Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Clown College of Life

  There’s this cripple I know who has cerebral palsy. He walks but he doesn’t talk.

 Before I tell you more about him, let me give him an alias in case he doesn’t want to be outed here. I’ll call him King Ferdinand of Spain.

Anyway, I don’t see King Ferdinand of Spain very often- maybe once a year or so. And when I do I’m always impressed by the way he communicates. It’s kind of like a combination  of miming and playing charades. Like if he wants to have a drink with you, he points to you and himself and makes a drinking motion. And he can get a helluva lot of mileage out of a facial expression. If he thinks somebody is full of shit, you can tell by that certain “full of shit” look he breaks out. He doesn’t have to say a word. He gives the finger a lot, too.

King Ferdinand of Spain walks funny, too. One leg steps just fine but the other leg sort of skips every time he takes a step. It’s like that leg has a mind of its own and instead of walking  normal as the brain commands it skips, just to be a smart ass. I guess that’s how cerebral palsy works sometimes.

Whenever I see King Ferdinand of Spain, I feel bad for him because I think he could have been a very successful man, professionally and financially, had someone somewhere along the line encouraged him to embrace his inner clown.  But probably just the opposite happened. If he asked a vocational rehabilitation to help him get a job, they probably required him to pursue something decidedly uncolwnlike, like accounting. Or hell, the best vocational rehabilitation would probably offer a guy like King Ferdinand of Spain would probably be a job on an assembly line tightening screws all day for a dime an hour or that kind of thing.

But I think King Ferdinand of Spain could have been a distinguished professor at a clown college, teaching eager pupils how to be mute clowns. Because King Ferdinand of Spain has the mute clown routine perfected—all the elaborate nonverbal communication techniques. King Ferdinand of Spain learned it all in the clown college of life. He has a hard-earned Ph.D in clown arts. Or is it clown sciences?

 So it would have been nice had someone recognized King Ferdinand of Spain’s area of true expertise and set him up teaching at a clown college. He could have been a superstar.

But that’s not what  cripple rehabilitation is all about. Cripple rehabilitation is about getting cripples to run away from their crippledness as far as they possibly can. So a guy like King Ferdinand of Spain, whose crippledness is always front and center, is destined to always  come up short. Who would hire a clown as an accountant?  

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Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Genuine Cripples Sitting in for Movie Stars and Gettiing Faith Healed


The Oscar people are making a big push to make sure more cripples work in the filmmaking industry, both on and off camera.

Starting in 2024, in order to win an Oscar for Best Picture, a film will have to have a certain number of people in the film or involved in the production or distribution who aren’t your standard white, heterosexual, uncrippled males.

That sounds good. It ought to constructively address at least some of the criticism Hollywood has come under for a long time for having so very few genuine cripples appearing in movies, writing screenplays, etc.

But again, this doesn’t take effect until 2024. If the Oscar people wanted to get more genuinely crippled people on camera a lot sooner, they could hire a bunch of us to be seat-fillers. Everybody knows that in the audience of every Oscar broadcast there are some regular pedestrians who are hired to occupy the seats of movie stars when they get up to go present an award, take a piss, etc. It gives the illusion of a full house. That seems like the perfect job for someone like a Down Syndrome guy. Just put him in a tuxedo and sit him down. But I’ve never seen a genuinely crippled person in the audience at the Oscars except maybe guys like Christopher Reeve who have a good excuse for being crippled. The reason there aren’t a lot of genuine cripples in Oscar audiences is probably the same reason there aren’t a lot of genuine cripples in Hollywood movies. We’re too jolting. If the camera is panning the Oscar audience and suddenly there’s a Down Syndrome guy in a tux, that gets everyone’s attention and it upstages the stars. First and foremost, I imagine, a seat-filler must blend in and not detract any attention from the stars. Cripples suck at blending in.

Another time you never see genuine cripples is on those faith healer preacher shows on television. There are never any genuine cripples in the line to be healed. Nobody who is all spazzed out and drooly ever receives a stiff arm to the forehand from the preacher and then suddenly becomes all suave and eloquent. You never see an amputee sprout a limb. Before I die, I want to get in one of those lines to be faith healed on television just so, when I get to the front of the line, I can watch the preacher shit his pants. But I’d probably never make it to the front of the line. The preacher’s security goons would probably intercept me and escort me out.

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