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The Netflix retro sci-fi hit "Stranger Things" brought a lot of wonderful things into our lives — including the phrase "cleidocranial dysplasia."

When I watched the show, I just assumed that Dustin's oft-repeated comeback about his "cleidocranial dysplasia" was a just fancy scientific way of saying "late tooth development" or something.

All GIFs from "Stranger Things."


But turns out, it's actually an incredibly rare congenital disorder that affects one in a million people. Symptoms can include underdeveloped bones and joints, absent collarbones, shortened limbs, skull deformities, and, yes, dental abnormalities like adult teeth that fail to come in when they're supposed to.

Which is really all just a fancy scientific way of saying that Dustin is awesome.

That might seem like a deep-cut from a totally random medical text. But there's a good reason it was mentioned in the show.

Gaten Matarazzo, who played Dustin on the show, has cleidocranial dysplasia in real life.

While his is a more mild case — he really is missing some teeth, which makes him speak with a lisp, and he's missing his collar bones, which means he can do some crazy things with his shoulders — that doesn't mean that his life has been easy.

The 14-year-old has had to endure several surgeries, and it's also made it harder for him to find work as an actor.

"It was always because of my lisp, and me being shorter and having the teeth issue, that was always the reason they couldn’t cast me,” he explained in an interview with BBC Radio.

"They couldn’t write in a disability into the show because they had already written the script."

That made it all-the-more powerful when the Duffer Brothers, who created "Stranger Things," not only cast Matarazzo in the show, but also embraced his condition and made it a part of the character. (Of course, that wasn't the only part of his character that the writers embraced...)

Matarazzo is using his newfound fame to raise awareness about this rare condition too.

He's opened up to People magazine and the BBC, spreading knowledge about the condition far and wide.

"I just want to raise awareness for it and let people know that it's not something they should be afraid of showing," he told the British talk show host Jonathan Ross.

That sudden limelight has also had a tangible impact on people like Matarazzo. "It really helps them come out of their shells a little bit. Because a lot of people have it much worse than I do and it affects them much worse than it does me," he told the Daily Beast. "Because this was in the show and this is the first time they’ve heard of it outside the doctor’s office, it made them feel really good and it inspired them."

Despite the setbacks that he's faced in the past, Matarazzo's success today is a moving reminder that representation for folks with disabilities is important.

In addition to "Stranger Things," he's even appeared on Broadway several times, and let me tell you: This 14-year-old kid with missing teeth, and a lisp, can belt out show tunes like there's no tomorrow.

There was a time not too long ago when all this would have been impossible. But thanks to people like Gaten Matarazzo, representation is making the world brighter — and fairer — every day.

via Pexels

Three people engaged in conversation at a party.

There are some people who live under the illusion that everything they say is deeply interesting and have no problem wasting your time by rambling on and on without a sign of stopping. They’re the relative, neighbor or co-worker who can’t take a hint that the conversation is over.

Of all these people, the co-worker who can’t stop talking may be the most challenging because you see them every day in a professional setting that requires politeness.

There are many reasons that some people talk excessively. Therapist F. Diane Barth writes in Psychology Today that some people talk excessively because they don’t have the ability to process complex auditory signals, so they ramble on without recognizing the subtle cues others are sending.

It may also be a case of someone who thinks they’re the most interesting person in the conversation.

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10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019, and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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One of these things is not like the other.

Sometimes, life can unexpectedly snatch you away from safety and thrust you into imminent danger. Other times, life can just as quickly turn a dire circumstance into a heartwarming miracle.

Such was the case for a baby hawk who went from being dinner to being adopted by a family of bald eagles near the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia, Canada. The amazing moment was captured by a 24-hour livestream webcam run by GROWLS, a nonprofit organization that helps rescue and rehabilitate injured wildlife.

The video shows the seemingly doomed baby hawk being tossed into an eaglet’s nest. Pam McCartney, a GROWLS volunteer who had been watching the livestream at the time, braced herself.

"Usually when I watch, like, David Attenborough and his shows, I can close my eyes or fast forward or whatever, but this was live at the time, and I was just like, oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh," she told CBC.

Much to her surprise, nature seemed to have something else in mind.

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