I Might Not Have Two Hands But I Am Fully Armed – OHS015

This podcast was inspired by a common phrase I have experienced over the course of this one-handed life. I heard two different people make reference to me in this manner in the past couple of weeks. It is something I have often thought about and at times have asked why people refer to me that way. I have heard it enough to recognize a pattern. People refer to me as the “one armed guy.” What I find both interesting and somewhat funny is that I have two arms! I just do not have two hands. There is a huge difference. 

The last time this occurred I almost made the correction. I was about to say, “I actually have two arms.” However, in that moment with that person it did not seem to be the most beneficial thing to do. For about a month after that interaction I contemplated deeply why I did not say anything. I realized there was no true need to say anything about it then. I understood it was just their perception with not much behind it. By this I mean there was no negative overtone or malicious intent in his or her words. Maybe they did not really think there was a big difference between an arm without a hand or not having an arm. Or maybe they indirectly believed not having a hand means not having a productive arm.

It may even be possible they did not consider their words and that it is simply what they said. I felt that conversation would be better engaged at a different time. This person has mentioned many times how impressed they are by how many things I can do with “one arm.” No need to pop their bubble in that moment. However, It was the cause of deep personal contemplation. I did take almost a month to think why some people think I only have one arm. In the end I could not truly find an answer within myself. In the past when I have corrected people most were responsive and thankful. They had mentioned they did not even consider their words. Yet this last time I found myself in true deep thought of why this occurs.

In the end I found myself mostly thinking about my own thoughts and perceptions about my view and myself. I was not aware of when I stopped thinking about other people. I started thinking mostly about how I think about the idea of disabilities in relation to myself. Often I have talked to people about the “power of an elbow.” I even have a podcast (Episode OHS016) talking about the topic. What I have come to understand is where my arm ends makes a world of difference to me. How much arm I have extending past my elbow changes so many things. If I was really only missing my hand I might not need to get my sleeves and coats custom cut to fit my body. If I did not have an elbow on my handless arm so much of my experience would be different. Above and below knee and arm deficiencies or amputations are very different things. Even not having an arm at all is very different from having an above elbow limb deficiency. Any arm at all verses no arm at all verses above or below elbow make a world of difference to me.

After much contemplation and conversations I have realized people underestimate the power of an arm with no hand. I can do so many things with my left arm, elbow, and what arm I have below my elbow. Many times people have mentioned how impressed they are by all I am capable of doing with one hand. On more rare occasions people have commented on how much I can do and how well I use my arm with no hand. My left arm is very powerful and it severs me greatly regardless of not having a left hand. I do not experience many people telling me how capable I am with “two arms and one hand.” However, this is my true experience.

One of my favorite sayings is “I might not have two hands but I am fully armed!” I even had this on a t-shirt and wore it at the Oregon Country Fair and other festivals in the past. I would get such fantastic responses to that shirt. It must be something about that phrase worn on a t-shirt by a one-handed guy. This is a bit on interesting insight to my one-handed like… I actually have two arms! In this podcast I share with you some of my experiences and perspectives in response to people saying I only have one arm.

Show Notes:

  • Understanding other’s perspective of me and other disabilities.
  • People say I only have one arm in the funniest of places.
  • Do I look like I have one arm?


  • The Coffee Studio – My standard stop for local coffee, great service and conversation.
  • Fully Armed – Meet Ron Gustafson. Professional speaker and all around great guy. Turn a set-back into a come back!
  • Oregon Country Fair – A great festival for people of all types.

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Play your hand,

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