Everyone knows I’m a badass. I’ve got the bullhorns to prove it—not one but two! I got a bullhorn under my bed, a bullhorn in the back of my car. And there are usually some stained and battered all-purpose protest signs in the back of my car, with timeless messages like STOP THE MADNESS and HELL NO WE WON’T GO! I always carry around bullhorns and protest signs for the same reason some guys always carry around condoms: You never know when an opportunity will arise so always be prepared.
I’m such a badass, I’ve eaten more than one jailhouse bologna sandwich in my day. You don’t get one of those unless you’re such a badass protester that the police keep you in custody long enough to where they have to feed you. It’s a single slice of bologna smashed between two pieces of doughy white bread, maybe with a smear of mayo. The only places they serve bologna sandwiches like that are in the lockup and in sheltered workshops.
I’ve been arrested for disrupting meetings, occupying politicians’ offices, blocking streets. Yep, I’ve always told myself that the fascists better thank their lucky fascist asses that I was only about 10 years old when the people took to the streets in the 1960s. Because if I’d have been old enough, I’d have been out there leading the way, because obviously I was born to be a badass, and the fascists would have turned tail and run and there’d be no fascists anymore. And I’ve always told myself that if the people ever take to the streets like that again I’ll jump right in and lock arms with my brothers and sisters and march on to victory no matter what the cost because that’s what badasses do. They give it all up for the revolution!
And now here they are taking to the streets again. The Occupiers are just a few blocks away from my home in downtown Chicago. And I plan to dash right out there and lock arms with them and run the fascists out of town, as soon as spring comes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big time badass, but not when it’s so damn cold. I’m a thousand times more crippled in the winter because the more layers I have on the less I can move my body and I can’t move my body all that much to begin with so protesting in winter is out for me. And I can’t protest in the rain either because if my wheelchair gets too wet it shorts out and stops moving and then I’m screwed. So I’m pretty much limited to being a badass on warm and sunny days. But the next time the Occupiers hold a march on a warm and sunny day, I’ll be right there front and center with my badass self! That is as long I have no family stuff or anything like that going on. I would have been right there in the middle of that march the Occupiers had on that warm and sunny day a few weeks back, but my bad ass had a previous commitment. My sister-in-law was getting married in Philly.
It makes me wonder how I ever managed to balance being an active citizen with commitments to my community, my work and my family with being such an awesome badass. It’s getting harder and harder to do. When my badass friends and I decide we’ve had it up to here with the brutality of the fascist oligarchy and we’re going to commit an act of blatant defiance, we all pull out our date books:
Smart Ass Cripple: All right, let’s commit an act of blatant defiance against the fascist oligarchy next Thursday at noon.
Badass friend #1: Can’t do it on Thursday. I’ve got a dentist appointment.
Badass friend #2: Well cancel it. Don’t you hate the fascist oligarchy?
Badass friend #1: Of course I do! But this is a root canal. I can commit an act of blatant defiance on Wednesday.
Badass friend #2: Wednesday’s out. Jewish holiday. How about the 25th?
Smart Ass Cripple: Not the 25th! That’s my birthday.
Did Che Guevara and Fidel Castro have this problem?
Fidel: We shall launch the Cuban revolution on Sunday!
Che: Oh man, Sunday’s real bad. It’s my niece’s first holy communion. My wife’ll kill me if I blow it off. Let’s launch the revolution on Tuesday.
Fidel: Tuesday is my yoga day.
Che: Yoga? Are you serious, Fidel?
Fidel: Hey, don’t I deserve a little “me” time?
Maybe I’m not such a badass anymore. But I’m not throwing away my bullhorns and signs. I can feel it coming soon, the day when the masses finally rise up and overthrow the oppressors! And when that glorious day finally arrives, I hope it’s not raining.