Tell A Tale in 500 Words

The Dirty End of the Stick By Peter Astle

The Dirty End of the Stick.

By Peter Astle

We are identical twins, but we are nothing alike.

I like a Friday night kebab and Carl refuses to eat meat. I like happy house and Carl likes classical music. I like women and Carl likes men

It is a miracle we survived in the same womb together.

I hate the wheelchair.

You can dress up the slanted wheels with funky wheel covers, but in the end a wheelchair is still a wheelchair. People look at you in a different way when you're moving along in the street sitting down.

Sometimes people look away, which is even worse.

Cerebral palsy is not uncommon in twins. In fact there is a higher risk with multiple births. Twins have four times the chance of CP than single births and for triplets and quadruplets the risk is even higher. The stats are small, but significant. Often one sibling is affected and another comes through just fine.

It just so happened that I got the dirty end of the stick.

I love my brother, but I also envy him. His ability.

Two years ago Carl was a key player in the Fitness First initiative run by Derbyshire County Council, encouraging young people to be more active. Carl helped organise a half-marathon event that raised over two thousand pounds for young adults with cerebral palsy, while I just sat there in my chair.

Carl raised over two thousand pounds for the charity. He got a full page spread in the Derby Telegraph and a segment on the local regional news, which I watched at home in my chair.

In the short interview he mentioned me because I was his identical twin. Identical apart from the wheelchair. He said I had been his inspiration and that I had helped a lot.

He lied. I did nothing to help with the campaign.

Carl has a supportive partner named Kevin. I have no one in my life. Over the last couple of years they have tried to set me up on blind dates, but each time I've chickened out at the last minute.

We are both thirty years of age and sometimes speak on Facebook. Carl has over four hundred 'friends', whereas I have just twelve, most of whom I haven't spoken to for months.

Carl works for Scope, a charity for people with disabilities; he works at Derby College on Wednesdays and Thursdays helping teenagers with CP to accomplish their dreams.

I am on benefits because of my condition. I have low self esteem and suffer with depression and guilt. Carl is a powerhouse, whereas I am just powerless.

Carl makes things happen, whereas I just sit there in my chair.

My chair does not have slanting wheels with funky wheel covers like Carl's does.

My chair is an armchair, not a wheelchair.

Yes, I got the dirty end of the stick.

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