Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Professional Masochist

 I never hail Uber or those rideshare services. Because I know what’s gonna happen. Chances are great that I won’t be able to get a ride because there aren’t any cripple accessible vehicles on the street. And that’s because Uber drivers use their own private vehicles and most people’s own private vehicles aren’t cripple accessible.

And I don’t know about you but for me, hailing a ride isn’t a theoretical exercise. When I decide I need to go someplace, it’s because I need to go someplace. Why would I hail a ride to get me there if I didn’t care whether or not they show up?

And so I don’t bother to even consider Uber because it seems masochistic. I feel it’s as pointless as sitting on a buzzsaw. I know what gonna happen so why not just spare myself the pain?

But now I’m thinking maybe I should rethink that strategy. It seems there actually are some cripples who actually hailed Uber and actually got picked up. I know such people exist because the U.S.  Department of Justice sued Uber on behalf of these cripples. DoJ sued Uber because after these cripples got picked up they were charged extra because they took more than two minutes to get loaded into the vehicle. DoJ said that was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Apparently Uber hits riders with an extra fee if they keep a driver waiting more than two minutes. If so, if I ever managed to somehow land Uber rides then I’d probably get hit with that fee every time. I don’t just open the car door and hop in like your average vert (which is what I call people who walk because it’s short for vertical.) If it’s a cripple accessible van, the driver has to get out and come around and deploy the wheelchair ramp. Then I roll in and maneuver into place. Then the driver has to strap down my wheelchair so I don’t ricochet around the van like a pinball when they hit the brakes. It’s gonna take at least two minutes to do all that, if we’re lucky.

Well, DoJ recently announced a settlement of the lawsuit, in which Uber agreed to pay $1.8 million to more than a thousand cripples who reported being stung by those fees.

I’m jealous. If I’d have just gone out there an taken my lumps instead of avoiding Uber altogether, some of that cash could’ve been mine. But that’s what I get for not trying to go places where I'm not welcome.

But maybe it’s not too late for me. Maybe I can become a professional masochist.  I’ll take my shot, even when I know damn well I’ll be rebuffed, and then I'll sue the hell out of people. It’s probably a painful way to make a living, but what isn’t?

Maybe I should start today by trying to hail an Uber. But I’m afraid that, just my luck, everything will go smooth and I’ll get to where I’m going. 


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Thursday, July 28, 2022

Runaway Cripple

 

When my brother, Steve, was about five years old, he told mom he wanted to run away from home.

So, mom helped him prepare for the journey. She got him dressed appropriately and made him some sandwiches for the road and packed them in a brown paper lunch bag. Mom then rolled Steve in his wheelchair out onto the front sidewalk and told him to tell passersby that he was running away from home and ask them if they would take him home to live with them. Mom said she was going back in the house, but she would look out periodically to see if he was still there and if he still was she’d come out and check on him.

Well, fortunately, there were no passersby. I figure that’s what must’ve happened because otherwise this thing probably would’ve gotten all blown out of proportion. Because this was 1952 or so and if anybody would’ve come across an abandoned crippled kid saying to them, “Please take me home,” they probably would’ve freaked out and called the authorities and somebody from the state might’ve come and taken my brother away from my mother because she would’ve been seen as some kind of negligent shrew or something.

But just the opposite was true. First off, I’m sure the weather was conducive to running away from home. I’m sure my mother never would’ve set my brother out there on the sidewalk alone if there was a blizzard going on.

And second, I really doubt my brother was ever technically alone. I’m sure my mother was in the house watching through the window the whole time.

What she did was the opposite of negligent. It was actually quite brilliant. My mother knew a few things about raising crippled kids. She raised three of us. And she handled it pretty much the same way she handled it when my brother wanted to run away from home. She didn’t try to stop us from doing all the stuff kids want to do. She let us go out and do dumb shit and screw up and learn from it. She knew we could take it.

After a little while, mom went outside and said to Steve, “Oh, are you still here? Would you like to come back in the house?” Steve said yes.

 Mom and Steve went back in the house and a little was that. 

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Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Another Thing I Wouldn't Know if I Lived in a Stinkin' Nursing Home

 I’m sure glad I don’t live in Korea. Because if I did, everyone would be all bummed out on my birthday.

And I wouldn’t know this if I lived in a stinkin’ nursing home. Because a guy from South Korea used to be a member of my pit crew, which is what I call the group of people I’ve hired to come into my home every day to help me do stuff like get dressed and out of bed, take a crap, etc. When I mentioned my birthday, this guy told me that it is the anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.

And I never would have met this guy if I was in a stinkin’ nursing home because I wouldn’t have a pit crew. I wouldn’t need one because the nursing home would send in people to do all the stuff that my pit crew does for me. And they’d be strangers dressed in surgical scrubs and they’d come get me up at whatever time was most convenient for them because they’d probably also be getting about a dozen other people up. And I’d probably have to go to bed whenever they were ready to put me to bed even if it was 6 p.m. and the sun was still up because they’d probably also have to put about a dozen other people to bed. And I ‘d have to eat whatever the gruel de jour was whenever they were ready to help me eat it. And I wouldn’t have a damn thing to say about any of it.

So I’m glad I got to meet this guy from Korea so now at least I’ll know what to expect if I’m ever there on my birthday.  Otherwise I might’ve been blindsided. That would really suck. It would be like this other guy I know whose eighth birthday party was ruined because it happened on the same day that John F. Kennedy went out and got himself assassinated.

It’s probably the same way for people in the U.S. whose birthday is September 11. That’s a fucked-up day in Chile, too, because on September 11, 1973, their elected president, Salvador Allende, was killed and a military junta took over. Allende was replaced by General Augusto Pinochet, who was one of the infamous brutal assholes of the 20th Century, up there with Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. And the administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon (another brutal asshole) helped plan and conduct the coup.

But anyway,  I’m glad I don’t live in Korea because I’m usually a little bit bummed on my birthday as it is. Because I always try to take the day off and not do any work and try to just do fun stuff. But everyone else is going around like it’s just another day, except the people who are doing fun stuff with me. If I were president, I’d make my birthday a national holiday so that everyone could just do fun stuff. Everyone would have the day off, except bartenders. On my birthday, bartenders are the first responders. 


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Sunday, July 10, 2022

Mama Almost Done me Wrong


I love my mother to pieces. Not only did she give me my life, but she saved it many times along the way.

But mama almost done me wrong, in a real bad way. She did it out of love, but nevertheless, she almost done me wrong.

Mama wanted me to be an accountant. She was fooled back when I was a little baseball freak and I’d just discovered the joy of learning how to calculate battling averages and earned run averages. She saw the pages on which I did numerous calculations and I guess to her it looked like some elaborate equation on a blackboard at MIT.

So my mother said to me, “You have a way with numbers,” and she suggested I become an accountant. My mother was wise. She knew that being a crippled adult was going to be expensive for me. She knew that someday I'd probably have to pay for people to do the stuff she was doing for me for free, like dragging my crippled ass in and out of bed. So I’d better have a damn good job.

I was only about 10 years old at the time so I was too young to have thought much about what I would do when mom couldn’t do all the things she did anymore. But I wasn’t too young to feel that I’d rather be drawn and quartered by horses and have my eyes poked out than become an accountant.

And as I’ve gotten older, that aversion has grown stronger. I hate keeping track of my own money, let alone anyone else’s. I don’t care how much money they want to pay me to keep track of theirs.

And even if I had been capable of rationally weighing my future options at age 10, it probably wouldn’t have made any difference. If I would have considered the proposition that I could well end up broke and homeless with no one to drag my crippled ass in and out of bed if I didn’t become an accountant, I probably still would’ve decided to take my chances and hope for the best.

And that’s what I did. And I’ve gotten by pretty good so far. Mama was right that being a crippled adult would be very expensive. But the answer was the opposite of becoming an accountant. The answer was socialism. Yes, over about four decades now I’ve had to pay a bunch of people to do all the stuff for me that mama used to do.  But the wages of the people I hire are paid by public funds through a state program. I just submit to a state agency a record of the hours my workers spent dragging my crippled ass in and out of bed and doing all the stuff for me that mama used to do, and the state sends them a payment every two weeks.

And here I am today, still going. And I’ve managed to do it without becoming an accountant. I’m quite proud of that. 


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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

If I Had as Much Fucking Money as Jeff Bezos and Those Guys

 

When I’m riding around in my cripple van, lately I tend to think about guys like Jeff Bezos and how much fucking money they have.

Because my cripple van is about seven years old so it’s gonna soon be time for me to think about getting a new one. But that’ll cost me about $65,000 and I have no idea where I’m gonna get that kind of money.

But if I had as much fucking money as Jeff Bezos and those guys, I’d be able to pay cash for a new cripple van every day without batting and eye.  I could buy one every day as routinely as most people buy a cup of coffee every day.

And the same thing goes for wheelchairs. The wheelchair I’m sitting in costs about $25,000. And I ‘d better make sure it holds up for at least five years because if you need a third party such as Medicaid or private insurance to pay for a new chair, like most normal human beings do, they’ll only consider your claim every five years.

But if I had as much fucking money as Jeff Bezos and those guys, I could have an ever-growing fleet of wheelchairs. I could have more damn wheelchairs than I have shirts and I could contemplate which chair to use each day the same way I contemplate which shirt to wear. “Geez, it’s such a warm and sunny day. I think I’ll ride around, in my chartreuse wheelchair with the leopard-skin upholstery.

And whenever a cripple needs insurance or Medicaid or some third party to buy them a wheelchair or pay for repairs or something, we have to get a note from a doctor swearing on a stack of Bibles that a wheelchair that works is “medically necessary” for us.

But if I had as much fucking money as Jeff Bezos and those guys and I could pay cash for a new wheelchair, I could get any chair I wanted any time. And nothing would have to be “medically necessary.” I could insist that my new chair be equipped with fully-loaded confetti cannons and the wheelchair company would gladly sell it to me, no questions asked.

If I had as much fucking money as Jeff Bezos and those guys, I’d never need another damn doctor’s note.

How come Jeff Bezos and those guys have a zillion times more money than I do? They must work a zillion times harder than me. I work about eight hours a day. They must work eight zillion hours a day.

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Thursday, June 16, 2022

Sniffing Out Fake Cripples

 

I knew this was bound to happen sooner or later. I’m surprised it took so long.

But a guy was busted recently at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina when federal agents  discovered over 23 pounds of cocaine hidden in the cushion of his motorized wheelchair. The agents said the man came in on a flight from the Dominican Republic and the cocaine had a street value of $378,000.

But the worst thing about the story is that the guy was just pretending to be crippled. Thus, the agents confiscated both the cocaine and the wheelchair.

I’ve always thought that cripples would make good drug mules. I figure that we could easily slip past cops with all kinds of drugs stashed away  in the deep recesses of our wheelchairs because nobody ever suspects us. Everybody thinks we’re so damn innocent, like Tiny Tim.

I wondered when the druglords would catch on to this, And when they finally did, wouldn’t you know it that they didn’t even hire a real cripple to do the job. I guess they think we’re all as innocent as Tiny Tim, too.

This really pisses me off. And it riles me up even more when I think about how they probably acquired the wheelchair in which the cocaine was hidden. Some druglord's hired goons probably wheelchair jacked some poor crippled pedestrian in the Dominican. They probably jumped out from behind some bushes, dumped the cripple out of their wheelchair and made off with it.

But there is something positive to take away from this story. (You know how I am. I take lemons and make lemonade.) I see a golden career opportunity in this for me. You know how agents sometimes use dogs to sniff out drugs, right? Well I’m thinking maybe I could rent myself out to spot fake cripples. Just like some dogs have a keen nose for drugs, I have a keen eye for cripples. Most people on the street can’t tell the difference between a muscular dystrophy cripple, a spina bifida cripple and an amputee. We all look alike.

But I’ve been around thousands of cripples in my life so I can spot a fake one a mile away. First, the body of just about every legit cripple is atrophied or deformed in some way. So if there’s a guy sitting in a wheelchair who otherwise looks all buff and perfect, he’s probably faking it.

And second, take a close look at the wheelchair itself. If this guy really has been living la vida cripple, the wheelchair will show it. It’ll be dirty and dusty. The upholstery will be cracked. There will be duck tape somewhere, The more the wheelchair looks like it just came off the showroom floor, the more likely it is that the cripple occupying it is a fraud.

These are just a few of Smart Ass Cripple’s faux cripple detection tips.

Maybe if the fake cripple drug mules are getting busted left and right because I’m on the job sniffing them out, the druglords will adjust their business models and start hiring real cripples as drug mules. Those are the kind of lucrative jobs cripples need to be able to buy expensive shit like motorized wheelchairs.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The Heartbreak of Incontinence

 

 

 

You can judge the inclusiveness of a society by its diaper commercials. I believe Shakespeare said that. Or maybe it was Groucho Marx. I always get the two of them mixed up.

Anyway, back when I attended a segregated public school for cripples in the 1960s, there was a kid who was about 12 years old but he wore diapers. Everybody knew he wore diapers even though nobody ever talked about it out loud. Everybody always whispered about it when the kid passed by. The kid walked on crutches, and he was always kind of slumpy and gloomy. People probably thought he was like that because he was carrying around a load in his diaper. But it was probably because he was carrying around a load of shame because he wore diapers but he wasn't a baby. He was experiencing the heartbreak of incontinence.

There were no diaper commercials back then to make someone like him feel hope. But today you see commercials where happy, confident adults are playing tennis and riding horseback while wearing diapers.

That shows how far we’ve come as a society. Being incontinent doesn’t mean you have to hide away anymore. Life is still full of possibilities.

Of course, those commercials also show how far we still have to go. All the happy, confident people in those commercials are old. That implies that we of the continent majority will accept you and your diaper wearing as long as you are old. But if you’re young and incontinent, well, there are no happy, confident role models for you. And the reason they’re happy and confident isn’t because they aren’t incontinent anymore but because they’re not afraid of springing an embarrassing leak.  In other words, they feel good about themselves because they bought this product that empowers them to pass as continent. The subtext here is that springing a leak is still something to be ashamed of.

I’d like to see commercials where a happy, confident father walks his daughter the bride down the aisle when suddenly he springs a leak for all the world to see. But keeps strutting proud because so what. It’s just a leak. What’s the big deal? Better yet, it would be so cool if the young bride was the one who sprung the leak but still kept moving forward.

When I see commercials like that, I’ll know we’ve found a cure for the heartbreak of incontinence.

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