Wednesday, September 19, 2018

But Whatever You Do, Don't Become Crippled


I’m invited to receive a free meal at Ruth’s Chris Steak House! Or at least that’s what it says on the slick card that came in the mail.

There’s a picture of a steak. It looks like a palm-sized filet mignon. Could that be my free meal? Except it’s not exactly free. It’s kind of like when the missionaries come to your village. They’ll help you build huts and all, but you have to sit through the Jesus pitch.

To receive my free meal at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, I have to attend a “free” financial seminar. I will be introduced to a dazzling array of investment products that will help me secure my financial future. I will receive sound financial advice from a leading expert.

But it makes feel the same way I do after seeing one of those commercials where a leading expert gives someone sound financial advice that helps them plan a strategy for a secure and happy retirement. I wonder if, at the end, the leading expert says, “But whatever you do, don’t become crippled. If you become crippled, all bets are off.”

Suppose you need a motorized wheelchair and an adapted cripple van. That’s about 80 grand right there. There goes a painful chunk of your hard-earned nest egg, unless you’re one of the rare few who doesn’t flinch at 80 grand.

Maybe the government will buy a wheelchair for you, but only after you’ve spent away pretty much everything you have so you’re broke enough to qualify for Medicaid.

And I laugh when I hear governors bragging about the “business-friendly climate” of their state. “Come to our state where taxes are low!” But at the end of that sales pitch, every governor ought to be required to issue the following disclaimer: “But whatever you do, don’t become crippled.”

Suppose you become crippled like me and, like me, you need to hire a crew of people to come into your home and help you get out of bed and stuff like that. The only reason I can afford to do this is because the state pays the wages of my workers. In one of those unabashedly “business-friendly climate” states, the governor is much more likely to say, “’We have no money for things like that. We have to keep the taxes low here.”

Whenever you hear a passionate sermon about how the free market will set everybody free, remember the part they always leave out: “But if you’re crippled, you’re on your own.”



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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Institutions, Institutes and Waste Dumps



Institution sure is a respectable sounding word, isn’t it? If someone says you are an institution, they are trying to pay you a compliment. They are trying to say you are “someone firmly associated with a place or thing.” And that place or thing is always something good, like for instance Broadway theater or the silver screen. We don’t describe Jack the Ripper as a murdering institution.

An institution is, “a significant practice, relationship, or organization in a society or culture.” And again, it’s a respectable practice, relationship or organization-- one that makes a society or culture feel stable and secure, such as the institution of marriage. Nobody ever talks about the institution of divorce.

A prosperous society needs strong institutions. Banks are financial institutions and universities are institutions of higher learning. Where would we be without them?
We have our revered government institutions, like Congress and the courts. We count on them to protect us from chaos, to save us in a time of crisis.

We also have plenty of institutes to go along with all of our institutions. Institutes are also important elements in an advanced and civilized society. They promote our general welfare. How about MIT? And don’t forget the National Institutes of Health.

Institutions and institutes are great things to be and great places to be. So why then do we call those places where they lock cripples up institutions? A whole bunch of states once had Institutions for the Feeble Minded. I bet those weren’t very fun places to be. I bet if those places were named by the people who lived in them, they’d probably not be called institutions. They’d probably be called something like waste dumps: The Kentucky State Waste Dump for the Feeble Minded.

But these places weren’t named after the people who lived in them, thus they were called institutions. To those who didn’t live in them, they served the noble purpose of locking up cripples. A prosperous society needed strong institutions where cripples were locked up. Locking up cripples made everyone feel safe and secure. It protected them from chaos. It promoted the general welfare.

It was pretty much like penal institutions.

The waste dumps where cripples are locked up nowadays don’t usually call themselves institutions anymore. Government-operated waste dumps are usually called developmental or training centers. Nursing homes are called rehabilitation facilities. Big fucking deal. Lipstick on a pig.



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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Abnormalization Quest



A lot of people think it’s important for cripples to normalize ourselves and each other. We should show the uncrippled majority that even though we’re crippled, we’re not much different than they are.

But fuck all that. I think it’s important for me to engage in an abnormalization quest, the goal being to show the uncrippled majority how abnormal I am. But I can’t really call it a quest because a quest implies that you’re going somewhere. On an abnormalization quest, the minute you start you arrive. When you’re trying to be abnormal, you just have to sit wherever you are and be whatever you are.

Trying to normalize yourself is exhausting because what the hell is normal anyway? You never get there. It’s an endless treadmill. Everybody is abnormal. And cripples especially so. Look at me. My legs just hang there useless all day so my ankles swell up. So every day I wear knee-high “anti-embolism” circulation socks. That ain’t normal. The socks look dorky as all hell but you know what? Fuck it. If it’s hot in the summer and I want to wear my goddam shorts, I’m gonna wear my goddam shorts, goddammit! So what if I look like an old crippled dork wearing knee-high anti-embolism socks and sandals.

And there are lots of cripples who are a helluva lot more abnormal than I am.

But I guess I can call it a quest because even though abnormalizing yourself requires just being, that takes work. Trying to stay put can be grueling. There’s a lot of pressure, both peer and otherwise, to get up off your abnormal ass. Some cripple who’s trying to get into Harvard might feel personally offended when I’m out parading around in my shorts because, like it or not, all of us cripples are spokespersons. We’re all emissaries. Everything we do reflects upon the entire crippled race. And cripples like me make it harder for cripples like him to get into Harvard.

But I say fuck Harvard. If they sum me up as being a dork, just because I look like one, then they can shove it up their tight elitist asses!

I’m just gonna sit right here and be abnormal. It won’t be easy, but it beats the alternative.



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Thursday, August 23, 2018

RX: One Hand Job



We all in the U.S. think we’re so goddam high and mighty superior when it comes to cripple access. We think if you’re gonna be a cripple, this is the place to be.

Yeah sure, we’ve got the Americans with Disabilities Act and stuff like that here, but so what? In Taiwan, they have a much better attitude about the rights and needs of cripples than we do. Over there, there’s an organization called Hand Angel. Their mission is to give hand jobs to needy cripples. I’m not kidding. Look it up if you want. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/av4m8p/hand-angel-hand-jobs-taiwan-748

Hand Angel was founded by and is run by cripples. They want to make the point that cripples need access to more than just buildings and public transportation. Cripples, like everyone else, also need access to orgasms. Hand Angel provides that type of access for free. When a Taiwanese cripple successfully makes the case that Hand Angel has to fulfill that need for them, a volunteer is dispatched to give them a hand job.

I don’t think something like that would ever go over here in the States. We’re way too uptight. First of all, the whole would instantly get ridiculously medicalized, which would ruin it all. For liability purposes, every cripple seeking help from Hand Angel U.S.A would probably be required to get a prescription from a doctor. (RX: one hand job.)

A non-profit like Hand Angel would go broke here. This ain’t no Special Olympics. The Special Olympics has corporate sponsors up the ass. But who would want their precious corporate logo associated with the mission of giving cripples hand jobs? Not even Starbucks.

And how else would Hand Angel U.S.A convince Americans to give them money in a way we’d understand? Would they have a telethon? Would they have commercials like the ASPCA, with the slow montage of sad and neglected dogs in desperate need of a home? Except it would be a slow montage of sad and neglected cripples in desperate need of a hand job.

None of that would work. Here in the U.S., we’re stuck in the 20th Century. The ADA may make access to thing like buildings and public transportation a lot easier for cripples. But does it make access to hand jobs any easier? Which Title covers that?


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Friday, August 17, 2018

Hiring Marlene (Without Quotation Marks)


The fact that I’m writing the name Marlene here without putting it in quotation marks shows how much I’ve evolved. There was a time when I would’ve done that, just to be snarky.

But the way I see it now, it’s like me calling myself cripple. If that’s what I want to call myself, I don’t have to give a goddam PowerPoint presentation explaining my rationale. Just shut up and let me call myself whatever the hell I want.

So if someone who clearly sounds like a man on the phone tells me their name is Marlene, who am I to resist? They don’t need me to sign off on it for it to be official.

Marlene answered my ad seeking people to join my pit crew, which is what I call the crew of people I hire to get me out of bed, wash my armpits, etc. Throughout the years, I’ve probably had 100 or so pit crew members. Most have been males. A few females. I’ve had a helluva cast of characters. I had a Cambodian refugee, who risked his life to escape the Pol Pot bullshit but only lasted a week working for me. One guy got me out of bed and washed my armpits by day and played cello in a string quartet by night. I had a world–renown pagan high priest, whose other job was doing psychic readings in an occult bookstore. I’ve had guys with tattoos all over. Years ago, as I hustled around the U.S. Capitol lobbying Congresspersons about cripple stuff, I was accompanied by a pit crew member whose dreadlocks were died emerald green.

But I’ve never had someone in transition, like Marlene. Hiring someone like them would say a lot about how amazingly progressive I am. Not only would I consider employing someone like them, I would do so with great enthusiasm. Being in transition would be a plus. I was particularly delighted by the prospect of having Marlene accompany me back to the old neighborhood, so I could show all those fuckers how backwards they all are and how far I’ve left them all behind. When I was a kid, a family with someone like Marlene as a member would’ve probably been firebombed out of the neighborhood. Bringing Marlene around would be as satisfying as bringing a black fiancĂ© home for Thanksgiving, just to rub your racist uncle’s nose in it.

So when Marlene showed up for the interview, I was happy to see that they looked like they were in the early stages of transition. They looked like a long-haired male wearing some makeup. If Marlene was a fully-formed female by now and people saw us going down the street together in the old neighborhood, the impact would be lost. It would just look like I hired a woman, which is no big deal.

I called Marlene’s references and they all said glowing things. And I looked forward to working with Marlene for several years, so we could go back to the old neighborhood several times and force those backwards fuckers to witness the transition slowly taking place. Wouldn’t that be excruciating for them? Ha!

I called Marlene with the great news. “You’re hired!” But Marlene said, “I’ve been offered another job, which I accepted, but thank you anyway. Good luck.”

Well, fine----then----- screw you, I guess.

All that stuff about going back to the old neighborhood was silly anyway. I’ve haven’t gone there for years. No one I know is there anymore. Nobody would give a shit.


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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Smart Ass Cripple's Advice for the FBI

I was rolling through the halls of a medical school when another guy in a wheelchair rolled by. I knew right away he was fake.

It must have been one of those cripple-for-a-day awareness simulations, where someone is assigned to roll around a in a wheelchair all day in a silly attempt to see what it’s like being crippled. As the student doctor rolled down the wide, smooth, obstruction-free hall, he had a tense look on his face like he was walking a tightrope. He should’ve had a sign on the back of his wheelchair that said STUDENT DRIVER.

But that’s not how I knew he was fake. I knew he was fake because both he and the wheelchair were way too clean. He looked like this weird pigeon I once saw. The pigeon looked weird because it had no scuffs or scars. It had no missing toes or matted feathers. No pigeon living in the city looks like that.

So here’s some advice for the FBI, if they happen to be reading this. If you’re planning to send a fake cripple agent provocateur to infiltrate a cripple activist group, have a little pride. Pay attention to detail. Otherwise you’re not gonna fool any real cripple.

You can’t make an instant cripple out of any old vert (which is short for vertical, which is what I call people who walk). You don’t just stick some pretty boy vert in a wheelchair and expect him to pass as a genuine cripple. This ain’t a Hollywood movie.

If your fake cripple spy is in a push wheelchair, make sure they have callouses on their hands. But whatever kind of wheelchair it is, make sure there are cracks and fissures in the upholstery. Make sure there are mud splatters on the frame. The chair needs to look like it wasn’t delivered from the factory to its crippled occupant 10 minutes ago.

It would really help, FBI, if your crippled plant was actually a cripple. It shouldn’t be hard to find people willing to stab their fellow cripples in the back for a few measly bucks. Just get a list of all the broke ass cripples living on Social Security and make some calls.

I imagine, FBI, that you probably won’t be slipping an agitator into a cripple activist group soon. Most cripple activist groups don’t do much more than write letters to legislators. And it’s probably not worth your time to send someone to cajole them into writing angry letters with swear words in them.

But if and when you do infiltrate us, heed my advice if you want to succeed. A professional cripple can smell an amateur a mile away.


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Friday, August 3, 2018

The Inevitable Bloody Clown Brawl



That bloody clown brawl sure was a frightening sight, wasn’t it? It was like a street gang fight, except with clowns. But I’m not surprised it happened, are you? When you think about how things are going these days, it seems inevitable.

I mean, when the circus boss tried to cut the clowns’ pay and take away their meager health insurance coverage, that was the last fucking straw! Clowns are paid shit as it is and there is no upward mobility. You don’t become a clown vice president for the Midwest region or anything like that. A clown’s a clown. And when the Labor Department takes those surveys to determine the most dangerous jobs, they never include clowns. If they did, clowns would be right up there at the top. The number of workplace injuries is astoundingly high for clowns, what with all the pratfalls and all.

There’s no way a clown can live without health insurance. So when the circus boss tried to fuck them over like that, who could blame the clowns for walking out in the middle of a Sunday matinee circus performance and going on strike? It sure was moving to see those clowns proudly picketing. Sure, the children witnessing it all looked mighty confused. But it was one of those teachable moments.

Of course the circus boss retaliated in the manner everyone should’ve suspected he would. He called the temp agency and tried to bring in scab clowns. It wasn’t hard for the circus boss to find people willing to sign up to be clowns for minimum wage and no benefits, after all the layoffs at the mill.

When the busload of scab clowns pulled up to the entrance of the circus tent, tensions were at a peak. The striking clowns locked arms and stood their ground. So the circus boss called in his squadron of strike-breaking Pinkerton goons. It wasn’t hard for the circus boss to find people willing to sign up to be strike-breaking Pinkerton goons for minimum wage and no benefits, after all the layoffs at the mill.

What ensued was not pretty. The Pinkerton goons knocked the striking clowns down like bowling pins by spraying them with fire hoses. And the striking clowns were no match for them, firing back with seltzer bottles. The scab clowns attacked. They beat the striking clowns senseless with lead-filled rubber chickens.

But then a scab clown shouted “WAAAAAIT!” The brawling stopped. “Why are we fighting each other?” the scab clown said. “In ten years, we’re all gonna be replaced by robots anyway.”

The scab clown was spot on. Someday soon, at a 5 year old’s birthday party in some suburb, the doorbell will ring. And in will roll a robot clown.

The scab clowns and striking clowns all hugged each other. Then they all went to a bar. Sure, the children witnessing it all looked mighty confused. But it was one of those teachable moments.


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