Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Love Speech



Anybody who’s thinking about saying something hateful about cripples on Twitter better think twice. The very first sentence of Twitter’s hateful conduct policy says,  You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”

Violating this policy can get you banned from Twitter.

It’s good that Twitter is cracking down on hate speech against cripples. Why not? But now Twitter needs to stop cripples from being brutalized by the opposite of hate speech, which I guess I’ll call love speech. I think cripples have been victimized by love speech a lot more than by hate speech. Like for instance, when cripples are locked up with no possibility of parole in places like nursing homes and state institutions, those responsible for locking us up never try to justify it by saying , “We need to lock these cripples up because they’re all a bunch of predators and thugs!” Nope, instead they say stuff like, “We need to protect these poor, fragile, most vulnerable citizens from harm because we love them so much.”

 Twitter’s hateful conduct policy also says, “We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category…We also prohibit the dehumanization of a group of people based on their religion, age, disability, or serious disease.”

So that’s all the more reason Twitter needs to also crack down on love speech because that exactly how love speech works. It dehumanizes. How about all that inspiration porn? Those are those stories in the media where they gush about how courageous a cripple is for doing a simple thing like going to the grocery store. Those stories are feel-good because they make lots of people feel blessed that they’re not crippled. And then there are those stories we see all the fucking time where some cripple rises from their wheelchair and triumphantly walks across the stage to receive their diploma or down the aisle to get married. These stories congratulate cripples for putting so much of their heart and soul into proving to themselves and everyone else that they’re not so abnormal, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

That’s why inspirational cripple stories inspire me to puke. I fear getting mugged by them most of all. But if you engage in cripple love speech on Twitter, you’ll probably be all right.

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Sunday, October 4, 2020

The Crippled Guy in the Burger King Commercial


I saw a crippled guy in a Burger King television commercial.

It was in a montage of people who are supposed to look like ordinary folks off the street. They were probably actors who auditioned for the role of ordinary person off the street but the point is one of them was crippled. And each of those in the ordinary folks off the street montage said something about what makes a Whopper burger taste so great. The first one sang the praises of the beef patty. The next one gushed about the lettuce, tomato and onion and the third one was a crippled guy who rubbed his hands together enthusiastically and said “and ketchup!”

The crippled guy was only on screen for about two seconds. But it was clear that he was in a wheelchair because he was sitting and you could see the push handle of a wheelchair behind his shoulder.

I’m not sure what this all means but whatever it means I guess it’s good, all things considered. Cripples are always bitching about how we never see authentic cripples on stage and screen. When there are stories about cripples, we’re usually played by uncrippled actors. And a lot of those actors win Oscars for playing a cripple.

But the cripple in the Burger King commercial looked like an actual cripple to me. But then again, who knows. It all went by so fast. I suppose if those were actors playing ordinary folks off the street, whomever cast the commercial could’ve cast an uncrippled guy in the role of crippled ordinary guy off the street and sat him down in a wheelchair. That would suck but in a way it would still be good that Burger King thought it was important that a commercial designed to show how everybody loves the Whopper must include a cripple.

And even if those really were ordinary folks off the street, it’s good that Burger King sought out a crippled ordinary person off the street to contribute to the montage. Or even if they weren’t specifically seeking out a cripple, maybe they couldn’t help but include this cripple in the montage because he said “and ketchup” with such unbridled joy. That’s good, too.

I certainly hope it wasn’t a case where they took an uncrippled ordinary person off the street and had him sit in a wheelchair and say “and ketchup” while rubbing his hands together. But even so, again it would go back to Burger King feeling compelled for whatever reason to make the point that ordinary folks off the street includes cripples.

So at the end of the day, when that cripple said “and ketchup” on a Burger King commercials that millions of people will see, I guess he made the world a little better place for cripples. 

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

No Thanks , I'll Sleep in


 Apparently there is some kind of injection that’s a treatment for that which makes me and other people like me crippled. It’s not like the Hollywood version of cripple treatments and cures. It doesn’t make us leap up out of wheelchairs and go waterskiing or anything. From what I hear, about all this treatment does is somewhat slow the progression of that which makes us crippled.

I don’t know much about this treatment because I haven’t looked into it much. And I don’t think I’m going to look into it because I have a couple of friends who are trying it out and it doesn’t sound like much fun to me. First of all, this injection must cost a zillion dollars because my friends say they had to fight like hell with their insurance companies to get them to pay for it. And I don’t know about you, but for me there is no endeavor that’s more soul-crushing and makes me feel more like I’ve had precious hours of life stolen from me than fighting like hell with my insurance company. That’s why everybody hates insurance companies.

My friends also tell me that the injection goes directly into their spinal cords. Whaaaaat? Need I say more about that?

But to me, the most intolerable deal-breaking aspect of it all is that my friends have to be at their doctor’s office bright and early to receive their injection, like about 8 a.m. So that means that on Injection Day, they have to get up around 4 a.m. I don’t know why it has to be that way. Why can’t they get injected in the middle of the afternoon? It’s almost like the medical professionals have to make sure that getting treated and/or cured entails some element of suffering for us. Otherwise they’re letting us off the hook too easy.

So, to recap, if I want to get the treatment I’d have to fight like hell with my Insurance company in order to receive an injection directly into my spine. And worst of all, I’d have to get up at 4 a.m!

I know what will happen. I’ll hear the alarm at 4 a.m. and I’ll say fuck it. I don’t even think I’d be motivated enough to get up even if the treatment might make me leap up out of my wheelchair and go waterskiing. I’ve lived this long without waterskiing. At this point in my life, I’d rather sleep in. That’s about all that’s left on my bucket list. I don't know if that's good or bad, but that's what it is.

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Friday, September 11, 2020

Ask Smart Ass Cripple: Volume 5, Opus 42 in D-Flat Minor



Dear Smart Ass Cripple,

Why do blind people wear sunglasses?

Eternally yours,

Always Questioning


Dear Always Questioning,

I think blind people always wearing sunglasses is just some made-up Hollywood bull shit. Because I’ve known a shitload of blind people throughout my long and prosperous life and none of them ever wear sunglasses—not even when it’s sunny.

And all that stuff about blind people feeling your face so they can get an idea what you look like is some Hollywood bull shit, too. No blind person has ever asked me if they could feel my face. I know that doesn’t necessarily prove my point. There could be a variety of reasons why blind people wouldn’t want to feel my particular face. Maybe they think they’re better off with a don’t-ask-don’t-tell approach when it comes to my face.  Or maybe they’ve been warned by sighted people that exploring my face wouldn’t be a pleasant journey.  But like I said, I’ve been around a lot of blind people and some of them have been quite drunk. So you’d think the odds are that at least one of them would’ve been drunk enough to ask to feel my face by now. And I’ve never seen a blind person feeling up anybody else’s face either. Maybe that’s not the kind of thing they do in public. I don’t know.

Another thing I can tell you is that I’ve never met one blind person who admits to taking acid. Every once in a while I get to know a blind person well enough to where I feel comfortable asking them if they ever took acid. I ask them that because I heard that the jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who was blind as hell, claimed he could see when he took acid. I imagine he saw things, though probably what he saw weren’t the things that were actually in front of him at the time. So that’s why I’ve asked a few blind people if they ever took acid because I want to know if they saw things and what they saw. But so far none have fessed up that they took acid.

Actually, I take back what I said about sunglasses. I sort of know one blind person who wears sunglasses a lot. But I don’t feel like I know him well enough to ask him why. I really ought to make the effort to get to know him better, because he seems like the type of guy who probably took acid.


Dear Smart Ass Cripple,

If you could say one thing to your younger self, what would it be?


The Great Contemplator


Dear Contemplator,

If I could say one thing to my younger self, it would definitely be, “What in the hell possessed you to organize that cripple square dancing event?”

Way back when, I used to organize social events for cripples. And for some reason, I put together a square dance once. I don’t know what the hell came over me! I know there’s nothing more cornball than square dancing. It’s the kind of activity they’d have in a fucking nursing home.

I have this fear that someday I’m going to be up for a seat on the Supreme Court or something and somebody will come forward and reveal that I once organized a  cripple square dance event and then everybody will think I must secretly be cornball as hell and I'll be sunk. All I can do is hope and pray that everyone who showed up for my cripple square dance is dead.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Am I a "High-Functioning" Cripple?


Ever since I was a kid I’ve heard certain cripples referred to as “high-functioning.”

Every cripple wants to be thought of as high-functioning, even though nobody knows exactly what it means. But it sure sounds nice, doesn’t it? People take you a lot more seriously when they think you’re high-functioning. It separates you from the lowly cripples. It puts you among the cripple elite.

So I’ve thought a lot over the years about whether or not I can rightfully call myself high-functioning. But I still don’t know. I guess the problem is I don’t know the calculation for determining which cripples are high-functioning. It seems to me that the way this is done by comparing one cripple to another.

But even when I do that, I still don’t know where I stand. Because what if you compare me to some brawny cripple who’s won a zillion gold medals in the Paralympics? In that case, I always come out looking like Tiny fucking Tim.

Is that fair? It’s like comparing apples to cerebral palsies. Maybe the only fair way to determine if a cripple is high-functioning is to compare them just to cripples of the same genre. But is that fair? It might distort the concept of high-functioning all to hell. I mean, if you compare two cripples who have Lou Gehrig’s disease, then the one who blinks is high-functioning.

It looks to me like there is no officially recognized standard for determining which cripples deserve to be deemed high-functioning. It’s all subjective. So I’ll stick to comparing myself only to cripples within my own genre. Because according to a lot of dumbass doctors, cripples of my genre are supposed to die before we get very far into adulthood. And I’m still alive, so I guess that makes me high-functioning.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Solidarity with the Homeless Guy Eating Chicken



I was rolling down the sidewalk. A homeless guy was camped out for the night in front of the entrance of a closed store.

He sat on a dirty blanket that was spread out on the ground, eating a hunk of chicken. When he looked up and saw me rolling by he held out his food, as if to offer it to me, and he said, “You hungry?”

There was a time when I would’ve been disturbed by that. Homeless people are almost always very nice to me, even though I never give them money. It’s too much of a pain in the ass for me to dig cash out of the leather pouch attached to the side of my wheelchair so if they ask for money I just lie and say I don’t have any.

For some reason, a lot of homeless people call me “big guy” when I pass them. “How ya doing, big guy?” They’re almost always eager to help me. One time a homeless guy ran out in the street when he saw me coming, stopped traffic and waved me across like a crossing guard, even though I didn’t need him to. All I had to do was wait for the light to change.

Sometimes homeless people ask everyone else who passes them for money but they don't ask me. I used to be insulted by that. It used make me feel like demanding that they ask me for money too, even though I’d lie and say I didn’t have any if they did. Or it made me feel like I should flash two hundred bucks at them, just to teach that presumptuous homeless person that not all cripples are even more broke ass than they are.

But that was stupid of me to feel that way. Why should I assume that if a homeless guy tries to give me his food, it’s because he thinks I’m pathetic? I guess it’s because that’s what cripples are used to. We can become jaded because we’re bombarded by the fake generosity of charity, where people give because they see a cripple and think, “There but for the grace of God go I!” In other words, pity.

That’s probably why I assumed that when a homeless person tries to help me, it’s because they think I’m pathetic. But when I try to help them, it’s not because I think they’re pathetic. The people I think are pathetic are the Young Republicans.

So maybe when the homeless guy offered me his chicken, what he felt was empathy. Maybe he saw me as a brother who’s left out, too. What’s his is mine.

So when the homeless guy offered me his chicken, I decided to take it as a gesture of solidarity. I just said, “Thanks, man. I’m good.”

He resumed eating. He looked relieved.   

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Monday, August 17, 2020

Cause of Death: Ass Wiping




Holy shit! You know those television shows about people who do really dangerous jobs? Like the one where guys drive trucks in Alaska through mountains in a blizzard?

Well guess what’s rapidly becoming the most dangerous profession?  Working as an aide in a goddam nursing home! I know it sounds like I’m trying to be funny here but I’m not. Well actually, I am trying to be funny, but I’m not lying.

I read it in the Washington Post. It said because the virus is rampaging through nursing homes, so many people who work in them as certified nursing assistants are dying that if the pace keeps up it will be even more deadly than jobs like logging and commercials fishing. And being a CNA in a nursing home pays for shit, too. That Post story said that the average pay is $590 a week.

But I’m not surprised by any of this. People who work in nursing homes aren’t the only ones who are sitting ducks for the virus. The last I heard, 33 percent of those who have been killed by the virus have been people who are stuck living in nursing homes.

Nursing homes show how much cripples are the disposable rejects of society, especially broke ass cripples. Nursing homes are where we are dumped for committing the offense of needing someone to wipe our asses for us. How rude can we be to expect such pampering?  And if you need Medicaid to pay someone to wipe your ass because you don’t have money to pay someone out of your own pocket to do it, you’ll probably have no choice but to surrender yourself over to a nursing home. And usually there’s a greedy pig who owns a chain of nursing homes making a million bucks off of our captivity.

So it logically follows that those who wipe our asses would be considered disposable rejects, too. They’re sullied by association. It’s the dirtiest of the dirty work. They’re touching the untouchables.

Maybe soon they’ll make a television show where they follow nursing home CNAs through their perilous and harrowing workdays. And there they are risking their lives by wiping the asses of cripples. It’s high drama! 

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Friday, August 7, 2020

The ADA Armadillo


Sometimes the only way to get an idea to penetrate the thick skulls of some humans is to enlist the help of a fictitious furry animal.

A great example is Smokey Bear. You could have the head of the U.S. Forrest Service stand up there and say all the stuff Smokey says about fire prevention all day long and nobody would hear a word. But when a cartoon bear wearing a ranger hat says the same damn thing, it gets people’s attention.

Smokey even gets people to accept a little personal responsibility for contributing to the common good, which is really hard to do. Smokey says that only they can prevent fires and they realize that it’s a collective effort. It takes all of us pitching in to make it happen. If the head of the U.S. Forrest Service said that, a lot of people would bristle because they’d say it’s big brother government trying to tell them what to do. But when Smokey says to do it, it sounds downright patriotic.

So maybe it’s time to have some sort of furry mascot promoting cripple access and rights. Yeah, there are fancy laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act, but big deal. It may take a furry mascot to completely drive home what it’s all about.

Like for instance, there’s this pizza place down the block from me that has steps on front. I could sue them, I suppose. But I think it would be much more effective if a talking bear pointed at them like Uncle Sam and admonished them to do their part and build a ramp. How can anybody say no to a talking bear? You’d have to be some kind of communist or something.

So if the federal government was really serious about making the ADA work, somebody in some agency somewhere would conjure up something like the ADA Bear. It could be a bear in a wheelchair or a blind bear with a white cane and sunglasses or a one-legged bear or a Down Syndrome bear or whatever. And somebody in a bear suit could make public appearances, like at strip mall grand openings and school assemblies, and rev people up about the ADA.

Maybe it shouldn't be a bear, since that might be criticized as derivative. How about a talking iguana? An armadillo? The ADA Armadillo has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? Whatever it is, the animal must be strategically chosen. It has to have a certain cuddliness, but it also must command some authority without being authoritarian about it. People don’t do what Smokey says because they fear he’ll attack them if they don’t. They do it because he’s so damn irresistible. And when the ADA Armadillo tells people to do their part, it can’t come off as a guilt trip or people will balk. It has to be more like a rah-rah rallying cry.

So come on, federal government! It’s time to put up or shut up! No more talk! It’s time for real action! We demand a furry mascot! Oh wait! Armadillos aren’t furry, are they? Oh well, whatever.  

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Living la Vida Cripple

Being crippled can be a tremendous gift for some people because, if you play your cards right, it can give you an ironclad excuse for sitting on your ass and doing nothing. And that’s all some people want out of life.

You know the type of people I’m talking about. I’m talking about the slackers. I’m talking about the stoner types, both literally and figuratively. They’d just as soon lie around on the couch all day and watch TV  and/or play video games and eat chips. Some people love having an excuse for not doing anything because they’re terrified of failing so if they don’t try to do anything they won’t fail at anything. So if they have an excuse for not doing anything then they can feel content and satisfied because they can tell themselves and others that they would’ve succeeded at a lot of stuff if they could’ve but they couldn’t so it’s not their fault.

And if you’re crippled, you can use it as an excuse for not doing just about anything if you want to. You can probably collect Social Security and not work. If you hustle enough, you might even score a space in public housing for yourself with super discount rent. Of course you won’t have much money left for anything else but hell, who’s counting? Some things are more important than money, eh?

And it’s not really accurate to say that cripples situated thusly do nothing. It takes effort to acquire such a lifestyle. Stuff like Social Security and public housing don’t just falleth from the sky. You have to jump through the flaming hoops of applying for them and then duke it out with the bureaucracies when they initially turn you down. That can be a full time job. It’s a lot easier to become a slacker cripple if you’re rich because you've already got stuff like money and housing. You can skip all the bull shit and go directly to the slacker promised land. No lines, no waiting.

But regardless of the path you take to get there, once you receive that golden excuse, you’re in! You’re living la vida cripple, baby! You can slack in peace. You can even make slacking sound cool, bold and/or lofty. You can say you’re living “off-the grid” or “underground” as a revolutionary act of rebellion against government and corporate surveillance. You can say you’re in “self-exile.” You can call yourself an “expatriate” from the land of the verts (which is short for vertical, which is what I call people who can walk).

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Monday, July 20, 2020

What if Shaq was Crippled?

Whenever I see an extraordinarily large human being, like a lot of football or basketball players, the first thing I say to myself is, “Damn, I sure hope that guy never becomes crippled.”
I can’t help but wonder what it would take to haul some guy who’s seven-feet tall and upwards of 300 pounds in and out of bed if he became as crippled as Christopher Reeve. I mean, it’s hard enough for me to find people to haul my crippled ass in and out of bed. And I’m just an average-size guy.
What about Shaq? I see that massive guy doing all the commercials he does and I can only shake my head and hope like hell for his sake that he never becomes crippled. He’d have to round up a crew of people just to lift one of his monster-ass feet into bed. Hauling his entire carcass in and out of bed would be a job for the Army Corps of Engineers. Because I don’t think that you could budge him one inch using one of those crank lifts with a sling hanging on it like a lot of cripples use. That thing would blow a gasket. He’d have to have something custom made. He probably has to have a lot of things custom made, like his shoes, furniture and condoms. To get lifted, he’d have to rig up some kind of crane system with heavy-duty pulleys and all that. And what kind of place would Shaq have to live in in order to have room for a device like that? He’d have to move into an airplane hangar.
But at least Shaq is rich. He can buy an airplane hangar if he wants to. And he can afford to have stuff custom made. It’s a helluva lot easier being crippled when you’re rich. What if there was a guy as big as Shaq who was both crippled and broke ass? He’d really be screwed.
And what about sumo wrestlers? What if one of them became as crippled as Christopher Reeve? How would you haul a crippled sumo wrestler in and out of bed? It would take a whole bunch of other sumo wrestlers.

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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Separation of Church and State at the Sam Houston Institute of Technology or the All- Crippled Nativity Scene

When I look back on the years I spent in the 1970s as an inmate at a state-operated boarding school for cripples, which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT), I realize there must’ve been a time when one of those litigious atheists sued the place.
Because on Sunday afternoons a priest came in and held Catholic mass upstairs in one of the classrooms. And yes, I attended. But I was only about 14 at the time so gimme a break. I hadn’t quite shaken off the shackles of Catholic guilt.
But then suddenly the priest stopped coming and we were told there wouldn’t be any more masses. Rather than being pissed, I felt relieved. Now I know that I felt that way because the only reason I attended the classroom mass was because I didn’t have an excuse not to. If I was at home on a Sunday, I had a good excuse not to go to mass or Sunday school or any of that stuff because the church had stairs so God forgave me for not going. But at SHIT, all I had to do to attend mass was take an elevator upstairs so Catholic guilt kicked in.
Now it seems clear to me that the only thing that could’ve stopped the priest from coming was an assertion of the separation of church and state. I never went to mass again. So I’m grateful to the litigious atheist for restoring my precious get-out-of-going-to- mass-for-free card and thus hastening my break from Catholicism. I’m confident that break would have happened eventually anyway, but the sooner the better.
However, I also have to say that I’m glad the atheist didn’t strike any sooner than they did because if they did I never would have had a religious experience I had at SHIT that I still cherish. We all gathered in the gym for an assembly. It must’ve been around Christmas because the curtain on the stage opened and revealed various other inmates forming an all-crippled nativity scene. There was Joseph in a wheelchair, a blind Mary, a one-armed angel, etc. There were various crippled barnyard animals. This deaf kid named Teel had on a brown coat with a long brown tail pinned on it so I guess he was supposed to be a donkey. And this polio kid named Randall Harvey who was sitting next to me in the audience leaned over and said, “Look at Teel up there on stage making an ass out of himself.”
I got to see an all-crippled nativity scene without taking heavy drugs. Very few people can say that. It makes me feel special.
It was so wonderfully bizarre. If the litigious atheist had prevailed sooner it would never have happened. Or maybe the cops would’ve raided the gym and shut the nativity scene down. In that case, I would’ve been pissed. 

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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

As Tough as a Cooped-Up Cripple

I see all these people running off to Disneyland and water parks and shit or cramming themselves into crowded bars even though it might make them get sick and die and part of me wants to laugh. I shake my head and say to myself, “Man, these poor saps sure would make lousy cripples.”
Those people aren’t nearly tough enough to succeed at being a cripple. I mean, after just three months of living the cooped up life they’re so desperate to bust out that they can’t even think straight. But hell, a lot of cripples live the cooped up life for years on end. It might be that they’re cooped up because they’re too crippled to go very far but it could be for a lot of other reasons, too, like maybe they’re too broke ass to go very far.  A lot of cripples are really broke ass and being broke ass will sure as hell keep you cooped up, even if you’re not crippled.
And Lord, some cripples are not just housebound but bedbound. Staying in bed all day may not sound so bad. That’s how some people spend their vacations. It’s the kind of life to which a lot of people think they aspire. But it gets old fast. Staying in bed all day is not for people with a weak constitution. Those bedbound cripples are the toughest cripples of all. They have to be. They have to figure out how to stay engaged and entertained while staying in bed (alone). Not all of them succeed. Some get sucked up into the undertows of addiction that drain dry the mind and spirit, such as watching  porn, dumb sitcom reruns, game shows and/or Christian  and right wing TV. But a lot of bedbound cripples persevere through boredom and with enough trial and error practice, they get the hang of staying in bed all day and still feeling sharp.
They’re the best equipped to win the cooped up marathon. They’ve been training for it for a long time. When they see on TV all those people at Disneyland and water parks and in bars they probably shake their heads and laugh about what wimps those people are.
It’s survival of the toughest.

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Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Right to be a Masochist

I saw an ad for a gym that says they roll out the red carpet for cripples. They say their staff will pay special attention to any cripple that asks. They will help cripples who sign up with their gym develop a regular workout routine which will in turn help the cripple overcome feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation.

Well I guess it’s mighty nice of whoever runs that gym to try to make cripples feel welcome like that. But no thanks. In fact, I’m sorry to say it has the opposite effect on me. If I was looking to sign up with a gym, after seeing that ad I would definitely avoid that one.

First off, it’s pretty much a moot point because am not now nor have I ever been a “workout” type of guy. I don’t get it. It seems masochistic to get a big rush out of doing a bunch of pushups. I thought doing pushups was supposed to be punishment. If you piss off your drill sergeant he tells you to go do a thousand pushups. Maybe doing pushups makes you feel good about yourself in the same way you feel good about yourself when you eat fresh fruit for breakfast instead of cold pizza. What you really feel is the satisfaction of not feeling guilty. Maybe for some people pleasure is defined as the absence of guilt.

And if I was looking for an antidote for anxiety, depression and isolation, I sure wouldn’t go to a gym. I’d probably go to an orgy or something.

But let’s say, just for the sake of giving me something to write about, that there was a massive explosion somewhere in a distant galaxy that rearranged all matter in the universe so radically that I might conceivably develop a vague inkling to sign up with a gym. I would still stay away from that gym that’s so eagerly courting cripples for fear of feeling too welcome. I’d be afraid that the minute I rolled in I’d be swarmed over by unctuous trainers bent on helping me overcome my feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation. I mean of course I feel anxious, depressed and isolated sometimes. Who the hell doesn’t? But it’s not just because I’m crippled. It’s not like if I was suddenly cured I wouldn’t feel any of those things anymore. Every single uncrippled person finds plenty that makes them feel anxious, depressed and isolated. But when they come into a gym, nobody thinks they're duty-bound to help them overcome all that.

I would want to just get in, quietly torture myself in peace and get out, just like everybody else at the gym. Cripples can be masochists, too, you know.

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Saturday, June 6, 2020

Special Needs?

Recently, I felt compelled to look myself straight in the eye and ask myself a sobering question: Am I a person with special needs?

It grates on me when people refer to cripples that way. I guess what I don’t like about special needs is it sounds too much like an apology. It makes us sound like we’re suffocatingly needy. On the other hand, it grates on me just as much when people do the opposite and say that cripples are just like other people. But the vast majority of other people don’t pee and or eat through a tube, like a lot of cripples do. So why should cripples try to pretend that we’re not different, unless being different is something to be ashamed of?

So maybe the fact that I ride around in a motorized wheelchair and pay other people to wipe my butt really does mean I am indeed a person with special needs. Maybe I ought to just admit and embrace it.

But upon further reflection, I determined that special needs doesn’t apply to me. Because first, it’s usually only used when talking about children. Nobody talks about special needs adults, unless it’s someone with something like Down syndrome, where it’s still considered okay to look upon them as a child. Children can be forgiven for having special needs. It’s not their fault. They’re innocent. But when you’re as old and hairy as I am and you still have special needs, it’s about time you got over it. Needy has become greedy.

I also determined why that special needs term grates on me. It’s because in order for something to be considered special, it must be compared to some norm. So what are normal human needs? They would be the needs that humans have. And some humans need to do things like pee and or breathe through a tube or pay other people to wipe their butts. So if that’s what they need and they’re human, then it’s a normal human need. It only becomes special if having this need somehow calls your status as human into question. To need beyond a certain standard allotment is to be extraordinarily needy.

Humans are a needy bunch. What’s wrong with that?

So I don’t want to call anybody a person with special needs. I just want to call everybody a person with needs. But that would be redundant.

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Thursday, May 28, 2020

It’s as if People Who Have no Limbs Don’t Exist

There is now a Barbie doll that has a partially amputated leg and among her accessories is a removable prosthesis. 

Some people think this is a big deal for cripples. Now that the Mattel company has officially acknowledged our existence, that means that we, as a crippled people, have arrived at the Promised Land.
Well far be it from me to be a buzzkill, but I’m not satisfied. I don’t think this paltry gesture is nearly good enough. Our journey as cripples is not complete. We have not arrived. As long as Barbie is missing just one limb, we are, at best, one fourth of the way there.

I’ll admit that a 1.5 legged Barbie is small step forward. But we can’t let it stop there. I can’t help but think about the all the cripples I’ve known who are missing more than one limb. Hell, I’ve known many cripples who have no limbs at all and they’re all fine upstanding people. Well, they’re all fine people, anyway. But what about them? Aren’t they our brethren? They deserve their chance to stand up and be counted. Well, they deserve their chance to be counted, anyway.
We live in a society where it’s as if people who have no limbs don’t exist. And I for one am sick of it! And Barbie, whether she wants to admit or not, is a powerful agent for change. She makes a fashion statement and millions of people follow. Her status as a global celebrity gives her a unique platform and she cannot shirk her responsibility to use it to lift up the marginalized. And who’s more marginalized than people with no limbs?

So we have to demand that Barbie lead the way. If Barbie wants to truly call herself a cripple ally, she must do more. And the beautiful thing about it is, there’s no need to manufacture a special, limited edition, limbless Barbie. There just needs to be a corporate decree that henceforth, all Barbie’s shall be manufactured with limbs that can be easily jettisoned. That way, whoever is playing with a given Barbie on a given day can just mix and match.

Then Barbie will have done her part.

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Former Crippled Poster Kids

Athletes are tragic figures because they’re washed up by age 40. Models are even more tragic because they’re washed up by age 25. Olympic gymnasts and members of boy bands are more tragic still because they’re washed up by age 18. But crippled poster children are the most tragic of all because they’re washed up by age eight.

That’s why I say mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be former crippled poster kids. And the way to do that is to do whatever it takes to not let them become crippled poster kids in the first place. But I know even the greatest parent can’t protect their kids from all the pitfalls of life, so your kid may end up being a crippled poster kid in spite of your best efforts. If that happens to you, the best thing you can do is try to keep them from taking it seriously.

I know what I’m talking about here, because I was once a crippled poster child. With all of the spotlight you get, it’s real easy to get full of yourself. I see this kid who’s currently a poster kid for the Shriners and I fear that what’s happening to him. He puffs out his chest and makes his plea for donations with such dramatic conviction and confidence, as if he was delivering a Shakespearean soliloquy. It’s clear that he has visions of grandeur dancing in his head. He pictures himself 10 or 20 years from now hosting his own television talk show.

Fortunately, I never took my reign as a poster kid seriously. I was never very comfortable with the role so when it was over I was happy to let it go. I spared my mother the trouble of deflating my big head, though I‘m sure she would have if she had to. She was good at that.

I hope this kid has someone to keep him sober like that. Because otherwise he’s bound to end up like a bitter and abandoned child star whose once-hot sitcom got cancelled. Except the fall of a crippled  poster child is more tragic because it isn’t a tale of rags to riches and back to rags. Crippled poster kids don’t get paid squat so there are no riches. It’s just rags.

I hope somebody will give this kid some tough love and remind him that crippled poster kid is a dead-end role. You’re irreversibly type cast.

Otherwise I fear that 10 to 20 years from now we’ll see this kid sitting alone on a subway train, slugging from a bottle in a paper bag and shouting, “And I got all the attention! When I made my pitch for donations, the switchboard lit up like a Christmas tree! So fuck all y’all!”

Poor kid! Someone needs to save him! He’s on a collision course with puberty! 

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Sunday, May 10, 2020

Why I Feel Sorry for Arthritis People

I’m sure glad there isn’t a pill or injection that’s an easy treatment for that which makes me crippled. Because if there was there would probably be a happy-ass commercial about it and I’d really hate that.

That’s why I feel sorry for arthritis people. Apparently there are a lot of pills or injections that are easy treatments for arthritis because I see a lot of happy-ass commercials about that. In the latest commercial there’s a woman remodeling her home by swinging a sledgehammer and knocking holes in walls and there's another woman out in a field taking pictures of a galloping pack of wild horses. Both women are all happy-assed. I guess they are supposed to be people with arthritis who are now feeling so good that they can finally do stuff like swing sledgehammers and photograph wild horses. But none of the arthritis people in these commercials look like they have arthritis any more than the guy next door does. So I guess the implication is that this treatment is so amazing that if you take it, not only will you suddenly feel like you don’t have arthritis but you suddenly won’t look like it either.

Those commercials must make arthritis people feel like if they’re not out there swinging sledgehammers or photographing wild horses they must be some kind of big time loser. I’m sure I’d feel the same way if it was a commercial for a treatment for what makes me crippled. The happy-ass actors probably wouldn’t look any more crippled than the guy next door does and they’d probably be doing stuff like riding wild bulls at a rodeo or rock climbing. And that would drastically change society’s view of who cripples like me are and what we’re capable of doing, which would really suck. Because I’d be under enormous pressure to keep up or get left behind. Cripples like me who weren’t riding wild rodeo bulls or rock climbing would look like lazy freeloaders. That would probably be used as an excuse to cut us off of our public cripple benefits. But if we were out there riding wild rodeo bulls or rock climbing that would probably be used as an excuse to cut us off our public cripple benefits too because if we can do stuff like that then why the hell do we still need public cripple benefits?

It’s a terrible no-win situation and I fear arthritis people will find themselves in it all too soon. I’m sure glad it ain’t me, yet.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Sexual Conquests of Calvin Coolidge

When I was a teenage inmate at a state-operated boarding school for crippled kids, which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT), the people who helped us get dressed and out of bed and stuff like that were called our houseparents.

There was one housefather whom I particularly admired, at least for a little while anyway. I don’t know if he’s still alive. Probably not. But I will give him a Smart Ass Cripple alias and call him Calvin Coolidge.

Anyway, like I said, there was a period of time when I admired Calvin Coolidge and wanted to be the kind of man he was when I grew up. I felt that way when, as he helped me or my roommates get dressed, he regaled us with detailed accounts of his sexual conquests of the previous night. He was married but he said he’d step out at night and "creep" to the homes of other women whose husbands weren’t home. One time, Calvin Coolidge said, a husband came home by surprise so he had to escape before the husband could detect him by climbing out of a second floor window, buck naked.

I thought all that stuff was so cool. I was about 14, which was old enough to know deep down inside that I could never be the kind of man Calvin Coolidge was because I was crippled. I probably wouldn’t even be able to get into most women’s houses because most houses had stairs at the front door. I would never be able to climb out of second-floor window buck naked either. Hell, I couldn’t even get buck naked unless I had someone like Calvin Coolidge to help me get undressed. What fun was that?

So even though I wanted to be a cool man like Calvin Coolidge I knew I never could be and that hurt.

But then something happened to Calvin Coolidge and he suddenly stopped creeping around. No, he didn’t get the clap. He got into Jesus. Big time. Head over heels. And instead of taking about his sexual conquests, he’d talk about Jesus.

I didn’t want to be like him anymore.

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Sunday, April 12, 2020

When Party City Opens Again

We drove through the parking lot of the strip mall. It was pretty much empty. Most of the cars were parked outside the grocery store. People hustled in and out.

Party City, right next door, was closed up tight. But someday, I told myself, that'll all change. There’ll be a lot of cars parked outside of Party City and people will be hustling in and out of there.

When all this quarantine shit in over, there’ll probably be a sudden huge surge in demand for party supplies. And the companies that manufacture supplies for Party City will probably have to retool their lines. Because Party City probably has a ton of stuff in stock that expresses standard celebratory sentiments such as Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas. But I doubt that they have anything that adequately expresses the sentiments of the outbreak of parties that will occur once this quarantine shit is over. The party supply manufacturers will probably have to make a bunch of decorations that just say WHEW!

And there will probably be new shortages. During the quarantine, the stores that are still open are usually out of toilet paper, cleaning products, rubber gloves, etc. But after it’s all over, Party City will probably soon run out of party decorations that just say WHEW!

But maybe not. A lot of people might not feel like partying, especially if they lost a loved one. Nobody would blame them for that. So maybe partying will be considered to be inappropriate, disrespectful or in bad taste and therefore will become an anachronism. Maybe Party City will never open again.

But maybe not. A lot of people died in World War II and when it ended there was dancing in the streets. I wasn’t there but I’ve seen pictures. People hugged and kissed and drank champagne. There were ticker tape parades. So maybe Party City will open again.

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Customer Service Music, Chain Pizza and Democrats

I was on hold with customer service and the music that was playing was so annoying that it reminded me of the democrats. Because what annoyed me most about the music was how hard it was trying not to be annoying. And it was doing so by being painstakingly neutral and non commital. It embraced no genre. No spices, no seasoning. It was desperately afraid of taking a definitive stand, for fear that if it did someone might not like it. It occupied that middle ground in the land of the bland and wouldn’t dare take a step beyond. It didn’t want to lead the way toward any new direction. It just wanted to play it completely safe. The democrats annoy me in the same way.

And you know what kind of other music really gets me wound up? It’s that music that’s specifically designed to help people relax. I’m talking about that stuff where they mix in gongs and wind chimes, maybe some flutes. And you’re supposed listen to it while you’re trying to unwind. But it gets me all wound up because why not just listen to a good jazz piano trio or something like that? There's plenty of music already out there that’s soothing as hell without beating you over the damn head about it. That gong and wind chime music has the same effect on me as someone picking me up and shaking me and shouting in my face, “RELAX GODDAMIT!”

But anyway, back to the democrats. Chain pizza also reminds me of the democrats for the same reason customer service hold music reminds me of the democrats. I’m offended by chain pizza because it, too, goes way out of its way not to be about anything so as not to offend anyone. And I find that to be very offensive. Just like the democrats.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Holed up Ruminations

Tim’s birthday party was a fine affair. His friends came over and decorated the party room in the basement of his apartment building real nice. About 30 people came. Lots of old friends. Lots of food. Lots of laughs.

That was way way back in those carefree days, when people wantonly mingled and hugged. That was two weeks ago. And now I look back on going to that party with the same consternation as if it had been a cocaine–fueled orgy full of unprotected sex. How could I have engaged in such reckless behavior? Will I soon regret it? Ollie was there. I ran into him a few months back at the Bulls game. He works in the stadium ticket booth. Holy shit! That means he comes in contact with a shitload of people! Was Ollie infected with the virus?

And Donna was there. She hugged me hard! Twice! On the way in and on the way out. Donna is a big time hugger so she might have been infected too because I bet huggers like her are among the most susceptible. Ollie and Donna are upstanding citizens who would never knowingly infect anyone, but that doesn’t mean a damn thing. I mean, the virus infected Tom Hanks for fuck’s sake, just to show us all that it will stop at nothing.

There was leftover pizza so I took it home and ate it. Holy shit again! How could I have been so cavalier? How many infected party guests touched that pizza or breathed all over it or sneezed in its vicinity?

But maybe I dodged that bullet because like I said, that was two weeks ago and they say that two weeks is how long it takes for the virus to get you if it’s gonna get you, maybe, so far as we know so far.

But what about the reckless behaviors I’ve engaged in since then? I went to the grocery store. How many infected people did I brush up against there? How many of them touched that can of beans I bought?

I’m not going to the grocery store anymore, but maybe it’s too little too late. Surely the virus hitched a ride into my home somehow. Why should I be any different from all those other poor saps that got infected? There is no God. The fact that Tom Hanks got infected proved that. Maybe I should call in some of those people who will give your home a deep cleaning. But what if they’re infected?

This is the kind of shit you think about when you’re holed up in the dark all day trying to hide from a virus.

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Sunday, March 15, 2020

Proactive Ramps

When I drive through my boyhood neighborhood, where there are blocks and blocks of working class family houses circa 1950s with square front lawns, I can tell where all the cripples live. Their houses are the ones with the crazy, winding wooden ramps on the front.

Because nobody builds a ramp on their house just in case they or someone who lives there becomes crippled or so some crippled visitor can get in. Hell, if anybody tried to put a ramp on their house just in case somebody might need it someday, the neighbors would probably think they’re crazy. A petition would probably start going around. If there’s a homeowners association involved, they’d probably fine the homeowner with the proactive ramp up the ass. Neighbors and homeowners associations can accept ramps as long as there’s a good excuse for them. But suppose Neighbor X builds a ramp on their house and so neighbor Y, as a display of sympathy that somebody who lives there is now crippled, brings over a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. And suppose Neighbor X then says thanks a lot but there’s nobody crippled living here. We’re just being proactive. Imagine how betrayed Neighbor Y will feel.

And the only time anyone builds a house from scratch to be fully cripple accessible is if a known cripple is going to live there. And that’s dumb because people become crippled every day. There’s a guy who lives upstairs in my building whom I hadn’t seen around for a while and then one day I saw a guy who looked exactly like him hobbling with a cane and his arm was shriveled up like he had a stroke. So I figured either he had a stroke or he has a twin brother who had a stroke. It turns out that sure enough, the guy who lives upstairs had a stroke, which is why I hadn’t seen him. And I said to myself well hell, I bet that guy’s grateful that by dumb luck he ended up in a building that’s cripple accessible. It’s a helluva lot easier adjusting to life as a cripple when you don’t have to call the fire department to haul your ass down the stairs every time you want to leave the house. The guy in who lives upstairs could be a spokesman for that.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Free Beer from Jesus

Duke and I settled in at our table and ordered a pitcher of beer. At the other end of the room, there was a party of about 15 consisting of two adult men and one adult woman and a flock of kids of a wide range of sizes, ages and colors. Their table was crowded with pizzas and pitchers of soda pop.

After a little while, the two adult men and the oldest boy approached our table. “Excuse me,” one of the men said. “Are you two related?”

I knew what that was all about. They assumed Duke was my son. I get that a lot. People see a crippled old man like me out and about in public and their first conclusion is that my companion/assistant must be my nursemaid. But Duke sure didn’t look the part. He wasn’t dressed like a nursemaid and he was holding up my stein so I could drink beer through a straw. Nursemaid’s don’t do stuff like that. So once the possibility of nursemaid was ruled out, the next possible conclusion was that my companion/assistant must be my offspring. Who would hang out with and feed an old cripple just for fun?

“No,” I said. “We’re just friends.”

And then the man said, “Well we just wanted to let you know that Jesus loves you.”

Oh God! I get that a lot, too, when I’m out and about in public. I find it insulting because I assume the reason that person is singling me out to receive extra love from Jesus is because I’m crippled and I look sad and bedraggled to them and they think they’re making my day.

And then the man said, “And we’re picking up your tab.”

Duke looked at me and I looked at him. Wow! Free beer! There are fewer greater gifts in life! But I still felt a bit insulted. Strangers often pick up my tab, too, and when they do I assume they’re only doing it because I’m crippled and I look sad and bedraggled to them and they think they’re making my day. I always feel like I should reject their generosity and take advantage of this teachable moment.

But this was different. Like I said, I get that Jesus loves you stuff all the time, but no one ever backed it up with free beer. I also had an obligation to Duke in this situation. After all, this was his free beer, too. If I was going to refuse it, I needed a damn good rationale.

So Duke and I just said thank you. The Christians smiled satisfied smiles and returned to their table.

Duke clinked his stein against mine. “You’re a good wingman,” he said.

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Monday, February 24, 2020

My Rent-a-Cripple Dream Revived!

I’ve always wanted to start an escort service called Rent-a-Cripple. Because one of the few advantages of crippledom is you get to cut to the front of lines a lot. I go to a place like the DMV and somebody who works there will inevitably wave me right past everybody standing in line and straight up to the service window.

So I always thought I should rent myself and/or other cripples out as escorts for people who don’t want to wait in line. And now there’s stuff going on that’s giving me big incentive to get off my ass and do it. Some families of people on the autism spectrum are suing Disney. It used to be that when these families showed up at Disneyland or Disneyworld they’d get waved to the front of the waiting lines for rides and other attractions. But then stories starting flying around about how rich people were hiring cripples or fake cripples in wheelchairs to accompany them to Disney parks so they could cut to the front of lines.

Hearing these stories really pissed me off. I wasn’t mad at the perpetrators. I was mad at myself for letting them beat me to the punch with Rent-a-Cripple. I also thought about how those conniving Disney people may have cooked up the whole thing just to give them the excuse they needed to crack down on cripples cutting lines. They probably told the actors playing Mickey and Goofy that instead they had to play the roles of a fake cripple in a wheelchair and a rich person. I sure as hell wouldn’t put it past them to do that.

And sure enough, in 2013, Disney announced that instead of letting cripples cut lines, they would instead issue us all some sort of stupid pass that we could use to reserve rides etc. at certain times and until those times came we’d just have to hang around other parts of the park and wait. No more showing up out of the blue and demanding that everybody get the hell out of the way.

Well the families of autistic people who sued said all that waiting around wasn’t fair because some autistic people get agitated when thrown off their routines and the idleness might cause them to have a meltdown and make a big stink in public.

Well of course Disney has been fighting back with all its fancy-pants lawyers. But just last week one of the cases finally went to trial. Even if it loses there are a whole lot more cases in queue right behind it so sooner or later one of them ought to stick or maybe the flood of cases will make Disney give in and let autistic people cut lines again.

And that will open a vast new potential profit center for Rent-a- Cripple. I can subcontract autistic people to escort people who want to cut Disney lines. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll subcontract people who pretend to be autistic. I’ll have to give them some kind of training course, but that shouldn’t be too hard. I can just have them watch the movie Rain Man over and over until they get it down.

Hell, gimme a break! I’m just trying to live the American dream.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

I'd Rather be Robbed

Larry told me he was riding the subway train and he got robbed again.

The first time Larry was robbed was about a year ago. When the train pulled up to a station and the doors opened, a youth who as riding in the same train car with Larry snatched away the cell phone mounted on Larry’s motorized wheelchair. His youth accomplice grabbed the wheelchair joystick and tried to drive Larry out of the door and off the train. Apparently that youth discovered that driving a motorized wheelchair is much harder than it looks because Larry says they quickly gave up on that part of the scheme and ran off the train with his phone.

The most recent robbery happened just last week. Larry got off the train and got on the elevator to go up to the street. Somebody got on the elevator with him. This guy wasn’t a youth. The guy opened the pouch hanging on Larry’s wheelchair and snatched his cash. When the elevator door opened the guy dashed out.

This wouldn’t have happened to Larry 30 years ago because 30 years ago guys like him and me couldn’t get on public transit buses and trains with our wheelchairs. The buses all had steps inside the entrance doors and hardly any subway stations had elevators. Back then, if we wanted to go anywhere, our only option was to call paratransit and a cripple van with a wheelchair lift would pick us up. But to try to book a paratransit ride, we had to call at 5 a.m. the day before. A thousand other cripples were trying to do the same thing at the same time so breaking through the busy signal wall was the first challenge. And if you did break through, all the ride slot might well be taken up so you were SOL. And if you were lucky enough to actually score an open ride slot, it might be two hours before or after you actually needed it because that was the only time slot available. And the cripple bus might well pick you up or drop you off two hours late. And there was nothing you could do about it.

Yep, back then, guys like Larry and me were so oppressed and marginalized, the prospect of being robbed on a subway train was a luxury, Back then, a lot of cripples bitched, protested and sued to get public transit access. But other cripples said they’d never ride the mainline buses and trains. It’s too dangerous, they said. People get robbed.

Well then the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed requiring public transit access. And 30 years later, here we are. But there still are cripples who say they'll never ride mainline buses and trains. It’s too dangerous. People get robbed. When they hear about Larry being robbed, they’ll probably say, “See, I told you so!”

I suppose someday I’ll get robbed like Larry did. I also have a cell phone and money pouch attached to my chair. And I’m sure I’ll be traumatized as a result, especially if some dickhead tries to drive my chair off of the train.

But I remember the frustration of being at the mercy of paratransit. Even if I just wanted to go a few miles down the street, I had to participate in a degrading lottery for crumbs. I remember how that made me fume, especially when I looked out of my window at the bus stop right across the street. I remember when I finally took my first mainline bus ride, like a regular fucking human being. I felt like I had wings.

So I can’t even begin to imagine being so traumatized that I would return to only riding paratransit. I’d rather be robbed.

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

What Does Equality for Crippled Assholes Look Like?

Okay so here’s an ethical dilemma for us all to chew on. Suppose there’s some superstar basketball player like LeBron James. And suppose, seated courtside in the prime seats, is a vicious heckler. And I mean this is the most foul-mouthed, offensive, sonuvabitch of a heckler anybody ever heard. Every time LeBron passes by, he spews venom. He talks about his mama.

So here’s my question: At what point would LeBron be justified going into the stands and throttling that person? But hold on before you answer. Suppose that heckler is a Down Syndrome person or maybe somebody who’s blind. Does that change your answer? Should it?

I know it’s hard to picture a Down Syndrome person or somebody who’s blind as a vicious courtside heckler. It’s like trying to picture someone who blind or a Down Syndrome person on a wanted poster. You just don’t ever see that kind of thing. But why not? It reminds me of that TV show that I never watch where the protagonist is a woman who is chief of police in Los Angeles. It makes me wonder why I can’t think of a real-life female chief of police. It’s not like women are inherently incapable of being chiefs of police. They just haven’t had the opportunity. They’ve been pressured to play a limited role. It’s the same way with blind people and especially Down Syndrome people. The only way Down Syndrome people are allowed to present themselves in public is as sweet and cute and lovable. They aren’t inherently incapable of being a vicious heckler or ending up on a wanted poster. They just haven’t had the opportunity. They’ve been pressured to play a limited role.

So imagine we live in a utopian society that so teeming with genuine equal opportunity that a blind person or a Down Syndrome person could end up on a wanted poster or heckling courtside as easily as anyone else. That brings us back to our ethical question: At what point would LeBron be justified going into the stands and throttling that person? Should he hold back just because the foul-mouthed asshole is crippled? Should he cut a crippled asshole any additional slack? If LeBron went into the stands and throttled a blind or Down Syndrome-having sonuvabitch, he’d probably be fined and suspended ten times harder than if he throttled a regular Joe. Is that fair? Isn’t throttling us without prejudice when we deserve it the proper way for him to show respect and solidarity for cripple equality? Or not?


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