Friday, January 6, 2012


John, one of my assistants, said he had to get up off his ass and finally go renew his driver’s license. He’s put it off because he dreads waiting in the long line at the DMV.

Just then, a bold, superhero voice in my head bellowed: “This is a job for Rent-A-Cripple!”

Rent-A-Cripple is my imaginary temp employment agency for cripples. There are times when having a cripple hanging around can be very advantageous for a “vert” (which is short for vertical, which is slang for people who walk.) These are the times when verts should make an SOS call to Rent-A-Cripple.

John could get through the DMV in a flash if he hired me to go with him. Because for some reason, whenever I show up there they wave me right on through, right up to the service window. And the frustrated verts corralled in the queue look at me with a combination of resentment and alarm. Half of them seem to think I’m being hustled ahead because I’m a bitter cripple who thinks the whole damn world owes him something. The rest seem to think I’m being hustled ahead because maybe I’m contagious.

Disney World was once a great place to hire Rent-A-Cripple. Like the DMV, being crippled was often a free pass to the front of the lines. My friend Marca, who’s a paraplegic, took her kids to Disney World way back when they were small. And it sure seemed to her that there were an awful lot of people rolling around in Disney loaner wheelchairs. And then she overheard a family in the guest services line have the following discussion:

Dad said, “Now remember, Suzie, it’s your turn to act like you need a wheelchair.”

And Suzie said, “I don’t wanna do it! Make Billy do it!”

And Billy said, “I did it last time! You do it!”

And sure enough, later on, Marca saw Billy pushing a pouting Suzie in a Disney loaner wheelchair. I’m told Disney World is a lot more accessible these days so cripples often wait in line with everybody else, thanks to that fucking Americans With Disabilities Act!

Rent-A-Cripple provides employment opportunities for lots of people with Down syndrome. If your reputation needs to be repaired or reframed, it can be very advantageous to have someone with Down syndrome on retainer. Because when you see someone with Down syndrome, what’s the first thing you think? You think “Special Olympics,” right? Good! Stop right there! That’s as far as you need to think! Down syndrome people have this image of always being warm and cuddly. Of course they’re way more complex than that, but that’s the image they’re all stuck with until one of them goes out and robs a bank or something.

So when you’re seen in public with someone with Down syndrome, you proclaim that you are a friend to someone with “special needs.” This is always a PR goldmine, especially if your special someone with “special needs” is a baby. Remember Sarah Palin at the ’08 republican convention? She’s up there giving her speech and whenever they showed a shot of her family, there was her special needs baby in someone’s arms. And the baby was always asleep. All around, 30,000 republicans screamed their fool fucking heads off. A brass band blared. And through it all, the baby remained passed out like a drunk on the subway. Either that baby was chock-full of barbiturates or that was really a stand-in stunt baby someone found in the prop closet. Either way, it got the point across.

Rent-A-Cripple does not come with a money-back guarantee. I can’t promise that having one of us hanging around you will always achieve your desired result. That’s a good thing; otherwise Sarah Palin would be vice president.


  1. I never thought of that. Can you put me on your list? I'm having a heck of a time finding a regular job (recently disabled).

  2. You forgot it can get you laid. Don't you remember that movie with Hugh Grant where his deaf brother got him into Andy Whatshernames pants?

    Downs. I swear this has happened in a movie where the guy's brother has Downs'.

    I think it only works on women though.

  3. Wait Wait Wait Wait Wait Wait Wait Wait WAIT!!

    What's this happy horse shit about JD Powers certifying smart assess? And cripple smart asses at that. Are you sure this is not comparable to a Special Olympics type of JD Power cripple smart ass recommendations where you get a ribbon just for showing up and it makes all the normals pretend to feel better as they bury their anger they are not allowed to have or even express at a cripple. Kicking cripple ass is very much not allowed except in dark alleys, in prisons and insane asylums.

    That's major discrimination against healthy body smart asses. Being a smart ass comes from pain or anger and being a cripple you have both. IT is much harder to be a world class smart ass in a healthy body, you have to dig a lot deeper and it's a lot harder to make it and get to the world class level alive without some (in)sensitive jock crippling you for your mad skillz he is not socially prepared to tolerate. So cripple smart asses might feel safe, but remember that wheelchair bound old woman smart ass in Rosemary's Baby. She got pushed down a horrifying flight of stairs in her wheelchair. And she did take flight.

    Smart ass cripples are almost a cliché. What's so hard about being a smart ass when you have polio legs and are in constant pain. Being crippled like that gives you like superpowers in the smart ass dept. And it's expected for you to be a smart ass. A cripple that was sweet, nice and understanding as Jesus, that would be something to have JD certify.

    But it doesn't exist. Name a movie where the cripple is not a smart ass. I dare you, you can't. How about that little black elf midget cripple in "Bad Santa". Or the short arm freak and the turkey and the bald wheel chair guy in "Scary Movie". Mini-me just goes without saying. That SlingBlade guy. He just held it all in until he killed you. The squashed midget guys in "Phantasm". Ommpa-loompas!!!! And every Quiki Mart, retail and all bank employees. Cripples by definition due to their chosen field of profession.

    I officially challenge you for your JD Power certification. I submit my qualifications with this posted comment and then check out all my Tweets on Twitter.

    In closing - Fuck You.

    PS - Would you mind autograpghing one of your books for me. It would really help to have visual aids as I destroy your rep.

  4. Rent-a-cripple is marvellous for Christmas shopping. Parking spaces near the lifts or exits (sometimes at a reduced rate or even free depending on who runs the car park) is only the start of it. Why battle through the crowds with arms full of shopping when you can hang it onto your friend's mobility scooter, and saunter easily along in their wake as the crowds part like the sea before Moses for fear of getting their toes run over. Other perks include table service in Starbucks and being able to use carpool lanes.

    @Skylonda - have you seen (or read) *Heidi*? Fucking Clara, as meek and mild a vapid cripple as you could ever hope for who turns into an equally unmemorable non-cripple. Same goes for *The Secret Garden* - crippled Colin throws a couple of strops, but doesn't actually demonstrate any smart-assedness, just pain-in-the-assedness. And his semi-crippled father (scoliosis and depression, but it doesn't seem to *disable* him under current definitions) isn't a smart-ass either, just a sulky asshole. Wouldn't care to be stuck in a lift with any of them.

  5. As a mother of a kid in a wheelchair I can attest to the fact that you do have to wait in many (not all) lineups at Disney World. We do get waved into the special wickets at airport customs, which is fast; but also get sent to the airline "special services" queues, which isn't. And there's no question that with a kid in a wheelchair authority figures are generally a lot nicer to you!

    Love, love your column!

  6. I'm Available cheap, just feed me (not cheap - takes alot of work to weigh 300 lbs.), as a bonus I have a Smart Ass attitude. And if you do not 'tip' I will accidentally run over your foot.

  7. I have some proof your idea doesn't work all the time. McCain hired a mental cripple Palin to be his VP partner and they lost the election.

  8. You are dating yourself! In olden days crips got to the front of the line. This is increasingly rare today. Does not happen at motor vehicles for sure. It does happen at JFK AIrport. My son and I were talking about this recently--we were on a very long line. I told him about getting moved to the front. He shook his head and said Dad equality and equal rights can suck.

  9. My family did Disney World in 92 and we didn't stand in any lines, I'm on crutches