Spastic

Howard Sattler

Twins separated at birth by a random twist of fate. From the day they were born Paul and Sam Naomis were to lead very different lives. There's a lot of memories in this album from when you were young. How is it that you grew up healthy and Paul's got cerebral palsy?

Sam says "Paul was born with a forceps delivery which damaged and left a lump on his head and caused the ailment that he has." Sam Naomis has lived a normal life while his twin, despite being unable to walk or talk, has led an extraordinary life. "Sam what Paul has got up to is amazing from white-water rafting to being towed behind ski boats to aeroplane rides and beach-buggying. He just got up to everything." Paul and Sam are both 63 years old. For 15 years, Paul's been documenting his life in a book published this week, a book which comforts and confronts, as much as it provokes and entertains. "The book tells us a lot about female conquests, plenty of them, do you feel a bit jealous?, very much so. He had a better time than I did!" Sam, tell us about his trip to Indonesia to see a witch doctor. "Paul visited Bali with a lady friend of his. She was determined in taking him up into the high hills of Bali to see a witch doctor for a cure for his ailment..There were some magic mushrooms I believe were consumed as part of the ceremony and he was on a bit of a high for a few days, sorry it didn't work but you had an enjoyable time anyway!"

Ladies, global travel, adrenalin sports and university degrees - Paul's done more than most able-bodied people. "At the age of six I had decided that if I couldn't walk and if I couldn't really talk, I would rely on what I did have to make my life worthwhile.The morning of my 12th birthday was unforgettable. At the time I was in awe, but I really didn't realise how much of an influence on my life my parents' gift would be - a brand new IBM electric ball-type typewriter. Now my world could be captured, read, digested and understood - it was like a rebirth, an exhilarating extension of me."

Paul enjoyed more freedom when he got a chin-controlled wheelchair in his mid 30s. "It wasn't long before I was catching a multi-purpose taxi to the city on Saturday nights to be part of the action. I'd cruise around and sometimes people would throw coins on my wheelchair tray top. Some nights I had enough to wheel myself down to the corner bottle shop to buy a bottle of top notch scotch and head home for the evening"

Sam says "I think initially it would take him probably, Paul?, around about two days to write an A4 page, something like that, even less in the early days. So it's quite a tiresome and a long task." The book, called Spastic, has been a labour of love, which editor Jodie Hoggarth helped to get into print. "Jodie, Spastic's a pretty confronting name for the book. how did you come up with that? I think it was more so after reading the book and getting to know Paul and his character and seeing what he went through as a young child and the names that he was called." Paul, do you feel like you're the unlucky one? No"Jodie says "what Paul has taught me is that while he's spent all his life in a wheelchair, he's basically like driving a Ferrari really."

Current stockists of Paul's book Spastic.

Bookcaffe. 137 Claremont Cres Swanbourne. 9385 0533

Mill Point Caffe Bookshop, Mill Point Rd, South Perth . 9367 4567

Oxford Books, 131 Oxford St , Leederville. 9443 9844

The Inspiration Factory, 436 Hay St , Subiaco. 9381 4612

State Library Bookshop, Alexander State Library, Northbridge 9427 3211

The Lane Bookshop, Old Theatre Lane , Claremont 9384 4423

The Well Bookstore, 37 Ardross St , Applecross. 9316 9822

Plus it will be available for sale on Paul's website

http://www.easyaccess.net.au/