My dad had three kids with his first wife. None of them were crippled. Then my dad had three more kids with my mom. All crippled. I was the last one to come along so it must’ve been me they were talking about that day back when I was a tiny criplet and my mom overheard one of her in-laws say, “I blame her for this.”
Blame. That word smacked my mom across the back of the head like an irate nun. You never blame someone for doing something good. “I blame YOU for rescuing my infant child from the jaws of that alligator!”
One of the problems with being crippled is that it’s nearly impossible to sneak up on anybody. People always see and or hear us coming. They can even see most cripples coming while we’re still in the womb these days, what with ultrasound and amniocentesis and all.
I was born back in the days when crippled fetuses could still be stealth. We could fly under the radar and wait until the very last minute to spring our crippledness on everybody. Surprise! And by then it was too late! These days, if you catch us coming early, you can abort us. But once we’re born you’re stuck with us. There are no laws allowing you to smother us and start all over, yet.
My mother always swore she never would have aborted me anyway. Crippled or not, she believed her children would become intelligent, sensitive adults who would use their great talents to make the world a better place. Fortunately, she’s not around to read Smart Ass Cripple.
But still, I’ve always been tempted to form an exclusive cripple fraternity called Coulda Beena Borted. It’s a kinship I share with cripples who are born with spina bifida, Down Syndrome, dwarfism, congenital amputations and all the other stuff obstetricians can spot from a mile away. All you quadriplegics and stroke people and those who became crippled beyond the womb would not be allowed to join Coulda Beena Borted. Sorry. You’re not invited to our annual Coulda Beena Borted reunion and picnic. But all conjoined twins are welcome.
But I’m always hesitant to even bring up this abortion shit because I know what will happen. Some right winger will seize it as an opportunity to show that they are really the true friends of cripples. If they were in charge, we wouldn’t have to worry about being aborted. They would tenaciously defend our right to be born.
They’re right about that. No doubt they would guard every crippled fetus like a junkyard dog, right up until the second they are born. After that, you’re on your own, Maxwell. That’s the American way.
Crippled fetuses are much easier to love than actual crippled humans, especially when they’re still in that cuddly phase all fetuses go through—-half child half tadpole-—with their adorably bulbous bald heads like the Wizard of Oz and their little webbed fingers. Crippled fetuses don’t talk back. But then they’re born and before you know it they get mouthy and start demanding welfare. When they’re born it ruins everything. Their pristine innocence is forever lost. That’s what is meant by original sin.
Therefore, I’ll never follow through on organizing Coula Beena Borted. Because if I do some zealot will hijack a poor future criplet’s ultrasound and turn them into a poster fetus.