Dave goes into the hospital to have a shunt put in and his determination, stamina and great courage shine through as his mother is there with him and he seems to be able to give her the support she needs to know he is going to be okay.
Friendships are rare and hard to cultivate but next we meet Dave and his friend Jeff who discuss work, his friend’s son and how hard he worked at making a great CD for his band and Dave’s feelings towards his job for searching for information for people in an area called Dialog searching which the author explains for the reader in detail. But, this story, titled Tuesday will remind us of what happened on September 11, 2001 as the author relates through Dave the events that took down the Twin Towers and the effect it had on so many. But, what really endears you to Dave is when he meets Ed a homeless man that lost so much because of a simple mistake he was late for work and was fired. Imagine being fired for being 15 minutes late. That 15 minutes cost Ed more than just his job. Dave and Ed seemed to bond and understand each other but when Dave wanted to buy something for him to eat, he was told they would not allow Ed to stay there and had to give him the good outside of Penn Station. Trying to once again help someone overcome his handicap or find a place in this world he gives him a number to call to get help. But, will he read the rest of the story and you decide for yourself what happens to Ed. This is the first part of the last story titled Penned. There is much more. Love at first click on the net! Emails back and forth to determine if someone is right for you before meeting them. Warning signs are often overlooked and many fall into the trap set by online predators or just women looking for love for all the wrong reasons as we meet Pam. Pam is Dave’s online love at least for this story. Meeting her to go to dinner would definitely be enlightening. Warned by Ed to be careful just might be a great piece of advice. As the reader listens to the conversation between Dave and Pam you realize that she is a complainer, nagger and user. Pam complains about her ex, her job and life in general and has only one agenda in mind for a relationship. She is also after Dave or any many for one reason. Just what happens to enlighten Dave and what Pam is really about you have to read in the story Penned. Penned does not only mean Penn Station in this case you just might feel Penned or caged in if you were to meet Pam and stay with her. Just how this plays out and how penned in Dave felt talking to her you have to read for yourself. Will he fall into her trap or will Dave decide to set himself free?
Handicaps do not have to get you down or limit your mobility or successes in life. This is a story of friendship, loyalty, determination and one man named Dave Riggler who had enough faith in himself and determination not to let one handicap get in his way. Life: is too precious and Dave intends to life it! Author Brian Hartman reminds the reader and everyone that people that are handicapped are human and need to be treated like everyone else. People that are homeless need our help and support to find them a place to live and not shun them when we see them on the street. People that use others are truly handicapped and need to find help to release their grip on others. These stories are truly inspiring and a great read.
I dedicate this story to anyone that has ever overcome an obstacle and did not let him or her get it down. I dedicate this to my cousin, Mark Swerdloff, who lost his legs over 40 years ago when a drunk driver sideswiped him on the highway because he was drunk. Mark is a well-known oral surgeon.
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