Monday, November 20, 2017

Here's to you, Shit Haulers!



Thanksgiving always reminds me of horseshit, in a good way.

There’s this Thanksgiving Day parade every year in downtown Chicago and they stage it on the streets around the building where I live. And since the parade is full of horses, after the parade is over, there’s horseshit on the streets.

And then I go spend Thanksgiving with my family in the part of Indiana where a lot of Amish live. And because the Amish ride around in horse-drawn buggies, there’s a lot of horseshit on the streets there, too.

When I return home all the horseshit is gone, which means that someone came out on Thanksgiving in the cold and cleaned it up. And it reminds me to give thanks for all the unsung heroes in this country and all over the world who clean up and haul away everybody’s shit.

Shit haulers don’t just clean up the streets. They empty out our port-a-potties and pump our septic tanks. They toil in our stables and kennels and on our dairy and pig farms.

Shit haulers have a proud heritage. Hell, shit hauling may even be the world’s oldest profession. Now granted, the job market for shit haulers may not be as robust as it was in the days of yore, when all transportation was horse or oxen drawn and royalty excreted in chamber pots. But as long as there is shit, there will always be plenty of call for people to haul it away, until such time as there are shit-hauling robots.

So we all better pray like he'll that the shit haulers never form a union, like the United Brotherhood of Shit Haulers. Because if they do they can rule the fucking world. Imagine if all the shit haulers all around the world went on strike simultaneously. Shit would pile up all over the place and we'd all have typhoid or something. Or even worse, we’d all have to clean up and haul away our own shit.

So here’s to you, shit haulers! Thank you for your service. Where the hell would we be without you? You keep the world turning.



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Saturday, November 11, 2017

First they Came for our Parking

Someone was parked in the cripple parking spot, just as blatantly and brazenly as could be. No cripple license plate, no placard hanging from the rearview mirror, no nothing. Now of course I’ve experienced this kind of thing before. What kind of professional cripple would I be if I hadn’t?

But this one was different. This one was an omen. There was nobody in the car and it was just an ordinary sedan of some sort. But I knew the car had to belong to a white supremacist. I mean, it made perfect sense, what with all the political shit that’s be going on the last year or so. You never hear white supremacists spew venom about cripples per se, but you know we’re on their shit list. We have to be, right? If we weren’t, it would make a mockery of the concept of supremacy. If I wanted to join one of their fucked up little fraternities, like the KKK, I bet they wouldn’t let me because I’m crippled. I could be the most hateful sonuvabitch on the planet and it wouldn’t be enough. It takes more than just hate to be one of them.

Whenever you see those pointy-headed assholes marching in their robes, none of them are ever in a wheelchair or tapping a white cane. They never have sign language interpreters at their rallies.

So it's logical that they would see reserved cripple parking as a major threat. Reserved cripple parking is always in the best location in the parking lot, right by the front door and everything. If I was a white supremacist, I would think that those spaces belonged to me, dammit! They’re my goddam birthright! My ancestors built this fucking parking lot!

And all these pea-brains are feeling especially emboldened these days because they have so many kindred spirits in high places. So it's also logical that taking back the prime parking spaces would be high on their social agenda.

This is just the opening salvo. I don’t think the white supremacists will be content with merely seizing our real estate and leaving us to fend for ourselves. That’s not nearly spiteful enough. Today they're appropriating our parking spaces. But tomorrow there will be a cripple Trail of Tears. They’ll round us all up and march us all off to be confined in reservations (aka nursing homes).


I looked at this bland sedan and felt much more than the usual piss offedness. I was steeped in a deep sense of inevitable doom. Ever since that fucked up election of about a year ago, I dreaded this day would come.





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Sunday, November 5, 2017

If I Had a Stephen Hawking Talking Box


If you're wondering what to get me for Christmas, I'd sure love to have one of those Stephen Hawking talking boxes. I don’t really need one but I think it would be a fun toy to have and I’m kind of bored.

The main reason I want my very own Stephen Hawking signature talking box is I believe it would make me a lot funnier. Because those things prove that old saying, “It’s all in the delivery.” Like suppose I tell somebody to fuck off. It’s a lot funnier if I say it with a Stephen Hawking talking box, don’t you think? What with that deadpan robot voice and all?

Imagine Stephen Hawking doing stand-up comedy. He could tell a bunch of stale old mother-in-law jokes. It wouldn’t matter. It would be hilarious coming from him. Or better yet, imagine him as a ventriloquist. His dummy tells a bunch of stale old mother-in-law jokes in a robot voice and Hawking never moves his lips, or anything else for that matter. I’d laugh so hard I’d probably piss my pants. I can’t remember the last time a ventriloquist had that effect on me.

Back before there we talking boxes, cripples who couldn’t talk had to communicate using much more primitive methods. A lot of them had alphabet boards, like my friend Rafferty. He’d point to letters on this board and spell stuff out. It took forever to communicate a simple thing, especially if the cripple couldn’t spell worth shit. For shortcuts, Rafferty had a bunch of frequently used phrases (FUPs) on the flipside of his board so he could communicate important things with a single finger point. The two Rafferty FUPs I remember were I have to go to the bathroom and I want a Southern Comfort Manhattan.

I imagine you can do the same with a Stephen Hawking talking box. Just push a button and it says one of the many FUPs you’ve programmed in. I know the first FUP I’d program into my Stephen Hawking talking box would be fuck off. But I know that sooner or later I’d end up in big trouble because I’d lose my cool and tell a cop to fuck off. And it would probably piss off a cop twice as much to be told to fuck off by a Stephen Hawking talking box than it would otherwise. So I’d have another handy FUP that would say, I’m sorry, officer. I’m spastic and I accidentally pushed the wrong button. I meant to say thank you for your service.



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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

When the Rights of Cripples Clash with the Rights of Sea Turtles


It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even drink a beer without feeling guilty about how such a thoughtless, selfish action on my part might be causing great harm to poor little sea turtles.

I got this goddam email alert from some friends-of- the-environment organization urging me to sign a petition demanding that McDonald’s to stop using plastic straws. The email said straws end up being a major source of ocean pollution and they often end up lodged in the nostrils of sea turtles or the throats of seabirds.

Damn! What a disturbing image that is! But hell no, I won’t be signing. The only reason I go to McDonald’s is for the straws. The food is shit but the straws are great! They’re sturdy and durable. And they’re so cheery with their red and yellow stripes.

And the best thing about McDonald’s straws is they’re free. That means a helluva lot to people like me who drink everything through a straw because we’re crippled. We don’t fit the profile of your typical arrogant, frivolous homo sapiens who use straws willy-nilly and then toss them away. For us, using straws is a necessity! Thus, we are constantly replenishing our personal straw stashes. And nobody pays for straws, just like nobody pays for pens or coat hangers. You just accumulate them as you go through life. Hey, it’s a brutal world out there. You gotta grab free shit whenever you can!

So the only reason I go to McDonald’s is so I can snatch a shitload of free straws. Sometimes I’ll order the cheapest thing on the menu like a shitty little hamburger if I’m afraid snatching straws might get me busted for shoplifting. Someday I’ll get up the guts to do it at the drive-thru. “Gimme two chicken nuggets and a shitload of straws.”

So without plentiful sources of free straws, like McDonald’s, I could easily shrivel up from dehydration and blow away. Or I could go broke buying straws. I feel the need to organize a political alliance of straw users, including people who are temporary straw users, like those recovering from a broken jaw. I respect the rights of all creatures, including sea turtles. I would certainly feel awful if a straw embedded in one of their nostrils could be traced back to me, using DNA testing. But what about me? Don’t I have rights, too?





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Thursday, October 19, 2017

I'd Rather Have my Leg Cut Off



If I wasn’t already crippled and had to choose to become crippled either by amputation or spinal cord injury, I’d choose amputation any old day. It must be a helluva lot easier becoming an amputee than a quad because the media doesn’t put as much shit in your head.

If you’re a quad, the media has put forth lots of role models for you to follow. And that’s the problem. Remember when Christopher Reeve fell off his horse? Or how about all those people who get spinal cord injuries playing football? There are always always always media stories about how these courageous people are determined to overcome their injuries and return to their glory days of uncrippledness.

So if I was freshly crippled due to spinal cord injury, I’d be inclined to think that my primary obligation as a cripple to myself and everybody else was to become uncrippled as soon as humanly possible. Anything less is a dereliction of duty. So I’d be inclined to spend a thousand hours a week working out in a physical therapy gym in a quest to fulfill my obligation to society.

I’m glad Stephen Hawking didn’t feel that way. It would be pretty fucked up if he spent all day sitting motionless in a physical therapy gym instead of pondering the universe and shit. I’m glad we don’t see him being interviewed on television with the robot voice of his talking box saying, “I will not rest until I can talk again.”

But anyway, suppose when Christopher Reeve fell off his horse he ended up having to have his leg cut off instead. That would have caused the media’s head to explode. They wouldn’t have had a clue what to do with that. Because if Christopher Reeve vowed to do whatever it takes to grow his leg back, even the media would’ve thought that was silly. We all would’ve just had to accept the new normal of a one-legged Christopher Reeve. You can’t spin it any other way.

That’s why I bet it’s a helluva lot easier to become crippled via amputation. You’re allowed to advance immediately to the stage of accepting your new crippled self and figuring out what it all means. You can get on with it. There aren’t any role models in the media fucking everything up.






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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Holbrook's Cripple Nicknames


Holbrook was a guy who lived in my dorm when I was in college. He came from one of those teeny towns where there are no cripples, so I doubt that he ever got a good look at a cripple until he got to college. But he made up lots of funny nicknames for many of the crippled students he saw puttering around campus. The nicknames were sort of like smart ass secret service code names. To me that was a sure sign that he felt really comfortable around cripples or really uncomfortable. I’m not sure which.

There was one cripple that propelled his wheelchair by pushing it backwards with his feet. Holbrook called him Crawdaddy. There was another cripple Holbrook often saw eating in the dorm mess hall. This cripple tilted his head far back and his feeder dropped food into his open mouth. Holbrook called this cripple Baby Bird.

There was another cripple who always walked really fast and on the tips of her toes like she was walking on hot coals. Holbrook called her Hot Foot. And there was another cripple who also walked weird. He swayed from side to side and waved his arms around and did lots of involuntary fancy footwork. Holbrook called him Fred Astaire.

More than once I told Holbrook I wanted to know what his cripple nickname was for me. But he always insisted that he didn’t have one. “Come on!” I said. “You can tell me! I can take it!” But he just held up his hands, all innocent and shit.

When I asked other guys around the dorm what Holbrook’s nickname for me was, they all said he didn’t have one. I was convinced that they all entered into a secret pact to never divulge to a cripple his/her Holbrook nickname. It’s much funnier that way. But eventually I started to believe that maybe Holbrook really hadn’t come up with anything for me. I felt kind of insulted.

But as I look back, I can see where I might have been a stumper for Holbrook. As cripples go, I’m pretty one-dimensional. I ride around in a motorized wheelchair and that’s about it.

You can’t really call me Spazzo. And I don’t drool, at least not when I’m sober. I don’t walk weird. I don’t walk at all. And there’s nothing weird about the way I don’t walk.

I have kind of a big head. But that doesn’t have anything to do with me being crippled. If I was cured, I’d still have a big head. And it’s not grotesquely big. You can’t rightfully call me the Wizard of Oz or anything like that.

My trunk balance is poor, which makes me pretty floppy. Holbrook maybe could have riffed on that and called me Scarecrow or Jellyfish. My legs are thin and spindly. If Holbrook saw me wearing shorts, that might have inspired something in him. Flamingo Legs?

But that’s a real stretch. Try as he might, if Holbrook pondered a cripple nickname for me, he probably couldn’t come up with anything better than That Crippled Guy Down the Hall.




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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Your Incontinence Will Not Save You



I talked to this guy who’s as crippled as I am and he told me all about how he spent several years in prison. He said he was set up. Someone used him as a drug mule without him knowing it.

This guy needs as much help as I do. He needs someone to drag his ass out of bed every morning, lift him on and off the crapper, etc. But they still sent his ass to prison!

Damn! That’s cold! There are a lot of things that I figure being crippled will probably get me out of. Like for instance, carjacking. I wouldn’t be too worried if someone came up to me in my cripple van and said, “Get out of the car, motherfucker!” Because I would say, “Well okay, I’m happy to oblige. But just give me a sec while my driver here comes around and unhooks the safety restraints securing my wheelchair. Then we’ll deploy the ramp so I can exit through the sliding passenger door and you’ll be on your way. It shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes. Stand back now. I wouldn’t want the ramp to swing out and hit your tootsies.” By that time, the carjacker would say fuck it and go jack the next guy.

Being an incontinent cripple will get you out of even more stuff. Flaunting your incontinence comes in real handy in those moments in life when you want people to just back the hell off. Often I wish I had a t-shirt that says, I AM INCONTINENT, even though I’m not. If a carjacker saw me in that shirt he’d probably take off running before he could even say, “Get out of the car, motherfucker!” I would also wear that shirt when I’m sitting on a plane and the other passengers are filing in and I bet you a million nobody would sit next to me unless it was absolutely the last fucking seat on the whole damn plane. And even then they’d probably say to the flight attendant, “That’s okay. I’ll stand. I’m good.”

And I would for sure wear that shirt if I was in court being sentenced for a crime. I would hope it would make the judge and the prosecutor say to themselves, “Damn, this guy’s incontinent, too? We don’t want to deal with all that. Let’s just give him probation or something.”

Maybe that crippled guy who went to prison should have pleaded incontinence, even though he’s not. Maybe that would have saved him. But then again, maybe not. The judge and prosecutor might’ve said hell with it; he can go to prison and piss his pants. There may be times when even incontinence isn’t enough to get you off the hook.



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