Friday, July 13, 2018

Wheelchairs (and Stuff Like That) Should be Free

So there I was, attending this trade show featuring goods and services for cripples. It’s like the Auto Show for cripples except the only autos on display there are cripple accessible vans. Nothing James Bond would drive.

Also, at the cripple trade show, there aren’t gorgeous models in tight, sequined dresses selling stuff like catheters. All the salespeople wear polo shirts emblazoned with their company logo.


The guys who work for the company that made my wheelchair wore black polo shirts. They had several of their spiffiest, new, never-been-driven motorized wheelchairs on display. I heard the head sales guy say to another, “Hey, what happened to the guy that took off with that wheelchair?” It seemed that a few minutes earlier, while all the sales guys were busy schmoozing customers, some guy who wasn’t even in a wheelchair in the first place hopped into one of the display chairs and took it for a test drive.

“I don’t know,” said another sales guy. “Last time I saw, he went that way.”

So the sales force fanned out in different directions looking for the guy who made off with the chair. I was excited because I appeared to be witnessing a brilliant heist! I imagined the guy nonchalantly slipping into the wheelchair and disappearing into a crowd of about 200 other people in wheelchairs. And then he exits the convention hall just as casually and rolls right into the waiting, getaway accessible cripple van.

I was rooting for him to pull it off because I think wheelchairs and stuff like that (catheters, hearing aids, etc.) should be free. I guess that makes me a socialist. Cool if it does. I is what I is.

But shit like that is expensive as hell and it’s not like cripples are buying it because we’re bored and we don’t know what else to do with all of our disposable income. It’s not like we're buying a pet giraffe. We can’t live without it.

So any time a cripple can figure out a way to get what they need without relinquishing a limb or reproductive organ to pay for it, I’m all in on that. I swear to God I once saw a crippled woman rolling down the sidewalk in a clunky scooter and it sure looked like one of those scooters they have for customers to use at big box stores. I fantasized about her driving out of the store and never looking back, triumphantly saying to herself, “Fuck you, Medicaid!”

I hoped the cart she swiped was from Walmart. It’s the same way I feel about bank robbing. If it’s a big fat fucking corporate bank like Chase, then I’m inclined to cheer for the bank robbers. The only thing that sucks about it is that poor, innocent mopes who work as tellers and security guards get traumatized in the process. But they say that soon all those jobs will be done by robots so when that day comes I’ll for sure be with the bank robbers Who gives a shit how many robots get shot?

The sales guys returned looking forlorn. No sign of the wheelchair thief. The head sales guy said to inform security. APB: Be on the lookout for someone in a wheelchair! Taser all cripples! If anyone jumps out of their wheelchair and runs, tackle him!

But then the sales guys all exhaled in relief as the thief returned. He apologized. He said he just thought it might be fun to try out a motorized wheelchair. He didn’t mean to scare anyone.

I was so disappointed.



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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Frequent Flyer Cripples


One time before I boarded a plane to fly to Washington D.C., I ate a burrito at the airport food court. And then, as I sat buckled in my seat waiting for takeoff, I said to myself, “Why the hell did you do that?” I’ve never taken a shit one a commercial airliner, but I’m told it’s quite the cramped experience. I’m told that if you’re more than six feet tall and you sit down on the bowl, your knees press against the back of the door. So I wonder what big-time basketball stars do when they’re not flying on private jets with custom–designed bathrooms. Do they shit with the door open? Does everybody in first class see a pair of long, hairy, bare legs protruding from the bathroom, with pants down around the ankles?

I’m in the same boat with those guys. I’ve never been in an airliner bathroom because, first of all, when I fly they take my wheelchair away and toss it in with the luggage down below. So when I fly I have a two-step preparation ritual. I dehydrate myself and pray.

When I ate that burrito, it suddenly occurred to me what might happen if that burrito started barking within me. There might well be a headline that read, “Flight Forced to Make Emergency Landing in Cleveland Because Dumbass Cripple Ate a Burrito.”

Fortunately, I summoned up all my powers of Zen mind and bowel control and we landed in D. C. without incident. But I don’t fly that much. Maybe once or twice a year. And I wondered how the hell cripples who are frequent flyers manage.

So I talked to this paraplegic guy who says he flies somewhere pretty much every week. He catheterizes himself every three hours. So he always tries his damndest to get a window seat because in the crammed coach section of a commercial flight, that’s the closest thing you can get to a private space. And when the three-hour mark rolls around, he discreetly pulls out a blanket, puts it over his head like a kid reading a porn magazine in bed with a flashlight, and he catheterizes himself. Almost every time, he says, there’s someone sitting in the seat right next to him while he does it.

I don’t think I’ll ever become a frequent flyer unless I’m rich enough to always fly premium first class, which means I have the first class section all to myself. Even then, I won't eat a burrito.


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