Elijah Clark of Hiddenite, N.C., isn’t your average Vine comedian—he’s also a wickedly talented soccer player. The fact that he was born without arms is just circumstantial flavor.
Clark was born with only one forearm bone and two fingers. “Life growing up compared to now was pretty hard considering I was thinking of ways of how to adapt to everyday life,” he told the Daily Dot. “But as I got older, things got easier and times got better. Vine has helped me cope. I can tell people that anything is possible and never be afraid to be yourself no matter what you look like or what people say.”
The teenager is also a cancer survivor. In 2012, during an evaluation for a concussion he received while playing soccer, doctors detected that Clark had cancer in his abdomen and spine. In June of that year he was diagnosed with stage-four Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“I was pretty upset, but it is what it is,” Clark said, choosing to not harp on the matter. After treatment, he is now cancer-free. “Now I’m happy, my hair’s grown back. Getting the ladies, you know how it goes.”
The 16-year-old has been gaining Internet popularity thanks to his relatable Vine videos about topics like proper oral hygiene.
And the trials of being in high school.
“A lot of my high school follows me on Vine,” Clark said. “I even have teachers come up and say they see my vines on Facebook and stuff that other teachers have shown them.”
Clark’s been an avid Vine user since April. He originally made the page to showcase his soccer skills, but after asking his followers if he should venture into comedy, he’s tried to post a mix of comedy, soccer, and “no hands” jokes for broader appeal.
A lot of his videos poke fun at his physical differences.
He also has YouTube page dedicated to his love of video games.
He doesn’t remember how he figured out the best way for him to hold a controller and to play video games as well as he does, but says he’s been doing so since the first PlayStation.
For now, he focuses on Vine because of its accessibility. He hopes Vine will help him grow on other social media, but he plans to do start creating more YouTube content when his following grows larger.
Did I mention he’s sick at soccer, a sport he’s been playing for 12 years?
He’s, like, really good at soccer.
It’d be tough for him to choose between a soccer career and Vine stardom because he loves doing both. If he had to, he says, he’d choose soccer, “because I know there are kids around the world that would love to do what I do but cannot because of mental and or physical disabilities. I have a disability, yes, but I don’t think of it as a disability because I can do almost everything people do with hands.”
It’s not always easy for Clark to maintain such a positive outlook on the world. One of the constant truths of the Internet is that trolls will be trolls. “I get a bunch of hate mail,” he admitted, “such as people telling me to kill myself because I don’t have arms. I get called ‘T-rex’ a lot and a lot of other things, but sometimes I’d start to reply, then think to myself, ‘You’re doing things right and inspiring millions of people.’”
Clark told us he hasn’t met any Vine celebrities, other than his friend Jake Foushee. He hopes to do some touring this summer to meet fans.
Despite his popularity at school and a Vine account that boasts nearly 190,000 followers, Clark has remained humble about his Internet celebrity. “I wouldn’t consider myself Vine-famous or even famous in general, just a lot of people know my name. I’ll think of myself as Vine famous when I have 1 million followers.”
Screengrabs via Elijah Clark/Vine | Remix by Jason Reed