Monday, January 23, 2012

The Feeble-Minded Football League

Well I guess I feel better now. At least I didn’t go to a school for the feeble minded.

Like I’ve said, the state-operated cripple boarding school from which I obtained my high school diploma is called the Illinois Children’s Hospital School. I called it the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT) because I hated the hell out of the real name. What college admissions department was going to take me seriously when my diploma said I was not just a child but a child who needed to be hospitalized?

But there used to be a whole bunch of state-operated schools called schools for the feeble minded. My favorite is the Massachusetts School for Idiotic and Feeble-Minded Youth.

So first off, what the hell’s with the judgmental names? Feeble minded? Idiotic? As if any human isn’t at some point. They could have at least had the decency to call them schools for the feeble mindedest and idioticer. Are those even words? See how feeble minded I am?

But when you’re hung with a label like feeble minded, it’s like being skunked. It’s pretty damn hard to get rid of it. By some miracle (or computer glitch), my diploma got me into Southern Illinois University. But if I went to a school for the feeble minded, even the University of Phoenix wouldn’t take me. I wouldn’t even get into that fashion design school I see commercials for when I watch the Three Stooges. (I suppose this is a moot point. Schools for the feeble minded don't sound like places from which anyone ever graduates anyway.)

We crips at the cripple school didn’t have any of the big extracurricular stuff high school students get excited about. We didn’t have a high school prom. You can argue about whether that’s good or bad, but we didn’t have one. I’m sure the same was true for the poor feebs at the feeble minded schools. Who in the outside community would step up to provide a venue for such an event? Would the local Holiday Inn be willing to have WELCOME PROM FOR THE FEEBLE MINDED posted on its marquee? Charity only goes so far.

At our cripple school, we didn’t have a yearbook. And we didn’t have a football team either. I hope they at least let them have football teams at the feeble minded schools. Hell, there were once so many schools for the feeble minded across America that they could have formed the Feeble-Minded Football League. Just about every state also had a “Lunatic Hospital” so if they too had their own football league, there could have been an annual championship game: Loonies versus Feebs. As grand a tradition as Army versus Navy.

I know it’s pie-in-the-sky to think the inmates at the schools for the feeble minded were allowed any extracurriculars. Their curriculars probably consisted of playing checkers and Go Fish and drinking warm milk laced with knockout drops. When you’re hung with a label like feeble minded, it’s like there’s a cowbell surgically attached to your tailbone. It clangs whenever you flinch, warning the villagers that the feeble minded might be on the loose.


  1. you've outdone yourself, Mike. And If I were in charge at University of Pheonix, I would let you in.

  2. OMG I laughed at the Massachusetts School for Idiotic and Feeble-Minded Youth. Whose bright idea was THAT?

  3. "Massachusetts School for Idiotic and Feeble-Minded Youth"

    Today known as Northeastern University ... ;)

  4. "Rootie toot toot, rootie toot toot,
    We're the girls from the Institute.
    We don't smoke and we don't chew.
    We don't go out with boys who do.

    We ain't got no boyfriends."

    Delivered in a singsong style. There was an FMI in the history of this town where my parents grew up and I have spent some years. Below the Mason Dixon line.

    The classifications and naming seem incredible to us now. But in a land living with the artifice of Jim Crow...anything is accepted.

  5. What is more offensive? - The original name of the school from +120 *years* ago, or that the CURRENT wikipedia page for the school uses the phrase "mentally retarded"

  6. Holy cow, and I thought the former names of Holland Bloorview Kid's Rehab in Toronto were bad--it started out as the Home for Incurable Children, then later became the Ontario Crippled Children's Centre.

  7. ha ha "...even the University of Phoenix wouldn't take me" zing!

    I believe idiot is a technical term which connotes a specfic IQ range. There's a sliding scale...idiot, moron, vegetable, etc. But considering how it has passed into the vernacular, it shouldn't be used this way i.e. as the name of a school. As for "feeble-minded", I'm speechless.

    What would be a good name? How about The Stephen Hawking Institute of Overachievers?

  8. MAJOR IRONY ALERT! Smart Ass Cripple's post includes hilarious poke at University of Phoenix and its for-profit "university" ilk. My browser cookie picks up reference so page is covered with ads for - you guessed it - "ITT Tech", "Western Governors University", "Walden University", etc.

  9. I just found your blog thanks to @rogerebert twitter. i have tears from laughing so hard!!! as the mom of a aspi i love seeing the this entry!!!! as my "feeble" minded 7 year old son is finishing the 5th grade! keep it up your amazing!!!!

  10. They do allow feeble minded students into college, but only if they can play football. At least, that's the impression I get listening to sideline interviews with football players.