Friday, May 22, 2015

Overcoming Overcoming


Here’s why stories about cripples who “overcome" bug the living crap out of me. When a person, crippled or otherwise, is praised for overcoming something, whatever it is we say they overcame is always something bad, right? I mean, we never say, “He overcame extreme wealth and good looks to become president of the United States!”

When cripples are praised for overcoming something, it’s always our crippledness we are praised for overcoming. So therefore the implication is that everything about being crippled is bad and awful and in need of overcoming. But there are many good things that come with being crippled. Like for instance, I get to cut to the front of lines a lot. I’m not sure why that happens. I don’t know whether the person waving me on through thinks I’m a VIP or a fire hazard but don't ask questions. I just shut up and go for it.

And I'm not trying to say cripples never have to overcome anything. Lord knows we do. But cripples never get praised for overcoming the shit we actually have to overcome. One of the biggest things I had to overcome was being shipped off as an adolescent to a crappy-ass state-operated boarding school for cripples, which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT). But I promise you if a Hollywood producer takes a notion to make a blockbuster movie about me, it won’t be because he/she sees it as “the inspiring story of a man who overcame being shipped off as an adolescent to a crappy-ass state-operated boarding school for cripples.” Another huge thing cripples have to overcome is all the bullshit of bureaucracies like Medicaid and insurance companies. First we have to fight like rabid wolverines to get them to buy us a wheelchair or some other piece of essential equipment and then when it breaks we’re dead in the water for six months while they make us leap through a million bureaucratic flaming hoops in order to get it fixed. This is a real, dramatic, harrowing, high-stakes struggle that cripples all over engage in every day. But I’ve never seen a blockbuster movie, TV show, book or anything else that professed to be “the inspiring story of a man who overcame all the bullshit of bureaucracies like Medicaid and insurance companies.”

That’s what I hate about that overcomer crap. It gives us another thing to have to overcome.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Power to the People?


When I hear someone shout “Power to the People,” I would have to say that for the most part I am in general agreement with the sentiment expressed. Because I assume that the “people” referenced in that slogan include me and most cripples and thus Power to the People means more power for me.

But I can’t be totally sure because, quite honestly, that slogan may be tried and true but it is a little vague. I mean if we take the definition of people literally, that means every living human being which includes people like Trump. Technically, he qualifies as a human being, if you really want to split hairs. So does Power to the People mean more power for people like Trump? If that’s the case then hell no! I don’t agree with it at all!

I don’t think that’s what it’s supposed to mean so maybe instead we should shout out something more specific, like “Power to the People Except for Rich Douchebags Like Trump!” But that’s pretty cumbersome and not too rhythmic. And who is authorized to make such a change? Who are the people who define who the people in Power to the People are? And what criteria do they apply? I pass this parking lot sometimes called the People’s Parking Lot, which is kind of a silly name because who else is going to try to park there besides people? Lobsters? But in this case, I’m sure the guy who defines the people that can park in the People’s Parking Lot is the guy who owns the parking lot. And I’m sure he defines people as any and all human beings who can afford to park in his parking lot.

In the People’s Republic of China, no doubt the communist party defines who the people are. And that definition includes any and all human beings who don’t piss off the communist party.

But I think Power to the People implies that’s it is intended to really mean Power to the People Who Are Being Fucked Over. That’s why I’ve always assumed it includes me and most cripples. That’s why everybody who shouts it out assumes it includes them, too.

So if we all can agree to be just a wee tad more specific and start shouting out “Power to the People Who Are Being Fucked Over” instead, I’d feel much more comfortable. I’ll know it includes me and most cripples but nobody like Trump. I’m on board 100 percent for sure then.

So would whoever is in charge of making that happen please get on it right away? I’d appreciate it.



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Friday, May 8, 2015

Make-a-Wish for Adults



I’m here to propose a make-a-wish for adults. Now before you dismiss me as a crude oaf, hear me out.

This would be a new federal entitlement program and it’s a win/win proposition. It benefits those on the very bottom rung of the economic ladder by giving them what they desire most, which is a measure of hope and a renewed sense of self-determination in this era of austerity. And it benefits those on the very top rung by giving them what they desire most, which is a civilized, compassionate way of disposing of those on the very bottom.

On the very bottom are all the chronics, as I call them. These are the people that ain’t gonna get better. But I’m not just talking about cripples and sick people. I’m talking about the chronically broke ass. You don’t have to be crippled to be chronically broke ass, though being crippled sure gives you a big head start. But those who are chronically broke ass without the advantage of being crippled would also be eligible for the free services of make-a-wish for adults.

Chronics never let go of certain public teats, especially when staying chronically broke ass is a requirement for maintaining access to the aforementioned teats (e.g. Medicaid). And we all know how miserable of an existence that life of community dependency can be. You can’t afford even modest luxuries like bread. And the political atmosphere is becoming increasingly hostile as the unchronic majority is steadily losing its patience with propping up the chonics. When you’re a chronic stuck in this trap, you get the feeling that everyone wishes you were dead

But under my plan, each chronic would receive a government-issued make-a-wish towel and this towel would be their leverage, their source of empowerment, their bargaining chip, if you will. If a chronic gets tired of the struggle of being broke ass and decides to give up, the chronic takes their towel to their local make-a-wish office and turns it in. This is the equivalent of saying, “Okay I give up. Throw me one last orgy and I’ll take the cyanide.” And the make-a-wish team gets busy arranging for the chronic the sendoff of their dreams! It can be whatever indulgent, fantasy-fulfilling bucket list excursion the chronic wants. Nude skydiving? Can do! Visiting the Kremlin and kicking Vladimir Putin in the balls? No problem! All expenses paid! This is their special day!

And the next day the chronic signs off for good, in accordance with the make-a-wish protocols.

I think the unchronic majority would embrace this as humane economics because it uses the carrot and not the stick. It doesn’t mandate self-elimination by the chronics in the name of fiscal prudence. It merely incentivizes it!

I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said that the measure of a civilized society is how it disposes of its weakest citizens.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Something More Than Meat


One thing I know for sure is that I could never eat my Chihuahuas. No way. I love them too much. We have a lot of fun together. They are my buds. I can’t imagine a post-apocalyptic scenario so grim that I would even consider eating my Chihuahuas. If things ever got that bad I’d probably solve the dilemma by letting them eat me.

I’m telling you all this because I’m trying to make a point about republicans. But before I can do that, I have to make a point about pigs. The only time I ever met a real live pig was when I took a vacation at this cripple-accessible cabin in Canada. There was a pet pig running around the grounds and it was cute as hell, dammit. It happily bounced up to me and greeted me with a flurry of grunts. And ever since then I’ve had a hard time bringing myself to eat pork. Oh sure, I always knew wonderful stuff like bacon was derived from pigs but pigs were an abstract concept because I’d never met one. I never knew they had personalities. When a creature has a personality, it becomes something more than meat. I still eat bacon because the scent of bacon frying releases a chemical in the brain that works like an anesthetic, temporarily numbing the center of the brain that registers guilt. But the anesthetic wears off quickly and the bacon high is ruined. The bacon high is never as long or intense for me as it was before I met that damn cute little pig!

Now when it comes to eating shrimp I don’t have the same conflict and it’s probably because shrimp don’t have personalities that I can detect. Maybe I’d think differently if I was another shrimp. But in my present incarnation, I’ve never had a meaningful, spiritually-bonding interaction with a live shrimp, except when I did hallucinogens back in college.

All this explains a curious political phenomenon. There are actually a few republicans who sometimes give a crap about cripples. Like for instance it was a republican president who signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. Even today, now and then republicans get behind bills and policies that make life better for cripples. And when you search for what might have triggered these bouts of temporary sanity, you almost always find that the reality of crippledness invaded the life of this particular republican, either directly or via the life of someone close to them.

And so it becomes like me and my Chihuahuas or that pig. The republican agenda calls for devouring cripples, and just about everything and everybody else, for fun and profit. But the agenda becomes harder to follow when you know or when you become an actual cripple with an actual personality. Cripples become something more than meat.

These republicans more often than not still succumb to the agenda by going along with stuff like cutting the crap out of Social Security or Medicaid. That’s because the scent of money has the same effect on the brain as the scent of frying bacon.

But every now and then some individuals are able to rise above. They can’t help it.



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Friday, April 24, 2015

A Life-Affirming Response to a Fuck-it-All State of Mind



I live in a neighborhood full of peril. There are many desperate young people who can easily make an impulsive wrong turn that they will eternally regret.

About a block east of my home is a military recruitment office. Now when I say that, you may envision me living in a barren slum. Because that’s where military recruitment offices tend to set up shop. You don’t tend to see them in the posh suburbs because most people turn to the military for the same reason they turn to Jesus. When I hear people testify about the day they suddenly turned to Jesus, I never hear, “It was a fine sunny day. I had a great job and a fine family. So that’s when I asked Jesus to please save me.” No, these the-day-I-signed-up-with-Jesus stories are usually tales of great distress. I imagine that’s also usually the case when someone suddenly signs up with the military.

But I don’t live in a barren slum at all. In fact, just down the block from me to the south is an oooh-la-la fingernail spa where one can treat oneself to an array of pampering services, including a Brazilian bikini wax.

But also in my neighborhood is an arts college. So now you can begin to see the diabolical logic behind placing a military recruitment office around here. The military is betting on a steady flow of lost and rejected souls. Scenario: You’re a a student at the arts college. You pour your heart into your student film and your professor dismisses it as derivative. Or maybe you’re beaten out by some snotty rich kids for the lead in Streetcar. You’re wandering the streets, reeling from the blow, drowning in the quicksand of a fuck-it-all state of mind. You see the recruitment office. An oasis! A beacon on the stormy sea! You sign up. And soon you wonder what the hell you just did. You’d give anything to take it back. It’s like getting blackout drunk and waking up with a Barry Manilow tattoo.

But all is not hopeless: There is another scenario. While wandering the streets steeped in deep dismay, you instead pass the spa and see the Brazilian bikini wax signs in the window. That sounds like an exotic and rewarding career, you think to yourself. You decide to become a practitioner. You picture yourself in Brazil, an eager apprentice learning from the masters.

Isn't that a much happier ending? It’s a life-affirming response to a fuck-it-all state of mind.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Official Suppository of Smart Ass Cripple


This entry is brought to you by the good people at EZ Suppositories, the official suppository of Smart Ass Cripple.

Yep, that’s right. Here at smart Ass Cripple we have to figure out a way to pay the bills, just like every other schlump in the world. So in order to pay the bills, I’m whoring myself out to corporate America, just like every other schlump in the world.

What do I have to offer that’s of any possible value to corporate America? I offer access to the cripple market. The people who read my stuff are mostly cripples, plus a smattering of uncrippled people who for whatever weird reason like reading stuff about cripples. So I let it be known that any wise, visionary businessperson can score big points with consumers who are crippled (or who are uncrippled but for whatever weird reason like reading stuff about cripples) by forking over enough cash to make their product the official fill-in-the-blank of Smart Ass Cripple.

The only problem is, corporate America seems to think that the only products cripples buy are cripple products—more specifically, cripple bodily function products. Corporate America seems to think that all cripples do all day is excrete. Because ads for bodily function products are the types of ads you see in magazines or on sites that are for cripples. You never see an ad for toothpaste. But why not? Cripples brush their teeth every day, just like every other schlump in the world.

But hell with it. Corporate America can go blow itself. I’ve got the fine folks at EZ Suppositories on board with me now! They were the first and only business so far to step up and accept my challenge to become an official Smart Ass Cripple product sponsor. It was a bold move on their part. But then again, who would expect anything less from the creators of the world’s most user-friendly suppositories with the patented EZ Glide tip?

But there are still plenty more Smart Ass Cripple official sponsorships to be had. So how about it, corporate America? I’m sorry I told you to go blow yourself. I was only kidding. Who wants to be the official catheter of Smart Ass Cripple? The official bedpan? How about the official incontinence pad?

And in conclusion, let me remind everyone out there that the next time you need a suppository, don’t settle for second best. Insist on EZ suppositories. You’ll be glad you did!





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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Maybe I Secretly Wish I Could be a Wheelchair Princess


There are certain cripples that give me the creepy-crawlies. I try my best to avoid them because being around them makes me really uncomfortable. I hate to admit it but it’s true.

I usually only see these cripples at large cripple festivals. I can pick them out in a crowd because these cripples have a very distinct trait that distinguishes them from all the rest of us. They wear tin tiaras and silken sashes that say MISS WHEELCHAIR AMERICA or MISS WHEELCHAIR WYOMING or whatever.

I think these cripples give me the creepy-crawlies so bad because they are the princesses of the cripple set. I mean, they aren’t literally princesses. They aren’t married to princes and they aren’t the offspring of kings and queens. They are princesses in the sense that their images are so delicate and pristine. They can’t get their fingernails dirty.

Wheelchair princesses make me feel a strange combination of intimidation and resentment. Princesses in general intimidate me because I have no idea what to say to them. I imagine just about every conversation topic except maybe the weather is off limits when taking to a princess. It’s the same way I feel about talking to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

But still, the degree to which I recoil from the wheelchair princesses is disproportionate to the magnitude of the offense they commit by being princesses. Why should I care if they want to be princesses? Maybe I’m jealous. Sour grapes, you know? Maybe deep down inside I wish I could be a wheelchair princess but I know that can never ever be. No such grotesque pageant exists. And so I am bitter and resentful. I’m like a homophobe who’s secretly gay.

Or maybe what I really resent about the wheelchair princesses is the tragic waste of political power. The cripple spectrum is vast. Down on one end are the princesses. And way down on the other end of the spectrum are the chain-yourself-to-the-Senator’s-desk cripples. You never see a wheelchair princess engaged in trench warfare like that, which is a real fucking shame because wouldn’t that make a powerful image? There’s an angry cripple chained to a Senator’s desk and the angry cripple is wearing a tin tiara and a silken sash that says MISS WHEELCHAIR AMERICA or MISS WHEELCHAIR WYOMING or whatever. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be that Senator. Even the princesses are pissed off!

But princesses don’t do such things. Princesses are not allowed to be pissed off. Engaging in such actions would surely be grounds for being decrowned or excommunicated or whatever it’s called when you’re kicked out of the castle.

Maybe that’s why I’m put off by the wheelchair princesses. I know their pageants aren’t a victimless crime.




(Smart Ass Cripple is completely reader supported. Contributing to the tip jar, purchasing books and subscribing through Amazon Kindle keeps us going. Please help if you can.)