DEAR ABBY: I am a partially disabled person in my 70s. Because of arthritis in my spine and hip, I'm able to stand for only a few minutes and walk only 20 to 30 feet. When I know I am going to be someplace that requires more walking or standing, I use my wheelchair.
My question is: How do I reply to strangers who ask me, "Why are you in a wheelchair?" One lady said, "Oh, is it your knees?" I feel the questions are rude, and I shouldn't have to explain my medical status to people I don't know. I try to mumble something about not being able to stand for long periods, like waiting in line. But I'd really like to respond with a funnier, more flippant reply if I could think of one. Any suggestions? -- TRAVELING BY WHEELCHAIR
DEAR TRAVELING: Try one of these "flippant" possibilities: "It's nothing I usually discuss in public, but it's contagious!" Or, "I broke my tailbone dancing at the Bolshoi." Or, "Just lazy, I guess."
However, joking about a medical condition isn't funny. So perhaps you should reconsider and just be honest.