Friday, March 20, 2015

Which Person Here is the Future Famous Writer Who Will Someday Immortalize Me?

Here I go again. I’m playing that game that I often suddenly find myself playing in my head. The game is called: Which Person Here is the Future Famous Writer Who Will Someday Immortalize Me?

I waste a lot of time playing this game, like computer solitaire. But I can’t help it. It’s a coping mechanism, like computer solitaire.

I find myself playing this game when I’m in a public place and feeling conspicuous—on a bus, in a waiting room or someplace like that. So here I am at the corner pub I come to often. And oops, now I find myself wondering which person here is the future famous writer who will someday immortalize me? Could it be my server, the buxom black woman with the Angela Davis hair? She looks like the aspiring writer type. She has an engaged look in her eyes, like she’s always studying her surroundings. Or maybe it’s that guy few tables down, the spherical guy wearing a Philadelphia Phillies hat. He squeezes a huge sloppy burger tight with two hands, elbows planted firmly on the table. He doesn’t look like the aspiring writer type at all, which is exactly what aspiring writer types look like sometimes.

The undercover future famous writer could be anybody in this dining room. Or it could be someone I can’t even see, maybe like a cook or dishwasher back in the kitchen observing me on the security camera. But no, it’s probably my server. And how can she resist riffing on a conspicuous character like me? I roll in here every week or so with a range of different companions—male and female and young and old. My companions feed me. We laugh a lot. I drink beer through a straw

I bet my server bribed the hostess to put me at her table this time so she could collect material. It gives her an excuse to make note of what I order, or to circle by every now and then and maybe capture a snippet of dialogue. Should I indulge her? When she’s within earshot, should I make a keen observation or perhaps tell a dirty joke? Maybe I should order three shots of whiskey and chug them all through a straw or drop my head back like a baby bird and have my companion pour them down my throat. That’ll really give her something to write about!

When a crippled character based on me appears in her Pulitzer –worthy novel or play, what will my backstory be? Will I be a sage and my companions my acolytes? Will I be a stud and my companions my concubines? Will I be sick and frail and my companions my plain-clothed paramedics? Will I be an eccentric tycoon and my companions my sycophants?

And what will the critics say of the character I inspired? Unforgettable? Caustic but charming? Clichéd? Derivative of Ahab?

Or maybe none of the above. My server is probably not a soon-to-be-celebrated writer at all. She’s probably just a server, wishing I would quit showing off and pay the damn check so she can go the hell home.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

We All Have a Little Cripple in Our Blood

If you ever see me in a trance so deep that it seems like catatonia, don’t worry. I’ll snap out of it soon. I’m probably just watching my favorite imaginary TV show.

I have this free video streaming service that runs through my brain. The good part about it is that it carries all sorts of original programs that not only entertain me but also help me keep my sanity. The bad news is that the programs sometimes kick in at the damnedest most inconvenient times and places. They're usually triggered by stress brought on by encountering or remembering a certain type of ignoramus.

For example, my favorite show on my imaginary streaming service is simply entitled The Genealogy Show. The host is an affable, professorial genealogist. He’s bearded and 50ish. He smokes a pipe and wears a cardigan sweater. And the guest is always some cocky ignoramus who likes to pick on cripples and is in desperate need of some schooling. Like maybe as a kid he taunted crippled kids by calling them names like spaz or retard. Or maybe as an adult he taunts crippled adults by parking his car in our reserved spaces.

Host and guest sit in a warm den by a cozy fire. The guest looks defiant in the face of coercion, like a freshman in detention. And then comes the pivotal moment in every episode where the host says something like, “I discovered something fascinating about your family tree. It seems that your maternal great grandfather, Ezekiel, sustained a traumatic brain injury when he was struck in the head with a hammer by another farmer in a heated dispute over a sheep. This makes you 1/16th crippled.”

Then comes the emotion-packed moment of truth for the ignoramus. At first he/she feels the tearful joy of new-found kinship. But this is soon washed out by a tidal wave of shame for having picked so much on fellow cripples. But then joy returns with the realization that it’s not too late for redemption. And then the host says, as he says every episode, “And the moral of the story is, we all have a little cripple in our blood.”

The guest goes through a transformation of Scroogian proportions. Upon discovering a cripple reserved parking space, rather than snatching it up, he/she instead pulls out cans of blue, white and yellow paint and restores the faded markings.

The Genealogy Show doesn’t always have a happy ending. Sometimes the guest vehemently denies having any cripple at all in their blood and continues being an ignoramus, redoubling their efforts.

That’s when I watch my other favorite imaginary TV show, which is simply entitled The Lucky Number Lottery Show. It features the same guest, but this time the ignoramus dangles from the ankles by a rope above a tank full of pissed off sharks. Assembled are all the cripples that have ever been victims of his/her ignoramusness. Each cripple selects a number from a hat. And whomever draws the lucky number gets to cut the rope

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Friday, March 6, 2015

The Huwoman Race

Sometimes I wonder if curing polio was such a good thing for cripples. I mean for cripples individually, of course it was a good thing. But in terms of political strategy, I’m not so sure. It plays right into the hands of the supremacists.

If polio was still out there running around biting people in the ass, cripples would probably be running the world by now. Think of how many more millions of us there would be. It’s a matter of sheer volume. There would be too many of us to ignore, sort of like insects.

The prospect of cripples running the world will surely freak some people out beyond all end. I'm talking about those wacky supremacists again. Just about any shift in the tide freaks them out. I guess the supremacists assume that anybody who acquires a little power will act like the supremacists do.

Gay people getting married freaks them out because I guess they assume that once we open that door then someday soon the only kind of marriage that will be allowed will be gay marriage. Because whenever a group gains power they use it to assert their supremacy. That’s the whole point of having power.

The supremacists also freak out whenever a new mosque pops up. There’s a hospital around here called Christ hospital. When you call there you hear a recorded greeting in four languages: English, Spanish, Polish and Arabic. I bet that Arabic really freaks out certain supremacists. They can see that dark day coming soon when Christ hospital will become Allah hospital and the only medicine they will practice will be voodoo.

If the Indians take charge they’ll immediately change the name of the Washington football team to the Washington Trailer Trash and the logo will be a toothless hillbilly. And if women take over, that will really fuck things up royally because a strong and assertive woman = a dominatrix. We’ll all have to refer to ourselves as the huwoman race.

And if the cripples take over, look out. In this dystopia, everyone will be required to have a bathroom that’s as big as a dance hall and with those ugly monkey bars bolted to the wall around the toilet to boot. And this will be enforced by UN soldiers wearing blue helmets. Nothing shoots the hell out of property values like UN soldiers and ugly monkey bars.

So the supremacists ought to be damn grateful that polio was cured

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Shotgun Weddings

It’s coming soon to a town near you, especially if you live in the south.

It’s inevitable. It’s coming soon. Because that’s how life works. Whenever there is big social progress there’s always somebody who vows to stand in the way and be a diehard dick about it. And when dealing with the diehard dickiest of the diehard dicks, there’s only one thing you can do. You have to call in the troops.

It happened when the schools were ordered to be racially desegregated. Marshals had to escort little Ruby Bridges and big grown James Meredith to school.

And now courts are striking down same-sex marriage bans all over the place and you know that’s the kind of thing that brings out the diehard dicks. It already has. There have been counties in the south where public servants have refused to go along with it. So it’s inevitable that soon there will be same-sex shotgun weddings. Armed troops will have to escort James and James Meredith to the county courthouse to obtain their marriage license. And some diehard dick of a governor will grandstand, blocking the courthouse door and bellowing, "Heterosexuality now, heterosexuality tomorrow and heterosexuality forever!"

In a way I’m kind of jealous. There was no crippled Ruby Bridges. In 1976 Congress passed what is now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which says all cripplets are entitled to a free and appropriate education in the public school system. But when the first trickle of cripplets appeared in the public schools, there were no rabid protesters with signs reading CRIPPLET GO HOME. There was no adorable little poster girl, with crutches and leg braces and pigtails, being protected by marshals.

And so the moral of the story must be that once the federal government issued its mandates opening the doors of education to cripples, everyone happily and swiftly complied.

And now let us all pause and express our gratitude that all the parents who have fought like hell to get their cripplet kids into the best public schools did not read the above sentence all at once. Because if they had, the needle on the Richter scale would now be furiously bouncing from the vibration of them all simultaneously laughing their asses off.

No, the diehard dick educational obstructionism cripples bash into is much more covert. It happens on the administrative level rather than in the streets. It happens in offices and hearing rooms. A parent pushes a school district to give their cripplet child the education they deserve but the school district refuses to budge. And if the parent wants to go to court, it’s whatever lawyer they can afford versus all the lawyers of the school district. And so the parent fights a solitary battle that makes no headlines.

It’s an ingenious strategy that seals discontent in a vacuum and preserves the façade of benevolence. One wonders what might have happened had Bull Connor and all those guys been so shrewd. Suppose those guys handled civil rights protesters in the same way police usually handle cripples protesting for their rights. The threat police feel when crippled protesters approach is much different than the threat they feel when black protesters approach. When cripples approach, instead of reaching for their clubs and guns, the police reach for their rubber gloves. And when it comes time to arrest, the police usually escort the cripples over to a processing table, give them citations and send them home.

Suppose John Lewis and company had been greeted that way at the Pettis Bridge: “Good day Mr. Lewis. Please step right this way. Here is your citation. Now run along and have a nice day.” And the white people up north watching all this on television would say, “Aw now see there, Martha? That Jim Crow ain’t such a bad guy.” Maybe the diehard dicks would have prevailed.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

By Any Means Necessary

The new “gentlemen’s club” I passed on the street appeared to be perfectly accessible. It looked as if I could roll right in if I wanted to.

Dammit! I guess they don’t make gentlemen’s clubs inaccessible anymore, which is a real damn shame. It would be a lot of fun suing a gentlemen’s club for not being accessible. I would be reasonable in my demands.

There are lots of laws that require business owners to make sure that cripples have equal access to their goods and services. In the case of gentlemen’s clubs, strippers are the goods. Or is that a service? Hmmm. I suppose there are compellingly arguments for both sides. But anyway, in spite of what some will tell you, these laws don’t mean that every little downtrodden sole proprietor has to immediately install elevators and ramps. Like for instance, down the street from where I live is a pizza place with three steps on the entrance. But mounted by the door is a bell with a sign that has that wheelchair-riding stick figure on it and the sign says RING BELL FOR SERVICE. I rang it once just to see what would happen. Nothing happened. But I suppose the theory behind it is the cripple rings the bell and someone comes out and asks how they can help and the cripple says “I want a pizza” and the cripple waits outside until someone brings him/her a pizza.

In other words, if you can’t get the cripple to your goods and services, you can get your goods and services to the cripple by any means necessary. So that’s what I'll demand of the gentlemen’s club. Install one of those bells and someone will come out and ask how they can help and I’ll say “I want a lap dance.” And they’ll bring the strippers out to me and I’ll get my lap dance right there in the parking lot or maybe even in the warmth and comfort of my custom-designed cripple van. Sort of like ordering from a drive thru. In order to be fully accessible, the gentlemen’s club will also have to install dancing poles in the parking lot.

It’s not the strippers that motivate me. It’s the principle. This isn’t a quest for a lap dance. It’s a quest for justice. And also for a laugh.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Come Fly With Me and You Might Get Laid

Wanted: Someone to accompany and assist me when I fly. The job doesn’t pay much but there is travel involved. And if you play your cards right, you just might get laid.

You will assist me in transferring from my wheelchair to that torture chair airlines use to lug cripples onto planes. Then you’ll help transfer me into my airplane seat. And I always pack a lunch when I fly because I’ll be goddamned if I’ll pay $25 for an airport burrito. So once our plane is comfortably aloft you will feed me my lunch.

It’s inevitable that somebody, most likely a flight attendant, will refer to you as my son. It doesn’t matter whether you look like me or not. Manny is a dark-skinned Columbian with dreadlocks and a flight attendant called him my son. I understand. This is a curious social dynamic – a young man assisting an old man and the young man isn’t dressed like a nurse. What else could the young man be but my son?

And if you play your cards right, you just might get laid. Because some women are quite impressed by the sight of a young man being so respectfully attentive to a crippled old man. They find it very sexy. Or there may be other fringe benefits. Once a flight attendant was so impressed by the young man who helped my friend Larry off the plane that she gave that lucky young man a bunch of those little airline bottles of liquor.

I know there’s a chance you might get laid by tending to someone like me in public because I’ve seen it happen before. Back when I was a criplet, groups of service-minded teenagers took us on cripple field trips. I know some of the boys were in it to get laid. They were the ones who called me sport and tiger and big guy. They played up the strong but sensitive angle. It was the same way at Jerry Lewis summer camp. It still goes on today. I used to be insulted to be exploited this way but now I figure why fight it? Might as well use it to my advantage.

I might even be willing to ham it up a little while we fly if it will help seal the deal for you getting laid. I can pretend to shiver and you can take off your jacket a drape it over me.

Women are also encouraged to apply for this position though I’m much less confident that flying with me will eventually get you laid. Men are sometimes turned on by a woman who is dedicated and devoted in service of humanity, as long as she has a nice ass. Better off if you’re a lesbian.

Of course I make no guarantees that flying with me will get anyone laid. I can only create the opportunity. The rest is up to you. You can lead a horse to water, as they say.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Hyenas in my Closet

I try my best not to be a hypocrite when it comes to my fellow cripples. I really do. But sometimes it’s really fucking difficult.

I’m always bitching about how things aren’t accessible. So I figure when it’s time for me to make something accessible I have to practice what I preach. And nowadays if you’re going to make an event or venue fully cripple accessible it has to be chemical-free and scent-free. Because the human-made chemicals found in stuff like deodorants, perfumes and cleaning products really knock some people on their asses. It can make them gag and faint and it can be downright paralyzing. So an invitation to any event that is really and truly cripple accessible must ask attendees to please refrain from wearing scented products. This always stirs up angst for me because I don’t know if my deodorant officially qualifies as scent-free. I think it does but how can I know for sure? And I assume that I’m not supposed to show up wearing no deodorant at all. That would make people gag and faint too. So I put on a little deodorant and I figure if anybody gags or faints I’ll go wash off my pits. So far so good.

But the extent of my resolve not to be a hypocrite when it comes to my fellow cripples was really put to the test recently when my condo became overrun by ants. Ants all over the damn place. I had to get rid of them but I didn’t want to have an exterminator come spray my place with who knows what kind of God-awful chemicals that might make people gag and faint. I had to find a way to get rid of ants that was 100 percent natural and organic. I searched the internet far and wide and I finally found a company in Papua New Guinea that had a treatment for getting rid of ants that was guaranteed to be 100 percent natural and organic. So I gave them my credit card info and shortly thereafter a package arrived from Papua New Guinea. It was a crate containing two live anteaters.

Well those Papua New Guinea people sure were right. The anteaters sucked up my ants like nobody’s business and before I knew it all the ants were gone. But then I had a new problem. Starving anteaters. There were no more ants for them to eat and anteaters are the pickiest fucking eaters on earth. I tried feeding them everything from Doritos to marshmallows but all they eat is ants and the occasional termite.

So what else could I do? I went back on the internet and placed an order for several hundred thousand ants. I scattered them throughout my condo and soon the anteaters made a comeback.

But then I had a new problem. I discovered that when anteaters are happy and well-fed, they’re horny little mofos. Now I was overrun by anteaters. So I looked up a list of anteater predators and determined that the most potentially domesticatible was the hyena.

So now I have a pair of hyenas in my closet. (Fortunately, the internet is like the black market. You can find anything if you look long and hard enough.) I’ve learned two fantastic things about hyenas. One is they love to watch sports and two is they don’t eat very much or very often. Chowing down on two or three anteaters once a month or so will hold them just fine. So once a month or so I unlock the closet door and go out to lunch. The hungry hyenas emerge and restore the ecological balance of my condo. Then they retire back to the closet and watch Sportscenter. And in order to keep the hyena population of my condo in check, I had them both neutered. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be to find someone to perform that task. I’m lucky enough to live in an area where there are plenty of homeless people who will do anything for a bowl of soup.

As you can imagine, life in my fully accessible condo can be pretty hectic sometimes. But at least no one can call me a hypocrite.

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