Things You Wanted To Know About Disability But Were Too Cordial To Ask: Interview With Author Eddie Doyle Of I Hate You Jimmy

I Hate You Jimmy By Eddie Doyle.jpg

The Party's Here! Today we meet the creator of "The DriverEdShow" on YouTube and author of the book, I Hate You Jimmy. Despite Good Day Philadelphia incorrectly introducing him on live television as Greg Doyle, you'll know him both better and correctly as Eddie Doyle. 

It turns out I'm not the only one who hit it off with Eddie right away. And chances are, if you met him, you'd be in the same boat too. He's just the type of guy that invites you to be your authentic self.


Because of this, it didn't surprise me when someone confided in Eddie the way one is usually only safe enough to do with their attorney. You know that type of secret. The kind of painfully buried torture that begins and ends with "I killed two people". (Find yourself on pg. 101 to get that 100% true story).

Sure, Eddie inadvertently luring murder confessions does not shock me, (okay, maybe a little) but some of the other stuff I read and learned throughout I Hate You Jimmy certainly threw me for a loop.

Before I jump into the portions that surprised me most, I'd like to provide a quick and dirty background on the book. 


I Hate You Jimmy exudes a dash of Tucker Max-style college life and beyond through the lens of a powerful nonfiction bromance between the author and fellow college classmate, Jimmy Curran. [Curran is pronounced "Kerr - in"). Because Jimmy's batmobile is a permanent wheelchair, we're taken through short and humorous stories that will subtly expand your mind and diminish your prejudices while sparing the boring lecture. If the entire spectrum of this book could be summed up in both its incidental tenderness and outward hilarity in only two chapters, I'd highly recommend Chapter 17, The Nurses File and Chapter 21, Bathroom Beers.

This duo is taking the "limited" world by storm. As Jimmy describes it, "we're not "or" guys. We're not "and" guys. We're "comma" guys." They'll do it all, and they'll entertainingly take you along if you'll let them. (I knew these were my type of people when Jimmy quoted the classic line from Top Gun, "take me to bed or lose me forever". I only pray Eddie replied to him with "show me the way home, honey!"). 


13 things I learned while reading I Hate You Jimmy:

  1. Jimmy could join the hashtag Me Too Movement with how many references are made about his giant dong 

  2. Don't kid yourself. Folks in wheelchairs/power chairs score just as much and/or as little tail as the rest of us

  3. People in power chairs can be threatened with DUIs while drunk 

  4. Those unable to move their body can be subjected to seeing their own poop against their will

  5. Your weed dealer could very well be that guy in a wheelchair over there

  6. Jimmy loves to be naked when he's drunk

  7. Why it's crucial to turn off a power chair at crowded parties

  8. If you're in a wheelchair while attending sporting events you can add "fire hazard" to your label-list

  9. Women's stranger danger senses dissipate around a man who's genuinely in a wheelchair

  10. The overlooked importance of securing a sober wing-man for chair-involved bathroom trips

  11. Compassionate and even sometimes married home care nurses can and do deliver handjobs

  12. "Smokes" may mean cigarettes to many folks aged 30 and up but in Philly "smokes" can also refer to someone who is wildly attractive

  13. Nurses are not immune to pooping their own pants


14 Interview Questions with the author, Eddie Doyle

Eddie granted permission for this interview the moment he wrote the line, The way I see it, when you don't have experience with something, the only stupid question is the one that isn't asked. Pg. 230 

With a CPR cert and about an hour of training, the homecare services company could pull just about anyone off the street and start them at $8.50 an hour, meanwhile billing the government upwards of twenty-five dollars an hour. 
— Pg. 95 

BROOKE:'re telling me that the home care service agencies were/are charging the government almost triple what they pay their employees? These dicks almost have as big of a markup as the supplement industry! 

EDDIE: Haha - yeah, that mark up is something isn't it? I find it really interesting. I was a little unsure of including that because at the same time, there are so many additional costs- insurances, government fees, certs, that the home care agency is required by law to pay for. So at the end of the day, I don't know who is more of a dick - the agency or the government requiring all those fees, but I just thought it was an interesting discrepancy in the difference of wages for the aide and what the government is charged. 


Jimmy's in the middle of being refused a drink in a dive bar because the bartender mistakes his SMA for being "too sick" to drink alcohol. 

[The manager] was in disbelief about that bartender. According to him, what that woman did was so incredibly illegal. In fact, he explained that it is even illegal to deny service to a woman who is pregnant—the courts have ruled that to be discrimination.
— Pg. 234

BROOKE: Across the United States, pregnant women can't legally be denied a drink?! And if anyone is curious like I was, here's a quick little forum to clear up lingering questions about drinking with SMA.

EDDIE: Yea, that's what the bar manager told us. I think most people can agree that's not a good thing, but it raises an interesting question about what is discrimination, and what do we want to allow laws to dictate in our lives, and other people's lives.

What I am saying is during those times when everyone rises to their feet, the people sitting in the wheelchairs behind the crowd can’t see the fun halftime show or the game-winning basket. Instead, they get a row full of asses in their face. You would think someone might have considered that when designing a section for people who can’t stand.
— Pg. 165

BROOKE: I smell a change a-brewing. This leads me to believe that the designated accessibility sections at the Wells Fargo Center are nothing more than a "compliance decoration". We have these handicap sections but we didn't consult the experts, A.K.A. anyone who is actually in a chair. Do you think you two would ever take this issue on to optimize the accessible seating layout at the 76ers games? 

EDDIE: To be honest, I think we were just so happy we always got moved down from the upper level that we were in no place to complain! One of my favorite things about hanging out with Jimmy is that when things like this come up, he never hangs on to it, or makes it an issue, so honestly, no I don't think that would be something we would take on. Instead, you can find us at the bar at halftime. 

We get to the concert and, as always, head to the customer service desk to get our seats changed to the handicap section. We got to our seats, and Jimmy set up on my right. He is almost always on my right. Walking, sitting, eating, whenever and wherever. Because of the way his muscles formed and degenerated, his head is at a constant tilt towards the left. It works out for me too, because my left ear is more than fifty percent deaf, so I try to make sure everyone is on my right side, especially people who aren’t as loud as others.
— Pg. 107

BROOKE: Eddie, this means that Jimmy is your true right-hand man! I love it! And for you, does this mean when you're sick of listening to someone on the phone, you can just switch to your left ear to muffle their nonsense?   

EDDIE: Haha I never thought to do that with the phone, but I can fall asleep in the loudest room - all I have to do is put my right ear on the pillow!

After an inattentive physical therapist broke his kneecap by stretching his leg out too far, Jimmy decided he was done. He was tired of spending all that time there, especially because there would never be an end. He quit going, and because of that, lost flexibility in his knees and elbows. When Jimmy is being carried, his arms hang at an “L,”, and his knees stay bent even when lying on his back. If someone were to forcibly straighten them, it would be extremely painful and tear every ligament in the joint.
— Pg. 155

BROOKE: Every time I read these sentences I picture two people snapping a wishbone. Yikes. Seeing future Jimmy, do you wish he had kept up with the physical therapy? Or is this one of those instances where physical therapy is ultimately for aesthetic purposes only and the "L" shape of Jimmy's bod has no real negative consequences?

EDDIE: You know, you are actually the second person to ask me that this week! Truthfully, I never really thought about it. Jimmy said he didn't want to do it, and he's happy with his decision, so I just take that at face value. 

We wondered about the thought process that goes through people’s head when they say things like, “Let me show him a picture of someone in a wheelchair,” or when they open a conversation with the question “ALS?
— Pg. 249

BROOKE: First of all, holy shit. Second off, this joyfully reminds me of the Lemonade Not Ice T: It's Not Surprising... commercial from Geico.

I can picture the entire scene of people passing by with the same stupid face they have in the commercial when they stop and ask, "Iced Tea?" 

Only in this scenario, the gal with the silly grin slinks up and asks, 

We know the ALS-chick won't be the first nor last to say something stupid upon greeting somebody in a chair. Is there a line you've encountered that readers can use when they feel compelled to break their own unease in these first-meet greetings? 

EDDIE: That's a hilarious comparison! I don't know if there is a specific line, but I would just go back to the golden rule. Don't say something you wouldn't want a stranger to say to you. I don't know too many people who would ask a stranger about their medical history! 

Jimmy, especially, as serious as he had ever been, looked me dead in the eye, and started with “Eddie,” in a tone of condemnation before letting out a little laugh at how ridiculous I was being. “Don’t. EVER. Offer to push someone.” I was beginning to think maybe I was looking at this disability thing all wrong.
— Pg. 53

BROOKE: What? No! There have to be some exceptions here. Anecdotal argument time. One of my true highlights of living in Knoxville was interacting with Roger. He was a morbidly obese diabetic with a manual wheelchair and section-8 housing atop a steeply graded hill. For every one rotation he was able to move forward, gravity pulled him back two. 

Unable to drive and with a near-constant hankering for Subway and dollar-store trips at street-level, Roger took endless pleasure in heckling me as I'd stop for gasps of air while pushing him up his damned mountain. (Yes, it transformed from a hill into a mountain when pushing). 

Is there an exception to this or did I get played? (Let's be real here, I was as equally amused as he was). Or is this one of those things to hold off on offering under the assumption that if help is truly needed, the person in the chair will ask for it?    

EDDIE: I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. And just because Jimmy is in a chair doesn't mean his opinion on disability is the end all- be all of opinions. What struck me most about that story is that of the people I asked, those familiar with disability advised me not to push, while those unfamiliar with disability assumed it was rude I didn't - that the disabled person definitely needed and wanted help. 

The paralyzed guy telling me to “get up and dance” had the same kind of feel to it—but this time, I wasn’t ashamed. I don’t know why, but I didn’t feel like I had to listen to him. I didn’t feel bad that I could dance and he couldn’t. 

I can’t say for sure, but if I had a similar exchange before knowing Jimmy so well, I don’t think I would have the same level of comfort in disregarding his suggestion. I probably would have felt the same way I did when my mother told me to finish my dinner. I was slowly starting to notice that the more I saw Jimmy as a person—not as a disabled person—the more it was even affecting the way I perceived others. I didn’t hear a cripple make me feel bad for not dancing—I heard a man sitting next to me suggesting I do something I didn’t want to do. 
— Pg. 108

BROOKE: This is beautiful. At first, I thought, man, I want a Jimmy--someone that naturally reinvents my social perception, but then I realized you gave me and everyone else who read I Hate You Jimmy, well, a Jimmy. Thank you for that.  

EDDIE: Thank you so much for sharing that! 

*I typed my middle initial twice. Edward P. PDoyle had to explain to every professor on the first day of each semester that, no the P isn’t silent. I still haven’t opened my diploma to this day out of fear it was never corrected.
— Pg. 142

BROOKE: Man, I love a good mystery. To use you as motivation, if I accomplish the goal of your choosing from my Lithium List, can I earn the right to peek at your diploma as long as I don't tell you or anyone else what it says?

EDDIE: Ohhhh I don't know. The thing is, the envelope is still sealed. I'll tell you what. If you do a legit belly flop with Michael Phelps... I'll think about it. 

All of these people throw it around, thinking they are being politically correct . . . handicap parking, handicap seating. The term handicap comes from the fact that way back when, I mean before power chairs or accessible anything, disabled people really had no other option in life but to beg, asking for money on the street with their ‘cap in hand.’ Hence the term: handicap. People don’t realize that their P.C. term is rooted in something pretty insulting.
— Pg. 209

BROOKE: According to truTV's Adam Ruins Everything, the term Jaywalking also has some warped roots. It's fascinating how many terms we spew without realizing their origin. Thank you for the interesting history. So to clarify, with "handicap" being a lame term, ( it turns out "lame" is another discriminatory term against those unable to walk normally, if you're keeping track) is disability the truly preferred term?   

EDDIE: Thanks for sharing that Jaywalking clip! Super interesting. Again, I don't think there is a right or wrong. And when Jimmy told me that story, I didn't even take it as he was telling me not to say "handicap." I sure hope not, at least, because I still say it haha! The way I took it is that people can spend all this time worrying about what is offensive and not offensive, but at the end of the day, you can still get it wrong. Something that I think resonates throughout the book, though, has to do with intentions. And I think intentions of terms being used is always a lot more important than the actual terms.    

I tell this to Jimmy often, and I tell him that I wish people could realize he is just like everyone else. This is not a wish for him; not a hope for him to be treated the way others are—this is a hope for others to be treated the way Jimmy is. 
— Pg. 260

BROOKE: What does it mean to be treated the way Jimmy is? 

EDDIE: It's an incredible thing - to see the-out-of-your-way-kindness, the patience, the understanding, anything from helping Jimmy at the post office, or not getting upset at him when he runs over your foot, or whatever...I just think it's so interesting that with Jimmy, [for the most part] people default to their kindest self.

No one ever knows how ignorant they truly are, because after all, that’s what ignorance is.
— Pg. 225
[P]art of the greatness of free speech that I think a lot of people forget is that it allows others to form an opinion, too. 
— Pg. 206

BROOKE: This couldn't be truer. Well said, Ed. On that point, there was one of many topics that I was ignorant about before looking closer too. Major League Baseball came out in February 2019 with a semantics change and my instant reply was, "that's stupid". Effective immediately, the MLB is changing their term from "Disabled List" to "Injured List". While Jerry Seinfeld and I can't stand the wave of political correctness sweeping the airwaves these days, I've gotta take a pause for a second on this one.

When describing their players that can't participate, the NBA, NHL, and NFL already have different terms excluding the term "disabled". Maybe it was just a matter of time before America's Pastime tweaked a less nostalgic tradition. It is pretty painless after all to shift my mouth from saying "the DL" to the "IL".    

So from the disability advocacy side, is it a little victory, an "inch by inch life's a cinch" scenario when something like what happened with the MLB verbiage upgrade occurs?

EDDIE: What! I had no idea about the change. And I'll have you know I am with you and Jerry as well! To be honest, it's been an interesting journey for me, as I think people automatically assume I am this gung-ho, PC sort of advocate. I don't think it’s bad to be conscious of terms you use, but I also don't know how helpful it is either. I guess time will tell. At the end of the day, I guess what concerns me is does it make whoever it is more of a human being? Or does it make them more of a special group that is different than a regular human being? Sometimes I fear political correctness ostracizes the people it is trying to help, more than it protects them. 

Without the possibility of change, there is no hope. 
— Pg. 233

BROOKE: What specific change would you like to see? Is it an overall attitude adjustment from the general masses? 
EDDIE: As mentioned, I wish people would choose to treat everyone the way they treat Jimmy. With a sort of kindness and patience that is not typical in most interactions. 

Shoes are meant to bend, you idiot!”

”Not my shoes. 
— Pg. 89

BROOKE: Your back and forth with Jimmy about clothing is expensively fantastic. While reading your book, can I tell you what one other song blared around in my electric light orchestra brain besides Laura Branigan's '82 smash, Gloria?

While reading about JImmy's style decisions I happily replayed Jidenna's Long Live the Chief in my head. In it, Jidenna delivers the following memorable philosophy about why he dresses as well as he does. 

"Now they say "Jidenna why you dressing so classic?

I don't want my best dressed day in a casket"  

In Jidenna and Jimmy, I see two men who understand the power of perception and tap into their ability to control their own brand. Not far off from the rap lyrics, Jimmy punches a powerful point when he defends himself against your tyrannical impatience for his long-winded style choices.  

[Jimmy] explained to me that he has always been very deliberate and intentional in his appearance because he wanted to be the one to decide the way he is perceived. Jimmy wanted to look good because the moment [a] person got past his chair he wanted to meet them with the button-down Polo, fresh haircut, Burberry scarf, 7 for All Mankind jeans, and one of the gems from his vast shoe collection. That reason was well and good...but it still didn’t make the dressing process easier for either of us. 
— Pg. 87

BROOKE: Both of these men value and comprehend something that passed right on by your and my lack of concern with clothing. In the words of Jimmy, 

Act like a boss, get treated like a boss,[.]
— Pg. 106

So from one dapper gentleman to another, in regards to Jimmy creating his own business, Jidenna would likely congratulate him from the same song with, "well done's better than well said." Well done, Jimmy. Well done. 

EDDIE: I absolutely love the song references!!!! Long Live the Chief is one of my favorites. I can't wait to tell Jimmy.  


The only thing more impressive than Jimmy's bladder is his takeaway from life: 

[W]hat bothers me most about ‘disability’ is that it bothers other people.
— Pg. 209
This doesn’t say ‘please accept me because I am different,’” he said as he reflected on the day’s success over drinks. “Not that there is anything wrong with that message. It’s just not my message. This says ‘I accept me,’ you know? Yeah, I have limitations, but so what. Don’t we all?
— Pg. 214

As a fitting signoff, just as Jimmy promised to the unbeknownst prostitute on pg. 56...

..."To the moon!" 

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**For anyone thirsty for a “cleaner” version of Eddie’s book, grab Perception is Everything - True Stories of Hanging Out With "That Guy in a Wheelchair"—it’s the same book, just edited and adapted for a middle school audience.  

**All excerpts were forcefully stolen, well alright, taken with permission from I Hate You Jimmy: A Memoir by Eddie Doyle Copyright © 2018 by Eddie Doyle.