Monday, July 27, 2015

The Cripple Nobility Spectrum

All cripples are noble. Society deems it to be so, so it is so.

This means that if you are or become crippled, along with it comes an automatic assumption of exalted moral character. This nobility cannot be renounced. It’s part of the package, whether we like it or not. But it can be squandered. And not all cripples are equally noble. Some are nobler than others. And the nobler we are, the more charity society is willing to bestow upon us.

For the status of noblest of the noble, it’s pretty much a tie between crippled war vets and Down syndromes types. War vets are noble because they became crippled in such a selfless and heroic manner. Down syndrome types are noble because they’re just so gosh darn innocent. Nobody can speak ill of crippled war vets and Down syndrome types without sounding like a real asshole.

In the middle of the nobility spectrum are physical cripples like me who we’re born this way or acquired our crippledness via disease or unfortunate accident. The noble trait we share with the war vets and Down syndrome types is that we are crippled through no fault of own. But we lose nobility points when pitted against war vets because crippledness just came our way. We didn’t do anything heroic to bring it on. And we can’t compete with the Down syndrome types because whereas yes, technically, we too are innocent, we aren’t gosh darn innocent.

On the next rung down are those who became crippled because they did something stupid or reckless, like somebody who is a quad because they tried to win a bet by skateboarding standing on their head. These cripples are not innocent. They brought crippledness on themselves by taunting it. Also in this category are gangbangers who get shot in a drug deal gone bad and become crippled. No hero point there.

And the least noble of all are the psychologically crippled like schizophrenics. No points for innocence here either. I don’t know why this is. There seems to be this idea that it’s a matter of will, like if you try hard enough and take more personal responsibility you won’t be schizophrenic any more. Thus, these are the least noble and therefore least sympathetic cripples of all. There are certain times when hordes of cheery volunteers with slotted cans invade the streets of Chicago soliciting funds for this village for Down syndrome types. But I’ve never been approached by a cheery volunteer with a slotted can soliciting funds for schizophrenics.

Nevertheless, we live in a compassionate society where every cripple automatically receives at least some benefit of the doubt and some degree of nobility. We squander it by acting uppity. And the less nobility we have the easier it is to squander. All schizophrenics have to do is say boo and that’s it, no more sympathy for you guys! On the other hand, if the Down syndrome types wanted to squander their vast reserves of nobility, it would pretty much require a million of them marching on Washington and taking a shit in unison on the White House lawn. The same is true for war vets. If that ever happened, then it would finally be socially acceptable to speak ill of them without sounding like a real asshole. And no more cheery volunteers with slotted cans.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Why Cripples Shouldn't Get Restaurant Discounts

Old people get a lot of free or discount shit just for being old, as if they did anything to achieve that status other than not die. Cripples also get some free or discount shit just for being crippled, even though some of us achieved our status by doing stupid stuff, like diving drunk and naked into a shallow creek.

But old people get a whole lot more free and discount shit than cripples do. It’s no contest. Like restaurants give old people discounts all the time but I’ve never been to a restaurant that offered a cripple discount.

At first it doesn’t seem fair but when you look at it from a business perspective, it makes sense. Offering discounts to cripples could open a nightmarish Pandora’s Box. Old people are much more cut and dried than cripples. It’s much easier to tell who they are. They look a certain way and if you’re not sure if they’re old enough you can check their IDs. Case closed

But with cripples everything is much fuzzier. Like suppose an albino walks into a restaurant and demands the cripple discount. Is an albino crippled? A reasonable person would think not but you never know these days. There’s probably a court case somewhere where an albino sued for discrimination and won a million bucks. So every restaurant owner will have to have a law degree just to keep track of who’s legally crippled and who’s not. And what about keeping track of all the correct language? Is it okay to ask an albino if they are indeed an albino or do you have to call them something like pigmentally-challenged?

And it’s hard to fake being an old person. I suppose if someone wanted 10 percent off on a tuna melt or a free dessert bad enough they could put on a gray wig and make their voice all creaky and get an underground fake ID that says they were born in 1935. But any joker off the street can hop into a wheelchair in a flash and pretend to be paralyzed. It isn’t hard for somebody to pretend to be deaf and do some voodoo sign language by waving their arms around like they're being attacked by bees. About the only cripples you can trust to be authentic are the Down syndrome ones. That’s pretty hard to fake. But you can’t even be sure about that these days. I’ve read stories about kinky people who think it’s cool to be crippled so they have a surgeon saw off one of their limbs or something to make them crippled. It’s like getting sexual reassignment surgery. So there are probably some really kinky people out there who think it’s cool to have Down syndrome so they have a surgeon inject an additional chromosome into them and it turns them into a Down syndrome. Hey, stranger things have happened.

A fake old person can be easily exposed by sneaking up behind them and snatching off their wig. But suppose a suspicious restaurateur sneaks up behind a cripple and dumps him/her out of their wheelchair. What if it turns out to be a real cripple? There’s one whopper of a lawsuit right there.

So that’s why cripples shouldn’t get restaurant discounts. It would lead to economic chaos and the collapse of Western civilization

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Another Cutting-Edge Innovation from Smart Ass Cripple

People come up with a lot of cutting-edge innovations that are supposed to make life easier for cripples. But there’s usually a catch. Like for instance, I once saw a guy demonstrating this robotic arm that you can attach to your wheelchair and if you couldn’t use your arms anymore this arm could perform all the essential functions of the arms and hands for you. Two problems: First, it cost something like $40,000. And B, the hand was not designed to give the finger. So I don’t know how this guy could claim that his invention performed all the essential functions of the arms and hands when it couldn’t even give the finger. I should have reported him to the FDA.

But I had a brilliant idea recently for a cutting-edge innovation that I know, based on my extensive experience as a cripple, will really and truly make life easier for millions of cripples worldwide. And I hope some visionary venture capitalist or hedge fund hedgehog will see the universal usefulness of my cutting-edge innovation and put gobs of cash behind developing it.

My idea is a designated driver smart phone app for cripples. There have been times when I’ve had a few too many and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to drive home. I’m not talking about driving my car. I’m talking about driving my wheelchair. Now this isn’t too much of a problem for cripples in wheelchairs that they push themselves. If they're shit-faced, somebody else can just push them home. But it’s a serious problem for those of us who use motorized wheelchairs. These things are a bitch to push. So cripples who download this app would pay a monthly subscription fee but it will bring them great peace of mind knowing that if they reach the point where they can’t drive home, all they have to do is tap the app. And then a designated driver will be promptly dispatched to their location whereupon this driver will sit on the drunken cripple’s lap and drive their wheelchair home.

These designated drivers will receive extensive training in wheelchair operation. Most everybody who has never driven a motorized wheelchair thinks any old mope can just hop in one and take off. That’s what they think until they actually try to drive one and immediately proceed to smash a hole in the wall. It takes time and practice to learn how to drive a motorized wheelchair, especially whilst perched upon its passed out occupant.

Go ahead and laugh. But I’ll have the last hearty laugh five years from now when the sight of designated drivers sitting on the laps of wasted cripples and piloting them home is commonplace. And who’ll be the one laughing when my cutting-edge innovation wins me the Nobel Fucking Peace Prize, huh?

So okay now all you visionary venture capitalists and hedge fund hedgehogs out there. It’s your move.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

The Saddest Cripple in the Coop

The ushers put that poor young woman here in the cripple coop with the rest of us. And the look on her face says, “Where the hell am I? How the hell did I end up in a place like this?”

The cripple coop is the new wheelchair section in the new bleachers at Wrigley Field. And I call it a coop because for some reason they put this black screen all around it. So the view sucks. It’s like trying to watch a game while wearing a fencing mask.

I can tell the young woman is a cripple of the temporary variety. Her wheelchair is the standard-issue institutional model, as sleek and maneuverable as a covered wagon. Her leg is in a cast and it’s jacked up straight out in front of her. She has two female companions but none of them look happy. It looks like some sort of somber bachelorette party.

This is why out of all the endless varieties of cripples, I find temporary cripples to be the saddest of all. They experience the bad stuff that comes with being crippled without any of the good stuff. Like for instance, she’s probably the only cripple here in the coop who can’t get a license to smoke pot legally. In Illinois, possession of just about any crippling condition makes you eligible for medical marijuana, everything from traumatic brain injury to irritable bowel syndrome. But temporary cripples need not apply.

The same goes for Social Security. She’s probably the only cripple in the coop who isn’t eligible for free money. If she could be crippled long enough to qualify for stuff like this she might not be so sad. Some people think legal pot and free money is all anyone needs in life.

So when this woman is up and walking again, she’ll say to her friends, “I know what it’s like to be crippled and believe me, it’s hell!” When she returns to the bleachers she’ll look down on the cripple coop and she’ll thank God she was one of the lucky ones able to escape.

But here’s another valuable lesson about being crippled the poor woman won’t be crippled long enough to learn: It pays to bitch. Rahnee and I bitched. We told the ushers that watching baseball through a dark screen is giving us carsick headaches. We want more out of life than legal pot and Social Security. We want a good view at the ballpark, too

So the ushers took us to a secluded corner of the bleachers which we could have all to ourselves. It had a clear, clean view. We were happy.

Walking out of life's many cripple coops isn’t the only way out. You can also bitch your way out.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fuck You, Stigma

I decided it was high time for there to be a Smart Ass Cripple Pride Day. So I ran the idea through the proper approval channels here at Smart Ass Cripple, which means I put it before our one-person politburo consisting of me. I unanimously agreed with myself that this is a marvelous idea.

I also thought that there needs to be some sort of pithy, unifying theme for Smart Ass Cripple Pride Day. So I sponsored an essay contest inviting all elementary school kids to propose a theme for Smart Ass Cripple Pride Day. Well the response was overwhelming but the winning essay was submitted by 7-year-old Billy Hart, who attends Larry Fine Elementary School in El Paso, North Dakota. Here is what he wrote:

“My neighbor, Johnny, is my friend. He is in a wheelchair. But sometimes people treat Johnny different than they treat me. They don’t want to talk to him or they talk to him like he’s a baby. People are afraid of Johnny just because he’s in a wheelchair. Sometimes I go places and Johnny can’t go because he’s in a wheelchair and there are stairs. My mother says Johnny is treated unfairly because of something called stigma. Stigma is stupid. So I think a good theme for Smart Ass Cripple Pride Day would be Fuck You, Stigma.”

What a brilliant, perceptive kid, eh? It boosts my faith in the youth of America. So for penning the winning essay, Billy wins a free FUCK YOU, STIGMA t-shirt. He may only be in elementary school but he sure knows a helluva lot about stigma and how it works. He knows that the only way to deal with stigma is to poke it in the eyes. Duking it out with stigma is exhausting because stigma is a vicious, insecure little bastard that will defend its turf at all costs. It’ll kick you right square in the nuts if you turn your head for a second. So you have to be ready to kick it right back. There’s no negotiating with stigma. And you can’t run off and hide from it in a closest somewhere because that’s exactly what stigma wants you to do. You give it credence. If you run off and hide, stigma wins. Nope, the only way to subdue stigma is to relentlessly give it the finger.

So thank you, Billy, for creating the perfect theme for Smart Ass Cripple Pride Day. Now, on Smart Ass Cripple Pride Day, smart ass cripples and their friends and allies all over the world will proudly take to the streets, marching under giant banners and riding on festive floats that say FUCK YOU, STIGMA.

Some people may be offended by this but hell with them if they are. Anybody who doesn’t like it is a dirty stinkin’ stigma lover.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chopped Liver

I’m insulted! I pass by this storefront that stands out from all the others surrounding it because the outside bricks are painted a bright and blaring yellow. The flashing neon letters in the window announce like an ecstatic town crier that this is an establishment where one can receive a car title loan. And painted on the yellow bricks, in letters that are invitingly cursive and also black so as to provide easy-to-read contrast, are the words Yo Hablo Espanol.

So since this is a title loan store, that means the target demographic is people who are so broke ass that all they have to their name is a raggedy-ass beater of a car. So in this case, what the words Yo Hablo Espanol essentially say is, “Welcome all our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters who have nothing but a raggedy-ass beater of a car to their name. Please come in. We’ll be happy to ream you, too.”

But on the front entrance of the store is a great big step. And that’s why I am insulted. The proprietor sees Spanish speakers as a market worthy of accommodation and affirmative gestures of welcome. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t begrudge them the equal opportunity to be exploited when their circumstances get about as low as low can be. That’s all part of the American dream. But what about cripples? What are we, chopped liver? Apparently if this proprietor thinks about cripples at all, he/she sees us as so thoroughly and irreparably broke ass that for us, owning a raggedy-ass beater of a car is but a pipedream. No need for a ramp on this storefront.

This is yet another graphic example of how insignificant cripples are to some people in the capitalist free market. Well whatever. They snub us at their own peril. Someday a new breed of shark will evolve with a highly-sophisticated olfactory that can sniff out fresh new blood. And then we’ll see a new chain of stores designed exclusively to reel in the really really really broke ass. These stores will be in strip malls around the country, nestled cozily between Dollar Tree and Dollar General and kitty-corner from The Dollar Store. They will be called something like The Social Security Store and their sole purpose will be to give cash advances on Social Security checks.

These stores will be accessible as all hell. There will be automatic doors. There will be sign language interpreters on duty 24/7. There will be a fenced-off area in every store with fake grass so guide dogs can take a leak.

Yep, the proprietors of these stores will have to kiss up to cripples big time, unless they want to go out of business real fast.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Just Another White Guy

A lot of times I’ve heard cripples say being crippled makes them feel invisible. But I don’t know about that. I think I’d feel way more invisible if I wasn’t crippled. Because if I wasn’t crippled I would be just another white guy. That’s a depressing prospect to me. I just don’t know if I would want to go on living if that was the case. It would take some major getting used to.

If I was just another white guy, I wouldn’t enjoy myself nearly as much when I go to Washington, D.C. to protest for my rights. Whenever I join other cripples protesting in Washington, D.C., in the lobby of our hotel there are hundreds of cripples zipping around. Also staying in the hotel there’s always a pack of high school students from Middleville, Ohio on a field trip. I’m always amused at the puzzled looks on their faces when they see us all, especially when they find themselves packed into an elevator with sweaty cripples returning from a day of protesting in the sun. I picture these youths returning to Middleville and someone asks them what they saw on their life-changing trip to our nation’s capital. And even though they saw the capitol and all the monuments and had lunch in the Rose Garden with the president and the pope, I picture that the first thing they say is, “You should’ve seen all the cripples in our hotel! There must’ve been a million of them!”

Cripples have that effect on people. Whenever a half dozen or so of us congregate, it looks like 600 of us. So if I want to organize a Million Cripple March, this is a distinct advantage because I don’t have to turn out a million cripples. All I need is about 20 or 30. And the news reports will say, “Police estimate the crowd to be about 2 or 3 million!”

If I was just another white guy and I wanted to organize a Million White Guy March, I’d have to turn out a million white guys or more. Of course one could argue that there is no need for a Million White Guy March. Point well taken. Whenever I walk down State Street, there are always people who stop pedestrians and say, “Excuse me, have you got a minute to help abandoned children?” Or to help LGBT youth or orca whales or whatever. No one ever says, “Excuse me, have you got a minute to help white guys?” There’s no need. One could also argue that a million white guys descend upon D.C. regularly. It’s part of a daily event known as the normal course of business.

And one could additionally argue that if I was just another white guy I wouldn’t have to go to D.C. at all to protest for my rights. Precisely! And that’s my point. Look at all the fun I’d miss out on. I know there are many guys who are just another white guy but still manage to live fun and fulfilling lives. To that I say hey, more power to them. But it ain’t the life for me. But I’m not about to be cured any time soon so I guess I can stop worrying about it.

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