Monday, August 24, 2015

Way Too Seriously

I stay away from most theme restaurants because they might take the theme way too seriously and then I’ll be screwed.

Like for instance, take the Rainforest Café. There are few environments more inhospitable to cripples than a real live rainforest. So if the inside of the Rainforest Café is anything like a real live rainforest, then right when I enter my wheels will get stuck in the mud and I’ll be trapped and soon a giant bird of prey will eat me.

One would think that laws protect me from such things happening. But who knows for sure? It seems safe to assume that this deep into the 21st Century, a manmade rainforest would be required to have ramps and elevators and paved paths and automatic doors and such. But then again, maybe theme purity trumps access in the eyes of the law because like I said, some people take that theme stuff way too seriously. If you’ve ever been to a Star Wars-themed anything you know what I mean. If everybody else is meticulously dressed like a Noogie or whatever and you show up wearing a polo shirt and khakis, you will be the object of relentless scorn. When you fuck up the vibe you stir up the mob.

And cripples fuck up the vibe in a lot of theme restaurants. So maybe the Rainforest Café is “grandfathered,” as they say, meaning they are exempt from altering their theme to accommodate someone the likes of me. Or maybe they just assume they are “grandfathered.” There isn’t a cripple alive who hasn’t found him/herself in a situation where they couldn’t enter a place of business and the proprietor came out and said, “I’m sorry but we’re grandfathered!” I don’t know why so many proprietors think the legislatures amended the cripple access laws to specifically exempt only them.

And there’s a 1950s-themed restaurant near here, too. It’s got a jukebox and a soda fountain. It’s pretentiously unpretentious. Everything about it is authentic 1950s except the prices. That place is probably allowed to grandfather me right out of the door. Because you never saw cripples hanging around 1950s diners. That was before cripples were invented. So cripples fuck up the vibe. If I can enter that place at all it’ll probably be through the kitchen.

And the scariest theme restaurant of all is this place out on the interstate called Medieval Times. At that place people eat turkey legs and mashed potatoes with their bare hands and from a golden chalice they drink Mead and Budweiser. I’m afraid if I go to that place and they take the theme too seriously, as soon as I enter somebody will say something like, “Fi! Who art that evil creature riding a machine powered by Satan!” And then they’ll burn me at the stake.

I suppose if anyone ever opens a nursing home-themed restaurant I’ll be warmly welcomed. But if they take the theme too seriously they’ll never let me leave.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Revelation at the Funeral Parlor

I’d never done anything like this before. I’d never found myself suddenly in charge of planning someone’s funeral, selecting their casket and everything.

So there I am at the funeral parlor and the funeral director adds up the tab. He presents it to me. I look. The funeral will cost about $10,000.

“Is that all right?” he says, apologetically.

Here’s what I said to myself right at that minute: You should hold out! You should say no, $10,000 is NOT all right. What’s he gonna do about it? Last night in the middle of the night his people came out to your dead relative's home, lifted her out of her bed, placed her on a gurney, slid her into their vehicle and brought her here. What if you say $10,000 isn’t all right? Will he do it in reverse? Will he have his people take her back home and put her back in bed? He can’t do that, can he? You should call his bluff and see what happens! But what if he does do that? Then you’ll really be screwed! You don’t have any negotiation power here. He’s got you by the scrotum. He has your dead relative as a hostage.

This feeling of powerlessness really sucks. But wait, something positive is emerging from this. You’re about to have a valuable revelation. Yep, I can feel one coming on! I think it’s gonna be a big one so hang on tight! You’ve felt this powerlessness often before except, unlike now, it usually has something to do with you feeling powerless because you're crippled, right? That’s why you hate Tiny Tim so much! He’s the symbol of the ultimate powerless cripple. The only negotiating chip Tiny Tim has is pity. All he can say is, “If you don’t give me the money to get the special operation that will make me not crippled anymore I’ll die and you’ll look like a real asshole!” Do you really want to try that one with the funeral director? “Well I guess $10,000 is okay. I’ll just have to forego getting the special operation that will make me not crippled anymore and I’ll die. But that’s okay. Don't mind me.” Do you really want to lower yourself to that?

Having pity as your only leverage sucks because a shrewd opponent can easily counter it with mercy killing: “I’m sorry that your life is so miserable. Here, let me do you a favor by smothering you.” And voila, your shrewd opponent makes no concessions at all and still comes out looking like a wonderful human being. Checkmate! That’s why pity sucks. Pity isn’t really power.

But here’s where the revelation comes in. Next time someone asks what all you angry cripples want, you finally have a clear answer! You can tell them cripples want the same thing every human wants. Cripples want the power to negotiate. Humans get restless and ornery when they have no say in what’s going on, no control over the future. Humans don’t like it when another human has them by the scrotum, so to speak. Cripples, being humans, are the same way.

All this shot through my head in the five seconds or so between when the funeral director asked me if $10,000 was all right and I replied, “Yes, it’s fine.”

I didn’t exactly play hardball. But at least I learned something.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Crippled Enough to Collect

I’m thinking about finally applying to collect some of that cripple Social Security I’ve been paying into for all these years. But I’m afraid.

I’m afraid the Social Security people will decide I’m not crippled enough to qualify to collect cripple Social Security. You would think that if anyone is crippled enough to qualify to collect, it would be me, right? But not necessarily. Because over the past few decades, many dedicated advocates have tirelessly campaigned to prove to the world that if given the opportunity, cripples are capable of performing just about any job. And in so doing they may have fucked things up for the rest of us.

Because in order to collect cripple Social Security, you can’t just be crippled. Oh no. You have to be so crippled that you are unable to work. That means, according to Social Security standards, that you can longer do whatever work that you did previously and you also cannot transition into doing any other kind of work.

Well hell, if you insist on being that picky about it, then maybe nobody is crippled enough to collect cripple Social Security anymore. Because, theoretically, even cripples who are in a permanent vegetative state can work, if given the opportunity. They can get jobs as casino greeters. We can park them in their gurneys right inside the entrance and hang signs around their necks that say WELCOME TO THE CASINO.

And also over the past few decades, miraculous advances in technology have made it possible for just about every cripple to work, dammit. Pretty much every cripple can operate a computer. I’ve seen news stories about cripples who can’t move or talk or do anything but blink but if you put this special high-tech skullcap on their heads they can operate a computer with their brainwaves. So these cripples can probably do data entry, if given the opportunity.

And of course everybody knows about legendary, inspiring crippled role models like Stephen Hawking and Helen Keller. They prove that you are never too crippled to be productive. So I’m afraid I’ll go to the Social Security office and the Social Security people will be inspired by these great role models to turn me down for cripple Social Security and tell me to go get a job as a casino greeter.

Being crippled no longer comes with the automatic assumption that we are unable to work. What a pain in the ass that is.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Racist Clowns

Apparently there was a law passed way back when requiring every racist to wear a clown suit whenever they go out in public. That would explain why they dress as ridiculously as they do.

I’ve seen pictures. They drape themselves with white sheets that look like cheap-ass homemade Halloween ghost costumes. But before they don the sheets I guess they put on those hats like the pope wears and this makes them look like cheap-ass Halloween ghosts with skulls shaped like arrowheads. The racist clown suit looks exaggerated, absurd and ominous so as to distinguish the racist clowns from the regular clowns

In the light of history, the purpose of this law is clear. Racists tend to be unhappy, unpleasant people. So it’s in the public interest to make them easy to identify in case you want to avoid them. It’s like tying tin cans to the legs of a rabid wolf to warn the villagers of its approach. And so if one wishes to escape racism, which is a reasonable sentiment, all one has to do is flee to an area where no one wears these racist clown suits. That’s why in previous decades, African Americans from the south moved north to places like here in Chicago. I never saw a real live person wearing a racist clown suit up here so that means there is absolutely no racism here.

The clown suit laws are also useful in helping us quantify the progress we are making as a nation regarding race relations. It’s simple arithmetic. How many people are wearing racist clown suits this year? Now compare that to the number of people who wore racist clown suits last year. If the number of people wearing racist clown suits today is less than the number that wore them last year, then we are a less racist nation. It’s encouraging to see, when applying this standard of measurement, that we have reached the point in America where racism has practically disappeared!

I personally also find that the racist clown suit law helps me reflect within myself when it comes to my own racism, which is something we all must do. Sometimes, when there’s so much talk of racism in the news, I wonder if I could possibly be racist. So I ask myself if I wear a racist clown suit. And the answer is always a resounding no! Not in any way, shape or form! Therefore, I know that I could not possibly be racist. Not in any way, shape or form!

And then I feel a lot better.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

The Cripple Nobility Spectrum

All cripples are noble. Society deems it to be so, so it is so.

This means that if you are or become crippled, along with it comes an automatic assumption of exalted moral character. This nobility cannot be renounced. It’s part of the package, whether we like it or not. But it can be squandered. And not all cripples are equally noble. Some are nobler than others. And the nobler we are, the more charity society is willing to bestow upon us.

For the status of noblest of the noble, it’s pretty much a tie between crippled war vets and Down syndromes types. War vets are noble because they became crippled in such a selfless and heroic manner. Down syndrome types are noble because they’re just so gosh darn innocent. Nobody can speak ill of crippled war vets and Down syndrome types without sounding like a real asshole.

In the middle of the nobility spectrum are physical cripples like me who we’re born this way or acquired our crippledness via disease or unfortunate accident. The noble trait we share with the war vets and Down syndrome types is that we are crippled through no fault of own. But we lose nobility points when pitted against war vets because crippledness just came our way. We didn’t do anything heroic to bring it on. And we can’t compete with the Down syndrome types because whereas yes, technically, we too are innocent, we aren’t gosh darn innocent.

On the next rung down are those who became crippled because they did something stupid or reckless, like somebody who is a quad because they tried to win a bet by skateboarding standing on their head. These cripples are not innocent. They brought crippledness on themselves by taunting it. Also in this category are gangbangers who get shot in a drug deal gone bad and become crippled. No hero point there.

And the least noble of all are the psychologically crippled like schizophrenics. No points for innocence here either. I don’t know why this is. There seems to be this idea that it’s a matter of will, like if you try hard enough and take more personal responsibility you won’t be schizophrenic anymore. Thus, these are the least noble and therefore least sympathetic cripples of all. There are certain times when hordes of cheery volunteers with slotted cans invade the streets of Chicago soliciting funds for this village for Down syndrome types. But I’ve never been approached by a cheery volunteer with a slotted can soliciting funds for schizophrenics.

Nevertheless, we live in a compassionate society where every cripple automatically receives at least some benefit of the doubt and some degree of nobility. We squander it by acting uppity. And the less nobility we have the easier it is to squander. All schizophrenics have to do is say boo and that’s it, no more sympathy for you guys! On the other hand, if the Down syndrome types wanted to squander their vast reserves of nobility, it would pretty much require a million of them marching on Washington and taking a shit in unison on the White House lawn. The same is true for war vets. If that ever happened, then it would finally be socially acceptable to speak ill of them without sounding like a real asshole. And no more cheery volunteers with slotted cans.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Why Cripples Shouldn't Get Restaurant Discounts

Old people get a lot of free or discount shit just for being old, as if they did anything to achieve that status other than not die. Cripples also get some free or discount shit just for being crippled, even though some of us achieved our status by doing stupid stuff, like diving drunk and naked into a shallow creek.

But old people get a whole lot more free and discount shit than cripples do. It’s no contest. Like restaurants give old people discounts all the time but I’ve never been to a restaurant that offered a cripple discount.

At first it doesn’t seem fair but when you look at it from a business perspective, it makes sense. Offering discounts to cripples could open a nightmarish Pandora’s Box. Old people are much more cut and dried than cripples. It’s much easier to tell who they are. They look a certain way and if you’re not sure if they’re old enough you can check their IDs. Case closed

But with cripples everything is much fuzzier. Like suppose an albino walks into a restaurant and demands the cripple discount. Is an albino crippled? A reasonable person would think not but you never know these days. There’s probably a court case somewhere where an albino sued for discrimination and won a million bucks. So every restaurant owner will have to have a law degree just to keep track of who’s legally crippled and who’s not. And what about keeping track of all the correct language? Is it okay to ask an albino if they are indeed an albino or do you have to call them something like pigmentally-challenged?

And it’s hard to fake being an old person. I suppose if someone wanted 10 percent off on a tuna melt or a free dessert bad enough they could put on a gray wig and make their voice all creaky and get an underground fake ID that says they were born in 1935. But any joker off the street can hop into a wheelchair in a flash and pretend to be paralyzed. It isn’t hard for somebody to pretend to be deaf and do some voodoo sign language by waving their arms around like they're being attacked by bees. About the only cripples you can trust to be authentic are the Down syndrome ones. That’s pretty hard to fake. But you can’t even be sure about that these days. I’ve read stories about kinky people who think it’s cool to be crippled so they have a surgeon saw off one of their limbs or something to make them crippled. It’s like getting sexual reassignment surgery. So there are probably some really kinky people out there who think it’s cool to have Down syndrome so they have a surgeon inject an additional chromosome into them and it turns them into a Down syndrome. Hey, stranger things have happened.

A fake old person can be easily exposed by sneaking up behind them and snatching off their wig. But suppose a suspicious restaurateur sneaks up behind a cripple and dumps him/her out of their wheelchair. What if it turns out to be a real cripple? There’s one whopper of a lawsuit right there.

So that’s why cripples shouldn’t get restaurant discounts. It would lead to economic chaos and the collapse of Western civilization

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Another Cutting-Edge Innovation from Smart Ass Cripple

People come up with a lot of cutting-edge innovations that are supposed to make life easier for cripples. But there’s usually a catch. Like for instance, I once saw a guy demonstrating this robotic arm that you can attach to your wheelchair and if you couldn’t use your arms anymore this arm could perform all the essential functions of the arms and hands for you. Two problems: First, it cost something like $40,000. And B, the hand was not designed to give the finger. So I don’t know how this guy could claim that his invention performed all the essential functions of the arms and hands when it couldn’t even give the finger. I should have reported him to the FDA.

But I had a brilliant idea recently for a cutting-edge innovation that I know, based on my extensive experience as a cripple, will really and truly make life easier for millions of cripples worldwide. And I hope some visionary venture capitalist or hedge fund hedgehog will see the universal usefulness of my cutting-edge innovation and put gobs of cash behind developing it.

My idea is a designated driver smart phone app for cripples. There have been times when I’ve had a few too many and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to drive home. I’m not talking about driving my car. I’m talking about driving my wheelchair. Now this isn’t too much of a problem for cripples in wheelchairs that they push themselves. If they're shit-faced, somebody else can just push them home. But it’s a serious problem for those of us who use motorized wheelchairs. These things are a bitch to push. So cripples who download this app would pay a monthly subscription fee but it will bring them great peace of mind knowing that if they reach the point where they can’t drive home, all they have to do is tap the app. And then a designated driver will be promptly dispatched to their location whereupon this driver will sit on the drunken cripple’s lap and drive their wheelchair home.

These designated drivers will receive extensive training in wheelchair operation. Most everybody who has never driven a motorized wheelchair thinks any old mope can just hop in one and take off. That’s what they think until they actually try to drive one and immediately proceed to smash a hole in the wall. It takes time and practice to learn how to drive a motorized wheelchair, especially whilst perched upon its passed out occupant.

Go ahead and laugh. But I’ll have the last hearty laugh five years from now when the sight of designated drivers sitting on the laps of wasted cripples and piloting them home is commonplace. And who’ll be the one laughing when my cutting-edge innovation wins me the Nobel Fucking Peace Prize, huh?

So okay now all you visionary venture capitalists and hedge fund hedgehogs out there. It’s your move.

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