The Shape of Things to Cam

My friend Cam Juárez is running for TUSD Governing Board. I guess I could go into a rant about what’s wrong with TUSD these days (and you can find something more substantive about Cam’s platform at his website), but I just want to tell you two stories about Cam.

Cam has a disability. He was born with arms that are shorter than most and his hands don’t work the way the rest of ours do. I tell you this not so you feel sorry for him, but it’s important for the story.

Anyway, the two of us were working at an event and when it was time to break the thing down, I had the job of getting the boxes with t-shirts and left over cositas into a truck outside. I loaded up some on a dolly, and Cam came over.

“Need any help, man?”

“Naw,” Cam gets along fine, but I still would have felt like a jackass making him move boxes around.

He sees the dolly and says, “No, I’ll get this.” Next thing I know, he’s racing to the outside door with four full boxes. I look around and only see one box, and it’s empty.

So, here I was with an empty box, following the “disabled” guy who was pushing a full load.

People gave me grief for weeks about that one. “This guy made Cam carry all his boxes, can you believe that?”

I told Cam about it later. He just laughed. “Yeah, I knew that would happen. Funny, eh?”

Sometimes other people seem to have more trouble with his disability than he does.

Many of you know that for years I worked at a GED program. Cam would make trips down to talk to the students. I never had the chance to watch one of Cam’s presentations, but I talked to students afterward. The crew of kids we got in the program tended to the cynical side, but what he said touched them. He talked about growing up as the child of farmworkers and what he made of himself with the help of the community. It made a difference to them.

Interestingly, it wasn’t Cam’s job to do this. He took time off work to come down. It was that important for him to do it.

These weren’t kids that were easy to get along with and easy for many of us to forget, but the fact that he took the time to talk to them tells you a lot about why Cam is running.

3 thoughts on “The Shape of Things to Cam

  1. Great piece, Ted, and on the money with my experiences with Cam. You sure you want to give all this up just to work for city government? Just asking.

  2. Thanks Ted, means a lot that you would share these stories. You and David were kind to tell folks about me in a respectful way. I have never thought of myself as “special” or “exceptional”… thos kids at Las Artes are. But frankly, blog posts like yours and David’s make me feel “pretty extraordinary”… wish one of you guys wrote for The Tucson Weekly. Thanks and good luck with the new gig at the COT.

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