Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Drooling Barbies

In 2017, the Mattel Toy Company committed a heinous act of cripple genocide.

Twenty years earlier, the company started making a Barbie doll friend that used a wheelchair. They gave her the cornball name of Share a Smile Becky, but at least it was something.

But then some kids started complaining that Becky’s wheelchair was too wide to fit through the doorways of Barbie’s fucking Dreamhouse. And Becky’s long hair often got tangled in her wheels.

So how did Mattel ultimately respond? They stopped manufacturing Becky. Just like that—poof—she was gone! So long! Adios!

Whatever executive made that decision must’ve derived a certain sadistic pleasure from it because it didn’t have to be that way. Mattel could’ve started making Becky as upright and bipedal as all the other Barbies and pronounced her cured. But no, they had to go and kill her off. They had to make an example out of her. It delivered a harsh message to all the ungrateful spoiled brats about what happens when you complain too much.

Okay I guess it wasn’t technically genocide because Mattel allowed all the Becky dolls already in circulation to continue to exist. They didn’t send their stormtroopers door-to-door ransacking little girls’ bedrooms, confiscating their Becky dolls and hurling them into a bonfire. They were content to let Becky dolls become extinct by attrition.

But now Mattel says that in the fall they will roll out not just one but two new crippled dolls. One is in a wheelchair and one has a removable prosthetic leg. Mattel says it’s their way of reflecting the full spectrum of human diversity.

So I suppose they think that makes up for everything, huh? We’re all just supposed to forgive and forget what they did to our crippled sister Becky.

But I say hell no! Don’t let them off the hook. Now is the time to bitch louder than ever!

If Mattel wants to represent the full spectrum of human diversity, they can’t just plop a doll in a wheelchair or give one half a leg and say they’ve got cripples covered. There’s a full spectrum of human diversity among cripples too.

Mattel ought to be making an extensive line of crippled dolls. What about a blind Barbie? A deaf Barbie? A Barbie with hemophilia?

A dwarf Barbie? A Barbie with a trach in her throat? A Barbie with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who’s constantly washing her hands? An autistic Barbie? How about a Barbie that drools? I know the technology exists to make that doll. When I was a kid there was a doll that cried real tears. All you had to do to make tears was remove the hatch on the back of the baby’s skull and fill the chamber with water. The same principal can be applied here, except you fill the chamber with spit.



(Smart Ass Cripple is completely reader supported. Purchasing Smart Ass Cripple books at lulu.com, subscribing on Amazon Kindle and filling the tip jar keeps us going. Please help if you can.)









ANNOUNCING: Smart Ass Cripple's Little Chartreuse Book. A new Smart Ass Cripple book hot off the presses at lulu.com. It still has that new Smart Ass Cripple book smell. Get yours today! Help keep Smart Ass Cripple going!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A Self-Care Coma


Some people are big advocates for making video games more accessible for cripples. I’m afraid they will succeed.

I know it’s a sour grapes thing. It’s true that it’s hard or impossible to push all those video game buttons and flip all those switches if you don’t have much hand strength or dexterity or if you don’t have hands at all. But so what. That’s good. Video games are a colossal waste of time. You fritter away half your adult life striving to reach the 57th level of Intergalactic Dragon Quest and when you do what have you gotten out of it, besides carpal tunnel?

Or at least that’s what I tell myself. But I think the real reason I’m glad video games are inaccessible is because if they were accessible I’d be tempted to play. And once I get started I might not ever stop. I’ll get addicted fast. I know how damn competitive I am. After emerging from a stupor after a weeklong binge, I’ll hate myself and vow to seek help. Then I’ll go do it again.

I feel the same way about hammocks. Maybe one of my brawnier pit crew members could lift me into a hammock. But those things sink down so low that it would take the Army Corps of Engineers to lift me back out. So I’m glad hammocks are inaccessible because those things look so goddam comfy that if I ever laid in one I might never get up.

I avoid video games for the same reason I passed up many opportunities to take acid in college. I was deathly afraid I’d enjoy it too much. And once I start really enjoying myself, look out! There could be no turning back.

That’s why I never take long vacations. A few days of r&r is all I dare. I‘m also afraid of massages because self-care terrifies me. I have to partake of it in small, precisely measured doses or I could easily slip into a self-care coma and never snap out of it. I could become catatonic. The older I become, the more the risk of that happening increases.

I’m also fortunate that I can’t get myself out of bed in the morning without assistance. One of my pit crew members must physically evict from my bed. If things were otherwise, I don’t think I would ever get myself up. Bed is too damn warm and cozy.

It’s probably also good that I don’t have a lot of money. If nothing else, that would get me out of bed sooner or later. Only rich people can afford to stay in bed every day.



(Smart Ass Cripple is completely reader supported. Purchasing Smart Ass Cripple books at lulu.com, subscribing on Amazon Kindle and filling the tip jar keeps us going. Please help if you can.)









ANNOUNCING: Smart Ass Cripple's Little Chartreuse Book. A new Smart Ass Cripple book hot off the presses at lulu.com. It still has that new Smart Ass Cripple book smell. Get yours today! Help keep Smart Ass Cripple going!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.



Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Millie the Millipede and Her Stages of Grief



Once upon a time there was a millipede named Millie. Millie was probably the happiest little millipede that ever was. She really enjoyed having a thousand legs. And she really made the most of it! Millie entertained all her fellow millipedes with her amazing feats of agility. Millie could play doubles tennis while simultaneously playing a dozen pianos and ukuleles, juggling fifty balls and dancing an entire chorus line. She was well known in millipede circles as the supreme queen of multitasking.

But then one dark day something terrible happened. Millie was injured when a giant foot came down from heaven and nearly squished her. The foot delivered a glancing blow but nevertheless it tore off 26 of Millie’s legs. Millie was devastated. Not only did this terrible freak accident extremely hamper her mobility and agility, it plunged her into a deep identity crisis. Could she still proudly call herself a millipede if she only had 974 legs? Millie felt like a freak.

Some of other millipedes teased her and called her names, like Stumpy. Others took pity on her. They saw her as an innocent victim of a random accident that could easily befall any of them. There but for the grace of God go them. But some of the more maniacally religious millipedes shunned Millie. They didn’t believe in random accidents. God often sent giant feet crashing down from heaven to express his displeasure with millipedes, sometimes in thundering stampedes. Since God doesn’t make mistakes, those squished or maimed by giant feet obviously did something evil to incur his divine wrath.

After losing 26 legs, Millie went through many stages of grief. First, there was depression. Millie drank excessively, sometimes as much as 125 bottles of whisky at once. Then she entered a buoyant stage of denial. She was highly motivated to prove to all the other millipedes and to herself that she was still just like them. She wasn’t going to let having 974 legs define her! So Millie got fitted with 26 tiny prosthetic legs. When Millie re-emerged in millipede society standing tall on her new prosthetics, other millipedes praised her for her bravery.

But deep down inside, Millie still felt discontent. Whenever she came home at night, she immediately shed her prosthetics, like she was shedding a clunky suit of armor. Millie preferred going au naturel like this, as she called it. Millie had learned to zip around effectively and efficiently by lying on a tiny skateboard, which she propelled with her 974 legs. Sure, when she went out in public on her skateboard, other millipedes with their full complement of legs strained their necks staring at her or trying not to stare. But Millie didn’t care. She was much more comfortable and mobile on her skateboard.

So Millie entered the final stage of grief. Sociologists refer to this euphorically liberating state of mind as the fuck you stage. From then on Millie bopped around town on her skateboard and without her prosthetics because that’s how she felt most comfortable and free. And if any other millipedes didn’t like it, Millie flipped them the finger, 974 times.

And Millie lived happily ever after.


(Smart Ass Cripple is completely reader supported. Purchasing Smart Ass Cripple books at lulu.com, subscribing on Amazon Kindle and filling the tip jar keeps us going. Please help if you can.)









ANNOUNCING: Smart Ass Cripple's Little Chartreuse Book. A new Smart Ass Cripple book hot off the presses at lulu.com. It still has that new Smart Ass Cripple book smell. Get yours today! Help keep Smart Ass Cripple going!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Making America Less Annoying


We’ve come to such a point of national crisis that, as citizens of this great country, we all must ask ourselves a serious question. And that question is, “Am I going to run for president of the United States?”

Personally, I’m still undecided. But I do have a bold platform that isn’t afraid to take on issues none of the other politicians are talking about. And I have a great slogan: Make America Less Annoying.

Who could possibly be opposed to that? Only a dirty, stinkin’ communist!

Here’s some of what my platform calls for:

A moratorium on one-name celebrities.
One of the first actions I’ll take to make America less annoying is issue an executive order placing an immediate moratorium on one-name celebrities. Meanwhile, I’ll challenge Congress to pass legislation making the ban permanent. I’ll call it the Anti-Pretentiousness Act. And there won’t even be a grandfather clause exempting existing one- name celebrities, like Cher and Rihanna. They will have 90 days to choose and use a last name or their real last name or else the government will assign them a last name. And it probably will be a last name they don’t like, like Cher Smith or Rihanna Trump. However, I realize that even as the leader of the free world I won’t be able to do anything about annoying one-name celebrities who aren’t Americans, like Sting. The alarming proliferation of one-name celebrities is a global scourge and combating it will require global mobilization. We’ll need some kind of international treaty or something. I’ll put my Secretary of State and my UN Ambassador to work on that right away.

A moratorium on songs that rhyme love and abov
e.
I’ll call this one the No More Lazy Lyrics Act. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to know that no new song will rhyme love with stars/heaven/skies/Lord/etc above? It’s so annoying. I say it’s high time we stopped coddling these lazy, overpaid lyricists. We don’t allow other professions to so blatantly shirk their responsibilities!

Reclassification of the word extraordinary as an insult
.
Because that's what it is. And it’s so annoying that everybody thinks it’s a compliment. Wake up, people! What is extra-large? Larger than large, right? So then extraordinary means more ordinary than ordinary. So when someone says I’m extraordinary, they’re saying I’m more mediocre than mediocre. I would find that very insulting, so it’s a good thing nobody ever calls me that.

Establish a minimum original member standard for old bands
.
Like for instance, the Kingston Trio is still traveling around and performing even though all three original members are dead. That’s not the Kingston Trio, dammit! That’s a cover band! This kind of thing happens far too often with these bands from the 60s and 70s doing nostalgia tours. It’s annoying. So I’d require them all to have at least 60 percent original members or they’d have to use another name. Otherwise what’s to stop me and my two dogs from getting together with Ringo and calling ourselves the Beatles? If you got duped into buying tickets for that, wouldn’t you be annoyed?

If I decide to run, I hope you’ll support me. Together we can work to ensure that the America we leave for our grandchildren is a lot less annoying. This will be our legacy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Blame it on Mama



Someone once told me my middle initial should be L for litigious. They meant it as a compliment and I took it as such.

I appreciate the accolades, but I really don’t deserve them. I’m not nearly as litigious as I could/should be. Hell, if I filed an access complaint every time I took a notion to, I’d spend more time in courtrooms than the judges. In my neighborhood, a lot of the buildings were built in the late 19th and early 20th Century, before the great cripple migration. So every day I pass buildings with a step or three on the front that I can’t get into.

I’ve been involved in a few lawsuits. I helped sue Chicago public transportation agencies in the 1980s for not having accessible buses and trains. In the 1990s I sued an apartment building management company for refusing to rent to me. But I prefer airing my grievances through street protest. The courts are too fucking fickle for me. You can file a lawsuit and hire the most brilliant lawyer and make the most eloquent case but still lose if you get some asshole republican judge. But with street protests, I just feel like if you stay up in the assholes’ faces long enough, eventually they do something.

But whatever. If I'm quick to get agitated and go around suing or protesting, it’s because of the way my mother treated me as a child. Here’s a graphic example: (Trigger warning. If you are upset by instances of extraordinary maternal nurturing and character building, stop reading now.) My mother bought a small sled and one day after it snowed a bunch she broke it out. But since my sister and I were crippled and had shitty sitting balance, she knew we’d fall off of a moving sled and crack our skulls. So she built a seat on the sled out of a wooden fruit crate and put straps on it so she could strap us in securely and pull us down the sidewalk on the sled yelling, “Wheeee!”

Here’s another example: When we were criplets, a big yellow school bus picked us up and the driver carried us up the stairs on and off the bus. But when we got too big to be lugged like that, a small yellow van, like the size of a florist delivery van, was dispatched to take us to school. The driver deployed a ramp from the side door and pushed us in our wheelchairs up the ramp and into the van. Mom was so impressed that she soon purchased a van like that and had the same ramp installed. I knew some crippled kids whose families didn’t even build ramps on their houses.

So when my mother treated me like that, it put crazy ideas in my head. It made me think that I deserved to go places and do things. So to this day, when something gets in the way of me going places and doing things, I get grouchy. I have a hard time letting it go.

My mother did that to me. It’s all on her.




(Smart Ass Cripple is completely reader supported. Purchasing Smart Ass Cripple books at lulu.com, subscribing on Amazon Kindle and filling the tip jar keeps us going. Please help if you can.)









ANNOUNCING: Smart Ass Cripple's Little Chartreuse Book. A new Smart Ass Cripple book hot off the presses at lulu.com. It still has that new Smart Ass Cripple book smell. Get yours today! Help keep Smart Ass Cripple going!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Hope Chair?



Back when I was a wee criplet wisp, about kindergarten-sized, I had a wee wisp of a wheelchair that was called either a Hoak chair or a Hope chair. I called it a Hoak chair because that’s what I thought the adults around me called it. But when I think back, I wonder if maybe they were calling it a Hope chair. I guess I’ll never know.

The Hoak/Hope chair was a two-wheeled thing that was pretty much a hand truck, like the kind beer truck drivers use to tote beer into a store. They load cases of beer onto the hand truck, tilt it back and push the cargo forward. Except the Hoak/Hope chair was a hand truck with a seat and seatbelt attached. Yep, someone sat me on the seat and buckled me up and toted me forward like cases of beer. Or sometimes they’d reach back and pull me forward from behind like a suitcase and I viewed the passing landscape rolling by backwards, like I was watching through a car rear window.

It must’ve been called a Hope chair because why would it be called a Hoak chair? Unless maybe it was invented by somebody named Hoak. And maybe this Hoak character had a crippled kid way back in the day when the only wheelchairs were those Frannklin Roosevelt models made of wood and wicker and they didn’t make them criplet-sized. And maybe Hoak was a beer truck driver and one day while hauling in the beer a cerebral light bulb went off. And Hoak named this humanitarian invention eponymously.

But then again, it could just as easily have been invented by somebody named Smith or Chang or Kowalski and they called it a Hope chair because it brought new Hope to criplets around the world. Because back in those days, that chair was probably the state of the art in criplet hauling devices.

I haven’t seen a Hoak/Hope chair in about 55 years. Thank God things have changed a lot and cripples don’t have to be hauled around in public in such an undignified manner anymore. Well, not unless we want to fly somewhere on one of the airlines. Then they take away our wheelchairs and stuff them in the luggage hole after they transfer us into an adult-sized Hoak/Hope chair. It’s not exactly designed for optimum crippled passenger comfort. It’s shaped like the stern lowercase letter h of some rigid, no-nonsense font. One size fits none.

The airlines call this chair a boarding or aisle chair. It must have been invented by somebody named Boarding or Aisle who delights in torturing cripples. Maybe they used to drive a beer truck.


(Smart Ass Cripple is completely reader supported. Purchasing Smart Ass Cripple books at lulu.com, subscribing on Amazon Kindle and filling the tip jar keeps us going. Please help if you can.)









ANNOUNCING: Smart Ass Cripple's Little Chartreuse Book. A new Smart Ass Cripple book hot off the presses at lulu.com. It still has that new Smart Ass Cripple book smell. Get yours today! Help keep Smart Ass Cripple going!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Disagreeing to Agree to Disagree



In civilized societies we engage in civilized debate. And sometimes, in the end, civilized people agree to disagree.

But screw that. I disagree. Agreeing to disagree is fine and dandy if you’re arguing about something like whether Coke tastes better than Pepsi. Because in the end, who cares? Civilized Person A can drink their Coke and Civilized Person B can drink their Pepsi and we can all still live happily ever after.

But suppose I’m flat on my back and somebody is stepping on my throat. I tell that person to stop stepping on my throat. That person says no. Like civilized Americans, we agree to disagree.

The problem is, I’ve still got somebody stepping on my throat. That’s not very civilized. So agreeing to disagree won’t cut it. I’ve got to do something to get that person to agree with my point of view that they need to get the hell off of my throat.

What’s that? In civilized societies people don’t step on each other’s throats? Well I remember a time when public transportation buses weren’t accessible to cripples who couldn’t climb three big honkin’ steps. That’s because back then public transit buses were designed with three big honkin’ steps right inside the entrance, just because somewhere along the line somebody decided that’s how public transit buses should be designed. I’m sure glad enough cripples disagreed to agree to disagree that that’s how things must always be.

And some people have been fucked over way worse than that by civilized society. How about coal miners? Jesus, they go down in a pitch black hole every day! And they used to be paid shit for doing it and if they got sick as a result they were tossed on the fucking scrap pile. The degree to which things have improved from that is only because the miners also got together and disagreed to agree to disagree that that’s how things always must be.

And what about slavery? What if we were all still agreeing to disagree with all those civilized slaveholders?

I’m getting too worked up. I need to go sit down.


(Smart Ass Cripple is completely reader supported. Purchasing Smart Ass Cripple books at lulu.com, subscribing on Amazon Kindle and filling the tip jar keeps us going. Please help if you can.)









ANNOUNCING: Smart Ass Cripple's Little Chartreuse Book. A new Smart Ass Cripple book hot off the presses at lulu.com. It still has that new Smart Ass Cripple book smell. Get yours today! Help keep Smart Ass Cripple going!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.