Thursday, June 23, 2016

Take the Lipstick Test, if you Dare

If you’re not crippled, do you ever wonder what kind of cripple you would be if you were crippled? If you're already are crippled, do you ever wonder what kind of cripple you already are?

Well then you should take The Lipstick Test. That will tell you everything you need to know. Here’s how it works: Imagine you’re so crippled that you can’t even put on lipstick. (Or maybe you already are that crippled. I know I am.) Maybe you’re so spastic that you can’t put on lipstick without making your face look like a roadmap. Or maybe you were born without arms. Or maybe you lost your arms because you were in a horrible accident or because you got drunk and tried to dance with a bear. Or maybe you have arms but they’re so crippled up you can’t even put on lipstick.

Whatever. When faced with this obstacle, which of the following cripples would you be (or are you)?

The Resourceful Cripple
: The resourceful cripple heads straight to the drawing board to devise a means to facilitate the independent, hands-free application of lipstick. The solution may be low tech. Maybe a wire coat hanger is fashioned into a lipstick applicator wand with a clamp on each end. The upper clamp holds the lipstick tube firmly in place at mouth level and the bottom clamp mounts the wand to the makeup table. The resourceful cripple bellies up to the makeup table, removes the cap of the tube using her/his teeth and applies the lipstick by maneuvering her/his lips around the lipstick as opposed to the traditional method of vice versa. Or the solution may be high tech. The resourceful cripple invents a voice-operated lipstick applicator drone. A tube of lipstick hangs down on a wire from the bottom of the drone. Upon command the drone takes flight and hovers in front of the resourceful cripple’s face while she/he applies the lipstick by maneuvering her/his lips around the lipstick as opposed to the traditional method of vice versa.

The Fuck-it Cripple: The fuck-it cripple says fuck it. She/he says, “Why should I expend so much of my time and energy trying to put on lipstick? I have so many more important things to do. I’ll just hire an assistant to put my lipstick on me.”

The Sour Grapes Cripple: The sour grapes cripple also says fuck it. She/he says, “Wearing lipstick is stupid. I’m not taking part in that idiotic ritual and anybody who doesn’t want to kiss my bare lips can kiss my bare ass!” The difference between a sour grapes cripple and a fuck-it cripple is money. A fuck-it cripple is a sour grapes cripple who can afford to hire an assistant.

The Cure-me Cripple: The cure-me cripple heads straight to the physical therapy gym and/or church, determined to be made whole once again. She/he spends 80+ hours a week exercising and/or praying. “Please God, if you give me my arms back I promise I’ll never again get drunk and try to dance with a bear.”

The Kill-me Cripple: The kill-me cripple heads straight to Switzerland in search of assisted suicide. The kill-me cripple says, “If I can’t apply lipstick anymore, life isn’t worth living! The indignity is unbearable! I’d rather die from a physician-prescribed lethal dose of barbiturates than die from the embarrassment of being crippled!”

Now that you’ve taken the lipstick test, what kind of cripple would you be (or are you already)? I hope this exercise was as enlightening for you as it was for me.







Thursday, June 16, 2016

Old Broken Down Waterpiks for Kripples

The day just started and already I’m feeling overwhelmed. All I did was roll from my bed to my bathroom sink and I’m ready to throw up my hands and go back to bed.

My Waterpik is busted! I thought I’d begin the day on a positive note with a refreshing blast from my mouth bidet. But all it did when I flipped the switch was grumble and die. So now I’m saddled with an albatross because you can’t just toss electric devices in the garbage anymore. It’s not environmentally correct. It accelerates the melting of the arctic ice and I don’t want to be an accomplice to that. Proper procedure is to take electric devices to one of the state-sanctioned electric device recycling centers and God knows where the hell those are. I guess I’ll have to look it up. Meanwhile , I’ll toss the Waterpik on the pile in the attic with the old phone and answering machine and clock radio and all the old broken down electric devices that I can’t just toss in the garbage anymore goddammit. That pile is getting bigger. Someday it’s bound to all come crashing down through the ceiling and kill somebody. It really makes me sad.

And it’s not like there’s some charity I can call to come haul the damn thing away, like Kars for Kids. There isn’t any charity called Old Broken Down Waterpiks for Kids or Kripples or anybody else as far as I know. So I’m on my own here. Now if I was an enterprising person I would see this as an opportunity to get rich, one of those lemons/lemonade crossroads in life. I would seize the bull by the udders and start milking! Maybe I’d start up a charity like Goodwill and I’d collect old broken down Waterpiks and employ an army of cripples to repair them or take them apart for scap metal or something. I’m not sure how starting a charity will make me rich but hey, if other people can do it, so can I!

I can call it therapy. I can say I’m using old broken down Waterpiks to help cripples improve their motor skills. How could anybody not be in favor of helping cripples improve their motor skills, unless they’re a communist?

People will donate their old broken down Waterpiks to me by the truckload! “Your generous contribution not only helps cripples improve their motor skills but it also preserves the arctic ice!” It’s a philanthropic twofer!

But I know what will happen if I try to pursue that dream. I’ll never take the second step. I could maybe rouse myself up enough to collect a million old broken down Waterpiks. But I’ll never have the patience or attention span it takes to recruit and employ hundreds of cripples with shitty motor skills. So instead of being stuck with one old broken down Waterpik, I’ll be stuck with a million. I’ll be surrounded by a million brutal reminders of how disgustingly unenterprising I am and why I’ll never be rich.







Tuesday, June 7, 2016

An Adolescent Mistake


Sometimes the cost of living as a cripple can really bring a guy down. Like I just had to fork over $120 for a new goddam wheelchair safety belt!

At times like that I’m filled with melancholy and I reflect back with regret on some of the poor financial decisions I made in my life, especially in my adolescence. Like instead of being a broke-ass writer, I should have channeled my youthful energy into doing something that would’ve made me really really fucking rich!

And maybe I shouldn’t have blown the one and only chance I had in my life to obtain my very own free copy of Barbi Benton’s record album, personally autographed by Barbi herself.

Unlike me, when Barbi Benton was young she made a very wise career decision designed to make her really really fucking rich. She became Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend. That’s a really high-paying job, especially nowadays. Barbi was uniquely qualified for the position, if you know what I mean. I’m sure when the other applicants in the waiting room of the personnel office got a load of her cleavage, they all threw up their arms in defeat and went home. No contest.

So one afternoon in the 1970s I was at a department store with my mother and I went to the record section. But the record section was crowded as hell. There was a big hullabaloo going on. So I went to check it out. This woman saw me and elected herself to be the one to clear a path for me. She parted the wall of bodies like Moses and there was buxom Barbie perched on a stool, her album on display beside her. And then the woman said, “Barbi, look!” And she pointed to me. Barbi’s eyes met mine. I don’t remember what Barbi and I said to each other but I believe it was something like, “Hi.”

The next thing I remember was getting the hell out of there fast because I could feel a cripple photo op coming on— Barbi decides to make my day by posing with me and her album. And the heartwarming photo goes out on the newswires all over the world. And my friends give me shit about it for the rest of my life.

But oh how I now wish I would have stuck around long enough to get an autographed album. I probably could’ve even gotten one for free— the pity discount.

It could be worth a bundle today. How many autographed Barbi Benton albums can there still be in existence? It could be one of those items of memorabilia that’s so worthless that it eventually becomes priceless, like a Monkees lunchbox.

You never know. Sometimes silly shit like that ends up being worth more than the Mona Lisa. I could auction off my autographed Barbi Benton album to the highest bidder and buy enough damn ridiculously jacked up wheelchair safety belts to choke a horse.



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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Big Cripple on Campus

There’s a very scary neighborhood on the north side of town. I try to avoid going there at all costs.

In this neighborhood is a gated community that looks like a cozy gingerbread village. It’s a home for rescue cripples. It’s run by nuns.

In this gingerbread bread village I imagine they treat their rescue cripples like I treat my rescue dog. I treat my rescue dog very well. He gets plenty of food. He has a warm bed and an arsenal of toys. My rescue dog is well taken care of. But I never let him outside without a leash. First and foremost, I must keep him safe.

He’s a rescue dog because somebody gave him up. But that’s okay. There are plenty of people who take in dogs like him. And I call the cripples in the gingerbread village rescue cripples because somebody gave them up. And the nuns took them in.

Seeing that gingerbread village unsettles me so much because I think of how with a wee twist of fate I could’ve ended up as one of those rescue cripples. There but for the grace of the fictitious God go I. When I was a kid my mother hauled my crippled ass everywhere. And my crippled sister’s ass too. My mother got us dressed and out of bed and flung us into the car and flung our wheelchairs into the tailgate and drove us around. But suppose my mother got run over by a bus or just threw her back out or something. Bam! That’s it! My sister and I become instant rescue cripples. At that time about the only option for a crippled kid or adult with no family to take care of them was to surrender to the nuns.

And living in a place like that, I never would’ve gotten laid. That’s probably the number one responsibility of nuns and others who watch over flocks of rescue cripples —to make sure nobody gets laid. It’s the opposite of panda breeding. We put pandas in captivity together because we want them to fuck and multiply. We put rescue cripples in captivity together because we don’t want them to fuck. The involuntary vow of chastity is easily enforced. I don’t imagine rescue cripples get many opportunities to get laid. I don’t think the rescue cripple group field trips go to singles’ bars. And nobody who’s out cruising to get laid stops by the home for rescue cripples. And if they did I’d wonder about them. It would be the old Groucho dilemma: I wouldn’t join a club that would have me as a member.

And who knows, if I ended up in the gingerbread village I might’ve been the big cripple on campus, what with my leadership abilities and all-- president of the residents’ council, the whole works. And today I’d be the venerable elder statesman. I might have adjusted to the rescue cripple lifestyle quite nicely and lived a safe and comfortable life, never knowing what I was missing.

And that’s what scares me most.




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Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Very Important First Responder Saves the World with an Assist from Smart Ass Cripple

I like to think that because I rode a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus one day a few years back, I probably saved the world. Or at least I should be credited with an assist. The guy who probably saved the world that day couldn’t have done it without my help.

Because when I ride the bus it takes me a minute or so longer to board than it takes the average biped. The bus driver flips a switch that deploys a ramp. I roll aboard. I maneuver into one of the wheelchair slots. While I was doing all this, this guy came running from around the corner. He waved his arms frantically like people do when they’re running to catch the bus. And judging by the look of urgency on his face, he was a very important first responder on his way to thwart an imminent terrorist attack and if he didn’t catch this very bus it would mean certain annihilation for us all! Now of course it’s true that everybody running to catch a city bus has that same look on their face. But maybe this time it was actually the case.

The guy caught the bus. And a few blocks later he got off. And there was no terrorist attack that day.

But he never would’ve caught the bus if it hadn’t been for me. If this had been the dark days of about 30 short years ago, when there were no CTA buses accessible for wheelchair cripples, that bus would have been long gone. And the terrorists would’ve won! Because there wouldn’t have been anyone like me in the mix to clog up the works long enough for the important first responder to catch that bus. Back in the dark days, while everyone else rode the CTA, the acronym for the public transit system for wheelchair cripples in Chicago was SOL. And there were some politicians and media people who thought that making mainline buses accessible for wheelchair cripples to ride them was a really stupid idea. They issued dire warnings in the newspapers about how wheelchair cripples will clog up the works if we let them ride the CTA. Wheelchair cripples will wreak havoc on the precisely-timed bus schedules with our poky asses, they said. This will lead to rioting in the streets followed by widespread looting and arson, the collapse of the western economy and decades of famine. At the time, my only rebuttal to those harboring this selfish attitude was as follows: Fuck off. But now, after many years of riding CTA buses, I have formulated an additional rebuttal for the selfish: For every passenger who gets to their destination later than they would have if a wheelchair cripple hadn't clogged up the works, there’s another passenger who gets to their destination a lot sooner than they would have if a wheelchair cripple hadn’t clogged up the works. So fuck off.




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Friday, May 13, 2016

Technically Human


In the top rank among the humans are the presumed humans. These are the humans who are humans by default. We know they are humans because they have a pulse. That’s the only qualification they need. They can pass Go. They can collect their $200.

Then come the declared humans. For them to enter the game, just having a pulse isn’t sufficient. They also require some sort of official action, be it legislative or judicial or what have you, declaring that they too are technically human to some degree or another. Presumed humans need not obtain any such additional credentials to establish their legitimacy. There has never been a need for a White Male Landowners Civil Right Act.

Being a cripple in the U.S.A., I am a declared human. I know that I am officially human because the Americans with Disabilities Act says I am human, more or less. The ADA declares that in the U.S.A., the uncrippled majority must accommodate the needs of cripples. Ah but there are caveats. Such accommodations must be “reasonable.” They must not impose an “undue” hardship or burden or cause a “fundamental alteration” in how another human conducts his/her business. So the ADA declares me to be fully human to the extent that it doesn’t inconvenience other humans too much. I must be "reasonable" about it.

So now I can pass Go. I can finally collect my $200 and I can go as far and as fast as my right to a reasonable accommodation will take me. But wait! What’s this I see? A swarm of presumed humans is coming up behind me fast! And now they’re lapping me on the game board! And they’ve already passed Go like a zillion times by now so they’ve all got about $200 zillion each! And they've already bought up all the property. But I’m just getting started! I’ll never catch up! Not even if I proceed at warp speed! And if I catch up too much the presumed humans may well accuse me of cheating. They’ll complain that I have been given an unfair advantage just because I'm crippled.

That’s how it is for us humans who had to wait to be declared. It’s a rigged race. The presumed humans have a huge head start. You've heard of that program for low income kids that’s called Head Start, right? Well I don't think it should be called that anymore. It should be called Trying Desperately to Catch the Fuck Up!



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Sunday, May 8, 2016

How to Recognize Missionary Love


Missionary love is a very dangerous thing. Don’t be a victim of missionary love. It’s important to know what missionary love is so you can protect yourself from it.

Missionary love is not when the man is always on top setting the pace and driving the action. That’s missionary sex. Missionary love is the opposite of unconditional love. Missionary love, by its nature, is very very conditional. Missionary love is an oxymoron.

Missionary love is humane dehumanization. Missionary love is the missionary brand of love. How do missionaries decide which far-flung locale to spread their missionary love? They don’t just close their eyes and stick a pin in the map. They pick places inhabited by poor doomed savages who haven’t heard the word of whatever brand of savior they are peddling. And the missionaries come and roll up their sleeves and serve the people. But they want something in return. There’s a reason they chose these particular savages. They want to save their souls. And when they do, mission accomplished.

Imperialistic corporate mega conglomerate love is also missionary love. How do imperialistic corporate mega conglomerates decide which far-flung locale to spread their love? They don’t just close their eyes and stick a pin in the map. Let’s say it’s an oil company. If an oil company chooses to invest zillions of bucks in your area, it’s not because they think you have a cute smile. It’s because you have oil. They want your oil and they want it all. And when they get it, mission accomplished.

And crippled poster child love is missionary love, especially when it’s another permutation of imperialistic corporate mega conglomerate missionary love, which it usually is. I was once a poster child so whenever I see smiling CEOs presenting crippled poster children with a cardboard check that’s the size of a billboard, it’s a surefire indicator that this is a textbook case of imperialistic corporate mega conglomerate missionary crippled poster child love. There’s a reason these CEOs choose these particular poster children to receive their cardboard checks and their missionary love. The CEOs want something from the poster children in return. They want their poster child innocence. They want whatever product or service they’re peddling to be associated with something so unassailably pure. And when they get it, mission accomplished.

Because I was a crippled poster child, I can recognize missionary love. It’s missionary love when it’s on a mission.




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