Seeking Independence

TAMPA — If this were a story airing on Ira Glass’ quirky public radio and cable series This American Life, it might begin like this: “Michael Phillips may be the most unlikely rebel you’ll ever meet. Not for his taste in science fiction TV — Christopher Eccleston’s version of Dr. Who remains his favorite — or for the music he loves, which includes Seattle indie rockers Death Cab for Cutie. Not even for the purple nail polish that sets off his thumb — the only body part besides his face that he can control .

“It’s that Mike, a 27-year-old with a muscle disease that has eliminated his ability to move his limbs, wants a bit of independence from the mother who has cared for him his entire life.

“And neither of them has quite figured out how this is going to work.”

But this is not one of Glass’ precocious, insightful, slightly off-kilter stories. It’s a story about what can happen when a storyteller with a keen eye steps into the world of someone who needs to re-examine his life, and doesn’t even know it yet.

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