Monday, November 28, 2016

How the Oppressor Expresses Remorse

Who says the oppressor doesn’t have a conscience? Evidence abounds of his attempts to express remorse and make amends to those he fucks over. But it’s subtle because the oppressor is like a spouse abuser. He apologizes not with words but with gestures. The spouse abuser beats the hell out of you and then buys you flowers. The oppressor fucks you over completely and then eventually acknowledges your nobility by allowing shit to be named in your honor.

The oppressor must really feel awful about how he fucks over American Indian tribes because look at all the shit that's named as a tribute to them. It’s everywhere. There’s Winnebago motorhomes, Tillamook brand cheese, Shasta soda pop, etc., etc., etc. There are also natural wonders, like bodies of water, named to honor tribes. How about Lake Erie and Lake Huron? (However, the oppressor continues to insist that the largest of the Great Lakes remains named in honor white people: Superior.) The oppressor must feel especially shitty about fucking over the Shasta tribe because they have a soda pop and a mountain named after them.

But notice how it doesn’t work that way for cripples. Yep, the oppressor fucks over cripples on a daily basis as well, but we receive no such symbolic restitution. Now in all fairness to the oppressor, cripples don’t have tribes, which makes it a lot harder to figure out how to name shit in honor of us. The closest thing cripples have to tribes are diagnoses. Instead of Apache, Cherokee and Sioux, we have Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida and Osteogenesis Imperfecta. And nobody goes to the deli and says, “Gimme a pound of Polio brand cheddar.” Nobody spends a romantic honeymoon on the soothing shores of Lake Cerebral Palsy.

But why not? Could it be that when it comes to fucking over cripples, the oppressor feels no remorse? Or could it be that the oppressor hasn’t even thought it through that far? Maybe fucking over cripples is such a matter-of-fact constant in the oppressor’s daily routine that it hasn’t even crossed his mind that his treatment of us might officially qualify as “fucking over” and thus deserving of amends.

Or maybe it’s just a matter of marketing. Maybe there are no Fibromyalgia brand motorhomes because cripple tribes are not perceived as tribes of honor and pride. Cripple tribes are perceived as tribes of shame. And nobody wants to associate their product with that. But is that not still the fault of the oppressor? Did he not create the concept of cripple shame for his own fun and profit?

My self-esteem will not improve until I see something named in tribute to a cripple tribe. Just one thing. It doesn’t have to be anything big. It can be a pair of Lou Gehrig’s Disease brand shoe laces. I won't be picky about it. It’s the thought that counts.




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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Send a Gay Cripple to Washington

It’s was the mid 1990s or thereabouts. It was Anna, my late first wife, and me. And Mark was with us. He was an itinerant activist. Tall and thin with long hair halfway down his back. He probably wore jeans with the knees worn away like he always did. He was a vegan, a cancer survivor. It seemed like every weekend he attended some “grassroots” fundraiser of some sort. And this weekend we went with him to a fundraiser so a group of gay cripples could send some people to Washington. I believe the event was in the backroom of a bar. And there was a silent auction. I know how these “grassroots” silent actions work. I’ve been a part of many a one. Some people hustle up donations from their neighborhood mom and pops. And so you end up with a lot of gift certificates from laundry mats, dry cleaners and liquor stores.

One of the auction items at the fundraiser for gay cripples was from a store called Mexican Folk Arts. Anna put in a bid for that. Mexican Folk Arts was a new place just a few blocks down the street from where we lived. She figured she could get something cool with a gift certificate from there. Another auction item was a coupon good for a free weekend at the Melrose Hotel. I wondered who the hell hustled up that donation. The Melrose Hotel was a fleabag flophouse. Weekly and daily rates. I'd like to see the look on the face of the poor sucker who won that prize when he shows up with his suitcase at the Melrose Hotel.

So after a potluck supper and some speechifying, it was time to announce the winners of the silent auction. “And the Mexican Folk Arts winner is—“

Anna! She was excited. She rolled her wheelchair up to claim her gift certificate. But the auctioneer instead reached under the card table and proudly presented her with a sculpture of a skunk. The sculpture was about the size of a dachshund. I think the sculpture was made of cement. It must’ve weighed at least 10 pounds. The skunk had a rough texture like cement. You could strike a match on it. And the skunk had a badass look on its face, like it was staring you down. It was in full attack mode, its tail raised like a curled plume, like a question mark.

“And the winner of the free weekend at the Melrose Hotel is---“

Me! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? How the hell did that happen? Mark leaned over and told me he felt bad that nobody wrote in a bid so he put me down for ten bucks.

So those were the souvenirs we took home from the send-a-gay-cripple-to-Washington fundraiser: a cement skunk and a coupon for a free weekend at a flophouse.

But it’s amazing when you think about it. When cripples go to Washington, we’re fighting against assholes that, when they need to buy politicians, hold fundraisers where people pay $10,000 for bacon and eggs. And the silent auction items are original Van Goghs.

But somehow, the cripples who go to Washington have managed to get the Americans with Disabilities Act passed and a whole lot more. So whatever we’re doing, it works, so far. I don’t know how or why it works but who cares? It works.




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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Baby Chick Ass Wipes


Well hell, now that the election is over, I’m going for it, goddammit! I’m going for it all!

And I don’t give a sweet flying fuck what anybody thinks! Why should I? I got this great business idea not long ago. It was a brilliant idea but it was vulgar. I held back moving forward on my business idea because I thought maybe it was just too vulgar to fly. But after that election, shit, I feel like nothing’s too vulgar anymore! Vulgar won big from coast to coast. Vulgar is cool. Vulgar is hip. Vulgar is chic. The more vulgar the better. If you’re not a graceless, self-indulgent, pathologically self-absorbed prick, you ain’t shit.

The people have spoken! So fuck everything. I’m going for it! I see now that the reason my business idea is so beautifully brilliant is precisely because it’s so beautifully vulgar. So I’m investing all my money in live baby chicks. And at just the right moment, I’ll kill them. Now before anybody gets all blubbery and outraged about killing baby chicks, I’ll have you know that I plan to kill them humanely. I’ll inject them with honey or something. I don’t know. I’ll figure that part out later.

And then I’ll immediately pack the freshly-killed baby chicks into special refrigerated containers that’ll look like fancy hat boxes. And I’ll quickly ship the dead baby chicks off to the richest people on earth, so they can wipe their asses with them.

Yep, then we’ll all know a truly classy bathroom when we see one. A servant stands outside the entrance and opens a hat box.

“Baby chick, madam?”

“Are they fresh?”

“Oh most definitely, milady. They were flown in this morning.”

So then the rich shitter carefully selects just the right baby chick, maybe two, maybe three. It’s okay. Servants are sworn to secrecy. After performing her duty, madam feels the luxurious stroke of baby chick down, so exquisitely sort and absorbent. So deliciously vulgar. But most rewarding is the rush of superiority she gets from exerting her Biblical dominion over the animals.

I’ll mark up the price of my baby chicks a thousand percent, maybe even ten or twenty thousand percent and I bet the rich fucks will still happily pony up. Because apparently the way to get ahead in the new world order is to be the most vulgar shithead of all. They won’t want to be left behind.

And soon I’ll be more rich than any of them. So fuck it! I’m going for it! Who cares anymore?



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Saturday, November 5, 2016

As Long as I'm Still Entertainable

I doubt that I’ll ever reach a state where I think life is not worth living. Because to me, the purpose of life is to be entertained. Even if you’re and entertainer, the person you are ultimately entertaining is yourself. There would be no point to being an entertainer if you didn’t find entertaining others to be entertaining.

That’s how humans are. That’s all we’re doing here. We’re all just trying to be entertained. Life consists of those moments when we find ourselves entertained and all the stuff in between. The blessed life is the thoroughly entertained life.

That’s why I feel sorry for the bungee jumper types. Something about them creeps me out. They’re not happy unless they’re jumping off some high cliff in Cypress. It must be sad to be so hard to entertain. I hope I’m never that way. On the other hand, I also feel kind of creeped out when I see nursing home people sitting around the day room playing bingo or something. It seems like those poor folks are clawing more desperately for a nugget of entertainment than the bungee jumpers. I hope I’m never that way either.

I find a lot of things to be entertaining so hopefully that will help me handle whatever bullshit the future may hold. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to give up and pull the plug until I’ve reached a state of utter and complete unentertainability, which means there is no entertainment left in my future. I don’t think that’ll happen.

What if I end up in some state of infirmity where pretty much all I do is sleep all the time? That’s okay. I find sleep to be very entertaining. Sleeping is my favorite hobby. I’ve gotten to be really good at it.

What if I have to eat through a stomach tube? Now that’s a tough one because food to me is vastly, wildly, endlessly entertaining. The prospect of never tasting food again would be pretty depressing. But it hardly seems worth killing myself over. What the hell would that prove anyway? With whom would I be getting even? And besides, even if I have to eat through a stomach tube I still might be able to drink beer. I knew a guy who drank beer through a stomach tube. He’d just fill up the feed bag with beer. And he’d get pretty buzzed. So if I could still drink beer that would expedite the feeding tube adjustment process a lot because drinking beer is highly entertaining.

What if I’m in hospice? Well, when my aunt was in hospice they gave her what they called a “comfort kit,” which was a variety of painkillers. Taking those drugs seemed to provide her with some entertainment. It made me wonder what other stuff I would have in my comfort kit to entertain me if I was in hospice. I know for sure I’d include the movie Blazing Saddles. Even though I’ve seen that movie a million times it always cracks me up. And if I was in hospice, my hospice team would definitely include a belly dancer. I’d have her on 24-hour call in case I have an emergency need for entertainment and she can come shimmy around my sick bed.

And even if all these things cease to entertain me, I’ll probably keep going anyway just to say fuck you to death. There’s got to be something entertaining about that.


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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Smart Ass Cripple's Imaginary Commencement Address to all the State Schools for Cripples

I’m a proud graduate of a state-operated boarding school for cripples which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT). If someone organized a reunion of my graduating class, it wouldn’t take much work. It could probably be held at the nearest Starbucks because there were only nine people in my graduating class. We were lucky to have a commencement at all. A lot of these state cripple schools don’t have a commencement because commencement comes from the word commence, which means you’re going somewhere. Cripples in state schools ain’t hardly going anywhere, which is why it makes me laugh when those places are often referred to as “developmental” centers. What the hell is any cripple dumped in a state school developing, besides butt callouses?

It’s too bad for me that cripple schools like SHIT don’t have commencements because I could turn it into a speaking circuit and cash in big. I could bill myself as a cripple school “success story.” I know that’s hilarious, but it’s a low bar to clear.

My speech would be entitled “Survival in the Wild.” What would I say to these commencing cripples to best arm them for life in the wild? Well, first I would tell them that they can do anything! All they have to do is try. And then I’d say sorry, that was a joke. Nobody can do anything. Not even the verts (which is short for verticals, which is slang for people who walk.) But if you poke around enough you might find something useful to do and maybe if you’re lucky it’ll even be sort of fun. And then I’d tell them that whatever it is they do, don’t fuck it up. Because all other cripples to come will be judged by whether they succeed or fail. If they fuck it up no other cripple may ever get another opportunity to try. So they’d better work twice as hard as all the verts just to prove they’re half as good.

And then I’d say sorry, that was a joke too. Not the stuff about all other cripples being judged. That shit’s for real. But the part about working twice as hard as a result. That's the joke. I’d say unto the commencing cripples that if anybody tries to put a stupid idea like that into their heads, there’s a mantra that has always served Smart Ass Cripple well when he needs to summon the strength to persevere. Two little words: bull shit. Or is that one little word? I can never remember if that’s one word or two. Same thing with the word asshole. Asshole sounds like it should be one word, but maybe it’s two. You’d think that as often as I write those words I’d have them memorized like my middle name. So hold on a minute while I look them up. Wow! Turns out bullshit and asshole are both indeed one word. I’ll have to figure out a way to remember that, some kind of mnemonic device or something.

So I’d tell the commencing cripples to always remember that one little word: bullshit. There will be many situations in the wild where that word will come in handy. Like suppose you want a job so vocational rehab gets you a position as a grocery bagger. Now Lord knows the world needs good grocery baggers. Grocery baggers are very much like toilet paper. We don’t fully realize how important they are until they’re not there. But suppose you suck at grocery bagging or you just don’t like it so you quit or you’re fired. Voc rehab will probably write you off as “unemployable.” The key to surviving a trauma like that is to remember the magic word: bullshit. If you suck at being a grocery bagger, it doesn’t mean you automatically suck at everything else. All it means is that you suck at being a grocery bagger.

So always keep that word nearby, I’d say to the commencing cripples, for you will encounter many such hostile attitudes in the wild. You will encounter many a beast who will try to convince you that if you demand respect and accommodation, you are unreasonable and, worse yet, ungrateful. They’ll try to convince you that you belong in a “developmental center.”

Just say it to yourself: bullshit. Say it over and over. Now say it out loud. Good! Now say it so everybody can hear it. Bullshit! That word will fortify you. It will keep you on course.

Ah but who am I kidding. There never will be such a thing as a state school commencement address speaking circuit. It’s all just a fantasy, my futile dream of riches.


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Friday, October 21, 2016

Smart Ass Cripple Inspires Youth with his Courage

At first, when I received the congratulatory call, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I thought maybe it was a joke. And if it wasn’t a joke, should I be insulted?

“Congratulations! The Low Standards Society has selected you as its 2016 Man of the Year!”

But once I understood the unique, humanitarian mission of the Low Standards Society, I realized that this was indeed a unique honor. I would play and integral role in helping carry out the that mission, which is simply “to make all young people feel better about themselves.” Who can argue with that?

And the Low Standards Society strives to accomplish this lofty goal by “working tirelessly and diligently to lower the standards by which human society defines achievement. We seek to inspire youth, our greatest natural resource, to work to realize their full potential by making achievement more achievable.”

I know exactly what they mean. The writers that have always most inspired me are not the great writers but the ones that really suck. Like suppose I go see a play that’s really great. Afterward, I’ll say to myself, “Jesus, I’ll never be able to write as well as that guy. I’m might as well give the fuck up!” And I go home feeling all daunted and intimidated and shit. But if the play sucks big time, I say to myself, “Jesus, I could write something better than that piece of crap with one hand tied behind my back. So could a chimp on barbiturates.” And I go home feeling all inspired to write. Maybe getting a play produced is much easier than I thought.

So, when viewed through that lens, it makes perfect sense that the Low Standards Society would choose me as its Man of the Year. According to the selection committee, I was chosen because I am a “symbol of courage” who “finds the inner strength to tackle the challenges of each new day.” I’m not sure what they mean by that. The challenges I tackle most days are pretty much stuff like eating, talking on the phone, writing silly shit on my laptop and taking a dump. But when you’re crippled, I guess that’s good enough to make you a courageous overachiever.

So youth from all over the world will see me and feel motivated and inspired. They’ll say to themselves, “Well hell, if that guy’s courageous, I must be Superman. If that’s all it takes to win, deal me in!”

It will be my job as the reigning Low Standards Man of the Year to conduct myself in a manner that lowers the standards by which we measure courage and achievement even lower. I’m sure I’ll be up for the task.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Endless Cripple Bread Lines

The problem with cripples is we don’t riot enough. I don’t think we’ve ever rioted at all. I’ve never read any accounts of a pissed off gang of cripples rioting in the streets. Have you?

What causes riots is resource shortages and rationing. People get tired of waiting in bread lines or whatever kind of waiting lines and they start rioting. There’s nary a cripple in America that isn’t waiting in some sort of waiting line. And it’s not as if it’s a waiting line for cotton candy. We’re waiting for important shit, like food and shelter.

Every year United Cerebral Palsy puts out a report called The Case for Inclusion, which measures how well Medicaid programs in different states are serving cripples. The report that just came out says almost 350,000 people are on a waiting list for home and community-based services, which is 28,000 more than last year.

That means that when cripples went last year to the state agencies that spend Medicaid money and asked for assistance so they can live somewhere other than a goddam soul-crushing nursing home or in the crawl space of the house of their 90-year-old parents, the agency told more than a quarter of a million of them to go sit in the corner and shut up and wait. Wait for how long? Five years? Ten years? Maybe. Maybe longer.

A quarter of a million cripples is a whole lot of cripples! That’s almost as many as it takes to screw in a light bulb. So yeah, cripples have been waiting in our own unique bread lines for as long as there have been cripples. They’re just not the kind of bread lines that people who aren’t waiting in them can see. These a bureaucratic bread lines. And those are the worst kind. It means that the odds of anyone besides those of us waiting getting worked up enough to riot about it are small.

So we can’t rely on others to do our rioting for us. We have to do it ourselves. I know that rioting, like everything else, is a much more perilous task when you’re crippled. It’s hard to throw a Molotov cocktail with any accuracy if you’re spastic. Rioting is physically and emotionally exhausting. But so is waiting in line. It seems to me that uncrippled people have a much lower breaking point when it comes to waiting it line. Hell, I’ve seen them snap after five minutes in the grocery checkout line. But cripples wait patiently for decades. And the lines are getting the longer. I don’t know what it is about us. Maybe it’s evolution. Maybe our crippled ancestors spent so much time waiting that modern Homo sapiens crippleus have an overdeveloped waiting gene.

Whatever it is, I think it’s time to consider some rioting and maybe a little looting too. A horde of cripples rampaging through the Apple store is bound to get somebody’s attention, or certainly a lot more than politely waiting ever has.


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