Wednesday, July 17, 2019

My Wasted Reign as a Poster Child



Believe it or not, I was a poster child for the Muscular Dystrophy Association about 55 years ago. I have to say that I regret the way I behaved during my reign.

I really wish I would have cashed in on the opportunity a lot more than I did. But I was just a dumb kid. I had no idea how occupying that role gave me such a uniquely powerful political pulpit.

I mean, let’s say, just for example, that the drinking water in your neighborhood is poison. Let’s says it’s full of lead. And let’s say you organize a campaign to shut down that lead processing plant that’s wantonly dumping its toxic waste into the river. Don’t even bother to talk about the adults that are being poisoned, not even if you have a thousand of them. Nobody will give a shit, especially if they’re not white. Right out of the gate you need to trot out the poisoned kids. This will pretty much completely disarm the evil lead processing tycoons and their hired defense goons from the public relations firm.

Kids wield the potent political weapon of shaming. You can fuck over adults but it’s much harder to fuck over kids in the same way. When demands are issued on behalf of kids, they’re hard to ignore. So whatever it is you’re trying to do, say you’re doing it for the kids.

But when I was a poster kid I issued no demands. And there sure as hell was plenty to complain about. There were no ramps on curbs back then. Suppose my mother and I had gone to a busy downtown intersection, called a press conference, pulled out a sledgehammer and smashed the curbs to bits to dramatize our demand. What kind of headlines would that have made? And the movement that brought about all the ramped curbs we see today might’ve started a lot sooner.

Of course if my mom and I had pulled a stunt like that, the Muscular Dystrophy Association would’ve shit a brick. They probably would’ve had to do something to discredit us so they could cut us loose, like plant a bag of heroin in my mom’s purse and rat us out to cops.

But I probably never said a word as a poster kid, except to ask everybody to please give money to a stupid charity that would never have the balls to do anything about anything like ramped curbs. And for that I am very sorry.

But there will be no do-overs. I’ll never be an adorable six-year-old again so I’ll never have that inherent political power again. But the good news is, sometimes old people find themselves with the same awesome power to shame those that fuck them over. And that’s something I become more and more of each day— an old person.

So I need to put together or join a group of ornery old farts and target some deserving politicians for us to shame. That’s how I’ll find redemption.


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Monday, July 8, 2019

I Will Not Bankrupt the State. I Will Not Bankrupt the State. I Will Not Bankrupt the State.


There’s no such thing as a free ride anymore, goddammit! Not even for cripples! A lot of states are cracking down. They’re getting permission from the federal government to make people who want to receive Medicaid do something to earn it, like get a job.

And even cripples aren’t exempt. That’s why I’ve had to start doing community service in order to remain eligible for Medicaid. Once a week, a Medi-car is dispatched and I’m taken to a secret location where there’s plain white room with a blackboard on one wall and a one-way mirror on the opposite wall. The reason I say it’s a secret location is because as soon as I ‘m loaded into the Medi-car I’m blindfolded so I’ll have no idea where we’re going.

My act of community service is to write on the blackboard a thousand times I Will Not Bankrupt the State. The problem is, I can’t move my arms around enough to do that. But that won’t get me off the hook either. The state makes a reasonable accommodation to empower me to perform my job duties. They send in a guy receiving Medicaid who has Down syndrome to be my “scribe.” He mans the chalk and I dictate. That’s his community service. I say, “I will Not Bankrupt the State” and he writes it on the board. And we repeat the process 999 more times.

Outside of the room, I imagine tour groups are passing by regularly and watching through the one-way mirror as my dutiful scribe and I work fluidly together to complete our task. Our chemistry is inspiring. The tour guide explains that even though we are crippled, we are at least showing contrition for the damage our incessant Medicaid dependency is doing to the fabric of the nation. The tour guide also explains how this demonstrates that my partner and I are willing to engage in humiliating activities in exchange for sustenance, just like poor people who aren’t crippled have always been required to do. Thus, we too are now paying our proper debt to society.

Those taking the tour are reassured that their Medicaid tax dollars are being efficiently spent serving only the truly deserving. They also see how much progress our culture has made when it comes to treating crippled people the same way we treat people who aren’t crippled. This makes the tourists feel good about themselves and bullish about the state of the union.

And I have performed a community service.




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Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Man from the Department of Sterilization

The phone rang. It was my doorman calling. “Hello Mr. Mike.” My doorman calls me Mr. Mike. “The Man from the Department of Sterilization is here to see you.”

Department of Sterilization? My doorman man is from Turkey. I figured he misunderstood. Perhaps it was the exterminator or somebody like that. So I said send him up.

A knock on my door. I opened it. A man wearing a trench coat entered. “Hello,” he said. He politely tipped his Irish gentleman’s tweed hat. “I’m from the Department of Sterilization and I’m here to sterilize you.”

“Whaaaaaaat?” I said. “I didn’t consent to being sterilized!”

“Au contraire,” he said. “Didn’t you read the terms and conditions of your internet service provider? In paragraph 637, it says that in exchange for using the internet, you consent to being sterilized.” He showed me page 637 on the screen of his cell phone.

“Are you a social worker?” said I.

“How did you guess?” said he.

“Well I withdraw my consent!” I said. “You can’t force me to be sterilized! I would never cooperate with such a blatant violation of my rights and intrusion upon my privacy!”

“That’s quite true,” said the Man from the Department of Sterilization. “You most definitely do have a choice in the matter. No one is going to coerce you. But if you refuse to be sterilized, I’ll have to permanently suspend your internet privileges.”

“I don’t care,” I said “I would never cooperate with such a blatant violation of my rights and intrusion upon--- Wait. What? Did you say no more internet?

“That’s what I said.”

I must admit that when he put it that way, I began to have a change of heart.

Sensing my lingering reluctance, the Man from the Department of Sterilization said. “I know what you’re thinking. You’re recalling that inhumane chapter in American history when the government tried to sterilize people with special needs. Let me assure you that we learned a lot from that failed experiment. This time we’re going to get it right. This time we’re doing it humanely. The sterilization procedure is quick and painless and completely non-invasive. All you have to do is drink this.”

He reached under his trench coat and pulled out a tumbler full of a bubbling, steaming concoction. It looked like mixture of lava and snot. “Don’t worry ,” he said. “It tastes like lemon drops.”

So before I could give myself a chance to reconsider, I gulped down the potion.

The Man from the Department of Sterilization was pleased. “There now, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Well I must bid you adieu.” He tipped his hat again. As he exited he said, “Enjoy the internet.”

Sometimes I have to reassure myself that I made the right choice. I mean, when I think about it rationally, I realize that I really wasn’t planning on having kids anyway so it’s not much of a loss compared to losing the internet.

And the Man from the Department of Sterilization was right. It did taste like lemon drops.



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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Proud Digit Donor


I think I’m about ready to sign up to be a body part donor. I’m still using my vital organs so I don’t want to part ways with them. But I might be willing to jettison a limb or two.

Take my feet. Go ahead. I really don’t use them so maybe someone else can. To be honest, I feel kind of guilty having feet. They’re such an extravagance for me. And I’m probably better off without them. All they are to me is another part of the body where sinister infections can harbor. So why not be proactive and stop that from happening in the first place? It'll be one less thing to stay up all night worrying about. And my heart would probably appreciate not having to work so hard to pump blood to my distant and useless feet, freeloaders that they are.

And my feet get so damn cold too. I should just chuck them. The thing that really sucks about being an organ or tissue donor is that you don’t get to enjoy your generosity. Somebody gets a new lease on life because of you, which is cool and all, but you’re dead so you don’t see it. And that’s half the fun. But I can watch somebody run and jump and dance a jig on the new foot they received from me. I’ll experience the joy of giving in real time! It’s like going to your own funeral and hearing all the nice things people say about you.

But I admit that in spite of all this, I’m still reluctant to sign on the donor dotted line. Because I fear when the time comes to actually pay up, I’ll get cold feet, so to speak. I like to think that I ‘m above cosmetic vanity. But I know I ‘m probably not. I’ll fear that if I ‘m missing a foot, people will look at me funny. Let me rephrase that. I’ll fear that if I’m missing a foot, people will look at me funnier.

So maybe I can start small. I could be toe donor. I definitely don’t need them and I don’t think there would be much separation anxiety. I have no particular emotional attachment to my toes. I’m even willing to give up both my big toes to someone in need. Where do I sign? I'll do it right now!

I’ll feel good about myself. I’ll wear a t-shirt that says Proud Digit Donor.



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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Amazing Crippled Actors on the Stage and Screen


A lot of people think it’s a great big deal when an actor who isn’t crippled plays the role of a crippled character. It’s considered to be the ultimate in acting and it usually wins an Oscar.

But that’s nothing! What about crippled actors who play the roles of characters who aren’t crippled? Now that’s some amazing acting!

But these actors get no attention. For example, there’s British actor Andrew Bollox, who is currently staring to rave reviews on stage in London as Hamlet. Bollox has cerebral palsy so he’s all spastic and he rides around in a motorized wheelchair. He even talks using one of those Stephen Hawking talking boxes. But when he plays Hamlet he leaves his wheelchair backstage and walks around on stage and says, “To be or not to be” as plain as day. He doesn't even drool. And wow, you should see him sword fight!

How does he do it? It’s simple. He’s acting! It’s just like when an actor puts on a foreign accent. Bollox spent many hours studying how people who walk and talk walk and talk. With the help of top-notch dialect and gait coaches, he soon got it down. Using his amazing powers of concentration, when Bollox embodies the character of Hamlet, he rises from his chair and speaks eloquently. It’s as if he’s in a hypnotic trance.

Also be sure to see to see the soon-to-be-released biopic about the superstar Brazilian soccer player Pele. It’s called Kicking Up a Storm and starring in this movie in the role of Pele is Brazilian actor Paulo Besteiro. It’s truly astonishing acting when you consider that Besteiro was born with no legs. But in this movie he plays soccer with reckless abandon. No, that’s not a stunt double. It’s all done through the miracle of special effects. I call it the reverse Forrest Gump effect. In the movie Forrest Gump, Gary Sinese plays the part of Lieutenant Dan, who loses his legs in war. But Sinese has both of his legs so in order for him to authentically portray Lieutenant Dan, his legs were lopped off virtually using special effects. Well in Kicking Up a Storm, special effects are used to give Besteiro legs! It’s an Oscar-worthy performance indeed!

So screw you, Meryl Streep! Compared to these guys, you’re crap!


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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Autism Detox

Apparently autism is a toxin. Who knew?

And all people with autism have to do to get rid of their autism, some people firmly believe, is get rid of their toxins. Then they won’t be toxic anymore.

Amazon removed from its virtual shelves more than a dozen books promoting chlorine dioxide as a miracle treatment for autism. The stuff is also marketed as MMS, which stands for Miracle Medical Solutions. But it’s basically just bleach. This whole idea about bleach curing autism was thought up by some goofball Scientologist. (I know goofball Scientologist is redundant.) Are you surprised to hear that?

But people are still falling for it even though the Food and Drug administration put out a warning five years ago that this stuff is a crock. The same FDA warning also included other bizarre snake oils some people were pushing as a cure for autism, such as raw camel’s milk. Where the hell did that one come from? Who analyzed the chemical elements of raw camel’s milk and decided they’d be good for snapping people out of their autism? Did they then pour raw camel’s milk on some pour autistic kid’s Cocoa Puffs? Must’ve been some goofball Scientologist.

And some people must’ve also been shoving kids with autism into hyperbaric oxygen tanks in an attempt to detoxify and purify them because the FDA felt compelled to warn that that doesn’t work either. That should be as unnecessary as putting a label on a deep fryer warning people not to submerge their head in the hot oil. You’d think it would go without saying

The FDA also warned that, despite what some people say, there are no miracle suppositories that cure autism. Oh a clay baths also don’t work. Clay baths are products that, when added to bath water, supposedly draw out toxins and pollutants that make people autistic. It’s easy to see that’s a fraud because if it really did work that way, what would we do with the tainted water? I mean, it would be full or autism germs, right? That sounds like the kind of toxic material that needs to be hermetically sealed in a haz-mat container and hauled away to a distant waste dump. But I bet those that tried clay baths didn’t do that. I bet they just casually opened the drain and let the bath water swirl down. And all their toxins would have contaminated the public water supplies. And we’d all have caught autism by now!


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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Selective Deafness


One fine summer afternoon, I visited a botanical garden. Within in it was a rose garden with a tranquil pond in the center. It looked like the perfect place for meditation. And in fact, there was a guy sitting by the pond upright and motionless with his eyes closed and a blissful grin. But at the same time there were what looked like field trips of middle schoolers bustling through and you know how noisy they can be. But the meditating guy was completely unfazed. Somehow he tuned it all out. I said to myself, “Damn, that the guy’s good.” And then I said to myself, “Or maybe he’s deaf.” Wow! I guess sometimes deafness comes in handy.

There are a lot of times when I wish I was deaf. Sometimes I travel with the hell-raising cripples of ADAPT. We come from around the country and gather in some city, usually D.C., and we protest hard. In order to save money, we stuff four people into a hotel room. So it’s inevitable that sooner or later, you’ll end up sharing a hotel room with somebody who snores like an asthmatic grizzly bear. And I would give anything to be deaf then.

And because I live in the middle of a big city, often there have been guys working with jackhammers outside of my window. I think that’s when I wish I was deaf most of all. I don’t know why guys who own construction companies don’t make a big push to recruit deaf people to do the jackhammer jobs. It seems like it would make good business sense. They’d probably save a lot of money on earplugs.

I’m not saying I want to be deaf all the time. Only when it works to my advantage. Selective deafness. I wish I had the magical power to do something like blink three times and turn off my hearing when something cacophonous is going on and then blink three more times and turn my hearing back on when the coast is clear. I imagine some people feel the same about me when it comes to parking. They want to be crippled long enough to snag that sweet parking space right outside the front door. And as soon as they leave, they don’t want to be crippled anymore.



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