When I first introduced Ronald to the comic, I was sure of one thing – you would always see him sitting in his “chair,” which in reality was the XT-5 space mobility unit formerly assigned to his brother. Mikey gave Ronald the the XT-5, his old uniform and his former robot partner (later renamed Mr. Wobbly Droid) after they were decommissioned and Mikey graduated to his new Futuron uniform, service droid and Aero-Module craft. Mikey never expected that Ronald would take to wearing the uniform full-time, instead of just keeping it as a memento, like he was an actual, card-carrying member of the Space Agency. Mikey also didn’t expect that Ronald would come to rely on Mr. Wobbly Droid as a robot butler/hamburger stand co-worker.
One thing I wasn’t sure about when I introduced Ronald was the REASON he was always in the chair. But I had two possible scenarios in mind. I’ve never confirmed it either way. On one hand, I thought it would be funny if he was so lazy that you just never saw him get up and walk around. On the other hand, it kind of felt right to actually have him be a disabled character.
I’m not a fan of writing that sugarcoats and panders to the audience. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to accept that, yes, Ronald got dealt a bad hand in life that has thrown some roadblocks in his way and perhaps resulted in him getting babied a bit. But his immaturity, selfishness and bad habits are all him! Ronald is determined to stretch his comfort level and lack of responsibility as far as it can go. He’s a human being with comically rich flaws, and whether he can walk or not is generally not important to the story.
I’m reminded of a girl I knew in high school and college. She had a health condition that resulted in atrophied growth and an inability to walk. She got around in a motorized wheelchair and had a customized van that was automated to lift in her chair and was set up so she could drive. I originally made the mistake, as I think is common to do, to view her through her disability first. I initially felt uncomfortable talking to her because, I think, I was focused on her problems and figured she must be, too. But thankfully, as time went on, I actually got to know her a bit. And I realized that her disability was just a reality she dealt with and went on living. I also learned that the image I had of her as kind of a child – even in college, because she was very small – was completely misjudged. In fact, she would regale me with stories about her sexual conquests! She was more experienced than I was! She had a totally dirty mind and an irreverent sense of humor, and I remember thinking, “Wow, this is like the coolest girl I’ve ever met.”
So I guess you can take this as confirmation that I went with Option #2 for Ronald. I just don’t want you to view him any differently.