Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Governor is a Total Prick When it Comes to Cripples Awareness Day at the Old Ballpark

There’s an organization with a mission of curing that condition which makes me and a whole bunch of other people crippled. They have lots of events intended to raise funds and/or awareness.

Every year several members and supporters attend a major league baseball game. And everybody in the group gets a Cure t-shirt to wear to the game. And seeing so many people wearing those shirts at the old ballpark raises awareness among all the other fans about the terrible physical condition that ails us and the need to cure it. And everybody has fun, too, in theory at least.

I won’t be going. I wish them well, but there are more than just physical things ailing me. I’m more interested in drawing attention to the political things ailing me. And the biggest political thing ailing me right now is that the governor is a total prick when it comes to cripples.

Exactly how that manifests, I’ll spare you the details. The point is, I wonder how the major league baseball team would react if I approached them about holding a The Governor is a Total Prick When it Comes to Cripples Awareness Day. And everybody from our group who attends receives a t-shirt that says The Governor is a Total Prick When it Comes to Cripples. And seeing so many people wearing those shirts at the old ballpark raises awareness among all the other fans about the terrible political condition that ails us and the need to cure it. And each child under 10, as an additional keepsake, receives a piñata of the governor that’s full of shit.

My guess is that the major league baseball team would not be inclined to sanction such an event, even sans the piñatas.

The cure group does a lot of other events throughout the year, like golf outings. Maybe I could follow that up with The Governor is a Total Prick When it Comes to Cripples Day at the country club.

That idea probably won’t be greeted too warmly either. I probably won’t find any corporate sponsors. This all really sucks because it’s just as important to cure cripples of what ails us politically as it is to cure us of what ails us physically. Why doesn’t anybody care about that? Or maybe they all think that the best way to stop the governor from being a total prick when it comes to cripples is to make it so there are no cripples for him to be a total prick to.


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Friday, July 13, 2018

Wheelchairs (and Stuff Like That) Should be Free

So there I was, attending this trade show featuring goods and services for cripples. It’s like the Auto Show for cripples except the only autos on display there are cripple accessible vans. Nothing James Bond would drive.

Also, at the cripple trade show, there aren’t gorgeous models in tight, sequined dresses selling stuff like catheters. All the salespeople wear polo shirts emblazoned with their company logo.


The guys who work for the company that made my wheelchair wore black polo shirts. They had several of their spiffiest, new, never-been-driven motorized wheelchairs on display. I heard the head sales guy say to another, “Hey, what happened to the guy that took off with that wheelchair?” It seemed that a few minutes earlier, while all the sales guys were busy schmoozing customers, some guy who wasn’t even in a wheelchair in the first place hopped into one of the display chairs and took it for a test drive.

“I don’t know,” said another sales guy. “Last time I saw, he went that way.”

So the sales force fanned out in different directions looking for the guy who made off with the chair. I was excited because I appeared to be witnessing a brilliant heist! I imagined the guy nonchalantly slipping into the wheelchair and disappearing into a crowd of about 200 other people in wheelchairs. And then he exits the convention hall just as casually and rolls right into the waiting, getaway accessible cripple van.

I was rooting for him to pull it off because I think wheelchairs and stuff like that (catheters, hearing aids, etc.) should be free. I guess that makes me a socialist. Cool if it does. I is what I is.

But shit like that is expensive as hell and it’s not like cripples are buying it because we’re bored and we don’t know what else to do with all of our disposable income. It’s not like we're buying a pet giraffe. We can’t live without it.

So any time a cripple can figure out a way to get what they need without relinquishing a limb or reproductive organ to pay for it, I’m all in on that. I swear to God I once saw a crippled woman rolling down the sidewalk in a clunky scooter and it sure looked like one of those scooters they have for customers to use at big box stores. I fantasized about her driving out of the store and never looking back, triumphantly saying to herself, “Fuck you, Medicaid!”

I hoped the cart she swiped was from Walmart. It’s the same way I feel about bank robbing. If it’s a big fat fucking corporate bank like Chase, then I’m inclined to cheer for the bank robbers. The only thing that sucks about it is that poor, innocent mopes who work as tellers and security guards get traumatized in the process. But they say that soon all those jobs will be done by robots so when that day comes I’ll for sure be with the bank robbers Who gives a shit how many robots get shot?

The sales guys returned looking forlorn. No sign of the wheelchair thief. The head sales guy said to inform security. APB: Be on the lookout for someone in a wheelchair! Taser all cripples! If anyone jumps out of their wheelchair and runs, tackle him!

But then the sales guys all exhaled in relief as the thief returned. He apologized. He said he just thought it might be fun to try out a motorized wheelchair. He didn’t mean to scare anyone.

I was so disappointed.



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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Frequent Flyer Cripples


One time before I boarded a plane to fly to Washington D.C., I ate a burrito at the airport food court. And then, as I sat buckled in my seat waiting for takeoff, I said to myself, “Why the hell did you do that?” I’ve never taken a shit one a commercial airliner, but I’m told it’s quite the cramped experience. I’m told that if you’re more than six feet tall and you sit down on the bowl, your knees press against the back of the door. So I wonder what big-time basketball stars do when they’re not flying on private jets with custom–designed bathrooms. Do they shit with the door open? Does everybody in first class see a pair of long, hairy, bare legs protruding from the bathroom, with pants down around the ankles?

I’m in the same boat with those guys. I’ve never been in an airliner bathroom because, first of all, when I fly they take my wheelchair away and toss it in with the luggage down below. So when I fly I have a two-step preparation ritual. I dehydrate myself and pray.

When I ate that burrito, it suddenly occurred to me what might happen if that burrito started barking within me. There might well be a headline that read, “Flight Forced to Make Emergency Landing in Cleveland Because Dumbass Cripple Ate a Burrito.”

Fortunately, I summoned up all my powers of Zen mind and bowel control and we landed in D. C. without incident. But I don’t fly that much. Maybe once or twice a year. And I wondered how the hell cripples who are frequent flyers manage.

So I talked to this paraplegic guy who says he flies somewhere pretty much every week. He catheterizes himself every three hours. So he always tries his damndest to get a window seat because in the crammed coach section of a commercial flight, that’s the closest thing you can get to a private space. And when the three-hour mark rolls around, he discreetly pulls out a blanket, puts it over his head like a kid reading a porn magazine in bed with a flashlight, and he catheterizes himself. Almost every time, he says, there’s someone sitting in the seat right next to him while he does it.

I don’t think I’ll ever become a frequent flyer unless I’m rich enough to always fly premium first class, which means I have the first class section all to myself. Even then, I won't eat a burrito.


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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Parable of the Man with a Broken Arm

There once was a man who broke his arm.

What did he do about it? Well the first action step that crossed his mind was maybe he ought to go to the doctor and get it fixed. But he soon thought better of that because getting his arm fixed would most likely require that he wear a cast. And with casts come stigma. When you wear a cast, that’s the first thing everybody sees. They can’t look past the cast and see the person wearing it. Casts make people who don’t have broken arms feel uncomfortable. Casts remind them that their arms are breakable, too. Casts are a symbol of weakness and vulnerability. Casts send the message that we are broken, we are lesser than we once were. Case in point: Two men apply for a job. The men are identically qualified. But one man has a cast on his arm and the other doesn’t. Which man do you think will get the job? The one without the cast, of course.

The man with a broken arm knew the devastating power of stigma, so he thought it prudent to avoid all contact with stigma at all cost. So he decided the best course of action was to pretend as if he didn’t have a broken arm. In other words, he vowed to overcome his broken arm. He would rise above it!

And so he carried on with business as usual. Of course, it soon became obvious to everyone around him that he had a broken arm. But the courageous way he dealt with it made him an object of admiration among those who don’t have broken arms. He may have had a protruding bone, but did he ever complain about it? Not one iota! He never once asked for special treatment or a free pass. He didn’t go around playing the broken arm card. He didn’t shove his broken arm in everyone’s face. He was the kind of man who didn’t let having a broken arm define him. His broken arm didn’t seem to matter to him. So why should it matter to anyone else?
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So the man with a broken arm pressed on. Nothing could temper his spirit and determination. Not even gangrene. But, sadly, the man with a broken arm eventually died. The cause of death was complications from a broken arm. But at least he died with dignity.



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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Iron Man

Greg and I pulled up to the drive-thru ordering board at White Castle. We placed our order. We drove up to the window and paid. The young woman took the money, gave him change, handed him the white paper bag and said, “I gave you both the senior discount.”

At first I was offended by her presumptuousness. How dare she accuse me of being a senior, even though I am! Shouldn’t she at least card me first? But I soon realized what a silly attitude that was. Why should being called a senior make me feel insulted? And what terrible offense did this young woman commit? She gave me something for a little less money.

And the more I thought about it, the more I felt blessed to be at White Castle receiving the senior discount. I thought about all the doctors who examined me as a kid. I don’t think any one of them would have bet a dime that I’d live past age 30. And here I am today not only an old crippled man but an old crippled man who is still healthy and hearty enough to be able to eat White Castle food without getting the shits or anything!


That’s a feat worthy of Guinness World Records consideration, don’t you think? I know strong young people in the prime of life who can’t endure the rigors of digesting White Castle. Call me Iron Man!

I have a birthday coming up soon and I think I’ll celebrate by having lunch at White Castle. And I’ll invite the media. I’ll put out a press release: Crippled senior demonstrates his amazing vitality by eating lunch at White Castle without feeling any of the infamous consequences, except the inevitable buyer’s remorse. It’ll be one of those inspiring public interest stories, like when a 90-year-old man runs a marathon.

The reporter sticks a microphone in my face after asking me the obligatory question: What is the secret of my longevity and resiliency? I have a one-word answer: “Orneriness!’’ I was fortunate to inherit my mother’s ornery gene.


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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Billy and His Pinkie Toe


Nursing home abuse and neglect? Call us!

That interstate billboard made me wonder whatever happened to Billy and his pinkie toe. Billy was a quadriplegic in a nursing home. The skin on his pinkie toe was so badly broken down that the toe had to be amputated. I hooked him up with a law office like the one on the billboard. It wasn’t hard to find one. There are lots of law offices like these advertising on interstate billboards and on commercials during reruns of television shows like Rawhide.

In a way, Billy was fortunate. If you’re a quad looking to sue your way out of a nursing home, an infected pinkie toe is probably the best way to go about it. Quads don’t have much use for their pinkie toes. So I bet if you asked a quad which body part they’d sacrifice to be able to sue a nursing home, that’s the one most would choose. But it also cuts the other way. The nursing home’s lawyers can say, “Oh big deal. He’s a quad! If nobody told him his pinkie toe was missing, he wouldn’t even know it was gone. His pain and suffering is zero and that’s exactly what his compensation should be.”

The nursing home’s lawyers were playing that game with Billy’s lawyers so I don’t know how much money Biily ultimately received. But his infected toe wasn’t the worst of it. He was abused and neglected in far greater ways. Every time I saw him, he was in bed, alone in a dim room with a window that had a scenic view of a brick wall. And the nursing home took all his Social Security money, leaving him 30 a month. How abusive is that? And even if anybody ever did bother to get him out of bed and into his wheelchair, if he wanted to go anywhere outside of the nursing home he would’ve needed a doctor’s permission to do so, even though he was a grown fucking man! And don’t get me started about the food!

But if I’d tried to hook Billy up with a lawyer to sue the nursing home for that kind of abuse and neglect, it wouldn’t have been so easy. You can't sell a jury on that stuff. I’ve never heard a lawyer on one of those Rawhide rerun commercials say, “Are you in a nursing home? Do they leave you in bed all day? Do you need a doctor’s permission to go outside of the nursing home even though you’re a grown fucking man? And don’t get me started about the food! If you’ve suffered from this kind of abuse and neglect, call us!"

I’m sure the abuse and neglect referred to on the interstate billboard was of the pinkie toe variety. I don’t think Billy ever collected a cent for his real pain and suffering.


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Monday, June 4, 2018

On Cripple Do-it-Yourself Gadgets and Service Animals


I don’t have much interest in elaborate cripple do-it-yourself gadgets and service animals. I’ve always felt like they we’re more trouble than they’re worth.

For every obstacle there is out there in the world, somebody will try to invent a gadget to empower a cripple to overcome that obstacle alone. For instance, when I was a criplet, I remember occupational therapy sessions were they had me fiddling with various gadgets designed to empower me to put on my own socks. There were rods with various hooks and clamps on the end. There were specially designed socks with elastic extension loops on them.

But then I’d go home and have my mother put my socks on me, just like always. I felt the same way about going to occupational therapy as I did about going to church. It didn’t have much relevance but I did it anyway because some adults told me to.

Most cripple do-it-yourself gadgets aren’t very versatile. They tend to serve one purpose only so in order to take on every obstacle I encounter I’d have to lug around hundreds of gadgets. And who wants to do that? Besides that, theses gadgets usually cost a zillion buck a piece. So fuck it. My philosophy has always been if I can’t do something myself, I’ll get someone to do it for me.

That’s why I never seriously entertained the idea of getting a service dog. I love the hell out of dogs, but there’s very little a service dog can do for me, except maybe pick stuff up off the ground. I’m not going through all the effort and cost of maintaining a dog just for that. I’ll get a human to do it.

But then one day there I was, caught up in the inevitable situation where my cavalier attitude toward self-sufficiency would come back to bite me in the ass. I was rolling through downtown Chicago when lo and behold, there on the sidewalk in front of me was a ten dollar bill!

What would I do? I couldn’t bend down to pick it up. If I’d taken occupational therapy more seriously, I would probably be equipped with a picker-upper gadget just perfect for this occasion. Or if I had a service dog, I could probably say, “Fetch it, boy! That’s a good boy! Now put it in daddy’s wallet.” And I wasn’t accompanied by another human either, which was probably a good thing. Because then there would’ve been an ethical dilemma. Whose ten dollar bill is it? The spotter or the retriever? I would’ve felt compelled to offer to split it.

And when there’s free money there for the taking, nobody can just move on and leave it for the next guy. Well maybe you can, but I can’t. I don’t have that kind of fortitude.

Ah but never fear. You know me. My middle name is Resourceful. So when the next pedestrian came by, I said, “Excuse me. Can you help me? I dropped my ten dollar bill.”

He picked it up and handed it to me. “Thank you ,” I said. “ Clumsy me.”


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