Thursday, September 14, 2023

Cripples as Sales Leads


 A stranger approached me on the street a couple weeks ago and it really made my day. Because usually when a stranger approaches me on the street it’s a dreadful experience. Because usually the only reason a stranger approaches a cripple on the street is either because they want to a) give you some spare change because they think you must be a beggar or b) tell you about Jesus Christ. 

Either way it’s quite annoying. The Jesus boosters are particularly annoying. One time one of them said to me, “Have you heard about Jesus?” My first impulse was to be a smart ass and say, “Who?” But I was afraid that he wouldn’t get or appreciate the joke and thus he would proceed to answer my question in great detail. So I said nothing and just kept going. I similarly try to avoid the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They stand on the sidewalk downtown next to a rolling rack full of books and pamphlets, so I just assume they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses. But I don’t know for sure because I’m afraid to ask them who they are. I’m afraid to even make eye contact with them. There ought to be signs all over town that say DO NOT FEED THE CHRISTIANS.  

I feel kind of insulted when Christians approach me on the street because I think they think that because I’m crippled, I therefore am a great potential sales lead for buying what they’re selling, which is Jesus.

But the stranger who approached me on the street a couple weeks ago wasn’t selling Jesus. He must’ve been selling drugs because he was bleary-eyed and as he reached into the pocket of his jeans he said to me, “Hey bro, I got sawbucks.” I didn’t know what he meant but it sounded like drug slang, so I just said, “Thanks anyway.” And I kept moving.

And then the stranger said to me, “You straight?”

So I replied, “Yes, I’m straight.” I assumed that being “straight” means that your current inventory of drugs is sufficient.

The stranger then approached the next passersby and said, “Hey bro, I got sawbucks.”

But I felt somewhat honored that the stranger tried to sell me drugs. At least he saw me as a potential sales lead for buying what he was selling, and it wasn’t Jesus.

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Thursday, September 7, 2023

The Bathroom Police


 I often pull up to a parking space that’s reserved for somebody with a cripple vehicle but it’s occupied by a car that clearly belongs to some dumbass vert (which is what I call people who walk because it’s short for vertical*).

But sometimes I get lucky and that dumbass vert will return to their car while I’m still there. And then I get to experience the joy of watching the look of shame jump onto their face when they realize they’ve been busted. It’s so cool when that happens.

The same thing happens a lot when I try to use public bathrooms. Almost always, the one and only cripple stall is locked because it’s being occupied by some dumbass vert who is taking the longest shit in human history. And when that dumbass vert finally comes out and sees me sitting there that same look of shame jumps onto their face.

Except the difference is that the cripple parking spaces are clearly marked with a big blue sign with that white crippled stick figure on it and it warns that any dumbass vert who parks there can be fined $250.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a sign like that on every cripple stall in every public bathroom? And wouldn’t it be great if I could call the cops and they’d kick down the door of the cripple stall and drag out the dumbass vert with their pants still down around their ankles and haul them away? Maybe the police would even have a code for this offense, something like 10-56= dumbass vert using cripple stall.

But it probably would never work that way. I mean, those big blue warning signs don’t stop dumbass verts from parking in cripple parking spaces.

*Not all verts are dumbasses.  Vert dumbassery is a spectrum. Everyone is on it at some point but those who park in cripple spaces are on the deep end.

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Monday, August 28, 2023

Scrotum Capitalism

There is a brand of capitalism I call scrotum capitalism.

The goal of the scrotum capitalist is to get all of their customers by the scrotum. But you don’t have to have an actual scrotum in order to have a scrotum capitalist get you by the scrotum. I’m talking about a metaphorical scrotum, and everyone has one of those.

In order words, the scrotum capitalist seeks to corner the market on something their customers can’t live without. That way, the scrotum capitalist can charge the customers whatever stupid inflated price they decide to charge and the customers have no choice but to pay whatever that price may be because the scrotum capitalist has them by the scrotum.

 That’s how healthcare is distributed in the U.S. Another good example of scrotum capitalism is the price they charge for the brushes that you have to attach to the end of electric toothbrushes  Have you seen how crazy overpriced those things are? They’re like 10 bucks a piece! They look like they cost about 10 cents a piece to make. But the people who manufacture electric toothbrushes know they’ve got you by the scrotum because what the hell good is an electric toothbrush without the brush? Maybe you could use it as a vibrating dildo but that’s about it. And even then, you’re still going to have to brush your teeth eventually.

Cripples are quite often the victims of scrotum capitalism, Buying a cripple accessible vehicle costs about as much as buying two regular vehicles. But what’re you going to do? You’ve gotta have it so you suck it up and pay for it.

I’ve got these buttons that control various functions of my wheelchair. If I need a replacement button and I go to buy one online, they cost about $70! And they look like maybe they cost about $2 to make, at the most!

That’s how it is when it comes to the cost of wheelchairs and wheelchair parts and stuff like that that cripples can’t live without. But what’re you going to do? You’ve gotta have it so you suck it up and pay for it.

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Thursday, August 17, 2023

The Terms and Conditions of my Acceptance


It happens to every cripple sooner or later. You’re sitting on a street corner minding your own business when suddenly some walking person tosses a few dollars in your lap and says something like, “God bless you.”

I used to get all huffy and indignant whenever that happened to me. I always felt it was important to say something to the person like, “Just because I’m a cripple doesn’t make me a goddam beggar!”

But now my perspective has changed somewhat. I’m willing to except the bucks that are tossed my way, but I still feel it’s important to let the tosser know why I’m accepting it.

But rather than give a long speech, what I ought to do is carry around several copies of a document entitled THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF MY ACCEPTANCE. Here’s the first draft that I’ve put together in my head:

To whom it may concern,

I am accepting the money you just gave me because one of the hardest things about being crippled is that it’s so goddam expensive. We have to buy a lot of ridiculously pricey stuff most people don’t have to buy, such as wheelchairs and catheters. We may have to pay somebody just to help us drag our sorry asses out of bed every morning.

So I would be remiss in my fiscal responsibility to myself if I turned down any offer of financial support, as paltry as it may be.

But let me also be clear that I do not consider it to be your responsibility to eliminate the aforementioned inequities that come with being crippled. The permanent solution is socialist revolution. I’m not talking about the kind of bull shit socialism where some asshole like Stalin is in charge. I’m talking about creating the kind of socialist society where if someone needs a wheelchair or catheters or assistance dragging their sorry ass out of bed every morning, they can get what they need without delay or hassle and without going broke.

If you really want to help cripples like me, you should join the fight to bring about such a revolution. Meanwhile, we cripples still have catheters and wheelchairs to buy. And if our wheelchairs break and we have to get them repaired, paying for that will make Bill Fucking Gates go broke!

So I will grudgingly accept your contribution and I'll try not to feel too demeaned. And no, I can’t give you a receipt so you can write this off your taxes.

Sincerely yours,

Smart Ass Cripple

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Sunday, August 6, 2023

Good News and Bad News


Those personal injury attorneys are sort of like Make-a-wish for adults.

They’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that they can make you a millionaire beyond your wildest dreams. The bad news is that in order to qualify for that, you have to have been in a terrible accident.

Make-a wish works the same way. They can arrange for a kid to spend an afternoon hanging out with Beyonce. But in order to qualify for that, that kid has to have cancer or something similarly terrible. Healthy kids need not apply.

And some kids with cancer need not apply either. If you’re a kid with cancer that still somehow manages to have a can-do attitude and an upbeat spirit, you’ll probably make the cut because you’ll make BeyoncĂ© feel inspired with your attitude. But if you’re all bummed out and depressed about having cancer, you probably won’t make the cut because you might make Beyonce feel bummed out and depressed, too. And that would ruin everything.

When I see stories on the television about Make-a-Wish kids running around with their favorite pop culture heroes, I wonder how that kid’s siblings feel about it all as they watch from the background. On the one hand, the siblings probably have to feel at least a little bit jealous that no one’s gushing all over them. But on the other hand, they probably have to feel at least a little bit relieved when they realize that the reason no one’s paying attention to them is because they don’t have cancer.

Because that’s how I feel when I see commercials for those personal injury attorneys. On the one hand, I think about how cool it would be to be a millionaire beyond my wildest dreams. But on the other hand, when I think about what needs to happen in order to make that happen, I don’t feel like running out and getting hit by a bus.

I say to myself, “That’s all right. I’m good.”

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Saturday, July 29, 2023

Who the Hell are These Cripples, Anyway?


There are times when I just shake my head and say to myself. “Who the hell are these cripples, anyway?”

I especially feel that way when I read cripple magazines. There are people who put out magazines where cripples are the target audience. The ads are for cripple stuff like wheelchairs and catheters. These magazines tend to be glossy and full of stories about adventurous cripples who do stuff like go on safaris. There are never stories about cripples living off Social Security and hustling hard to get by, trying to figure out how the hell they’re going to be able to afford to buy cripple stuff like wheelchairs and catheters.

And it’s inevitable that sooner or later the magazines will run a story about a cripple who couldn’t find a wheelchair accessible place to live so they built a wheelchair accessible house from scratch. The story recounts the whole process, from the cripple finding and acquiring just the right plot of land to drawing up blueprints with the architects to supervising the contractor during construction.

And that’s when I say to myself, “Who the hell are these cripples, anyway?” I mean, finding a wheelchair accessible place to live is a trying quest that every cripple must eventually embark upon. But of the zillions of cripples I’ve known, I don’t believe I’ve met one who conquered this obstacle by building their own wheelchair accessible house.

Who can afford to do that? Cripples in search of a wheelchair accessible place to live usually settle for moving into some tiny hole that’s vaguely accessible and then they try to stay there for the rest of their lives because finding an affordable place to live is a huge pain in the ass when you don’t have to worry about wheelchair access. But when you do have to worry about wheelchair access, that eliminates about 90 percent of the available tiny holes from consideration.

At lot of cripples move into places that are accidentally accessible. Like maybe there’s a building with a tiny hole of a “garden” apartment back by the dumpster area in the alley. And the entrance is flat not for the benefit of cripples but so that the dumpsters can be rolled in and out. So the cripple enters and exits through the dumpster gate. The view from their windows is of the alley.

But that’s good enough! To the cripple it’s paradise. The cripple will stay there for the rest of their life if they can  because it sure beats the hell out of searching for a wheelchair accessible place to live.

I never see stories like that in those cripple magazines.

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Sunday, July 16, 2023

My Cold Feet Won't Kill Me


The television commercial was designed to make me immediately want to run out and get a neuropathy risk assessment. But it didn’t work on me.

I must admit that at first the commercial caught my ear. The all-knowing voiceover explained that neuropathy is nerve damage and then it rattled off symptoms. “Do you suffer from numbness or tingling in your fingers and or toes?” it said. “Do you have cold feet?”

Cold feet? I always have cold feet. If the temperature is below 80 degrees, I get cold feet. I even get cold feet if the temperature is above 80 degrees if there’s too much air conditioning, like in a hotel. When its hot outside, hotels crank up the air conditioning and it feels like you’re in a meat locker.

So maybe this means I have neuropathy. And maybe my cold feet might kill so maybe I shouldn’t be so cavalier about them! Maybe I should get a neuropathy risk assessment right away, as the all-knowing voiceover urged me to do.

But I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it even though the all-knowing voiceover warned of all the scary things that can happen if neuropathy goes untreated. A person can end up in a wheelchair!

That didn’t scare me.

Untreated neuropathy can even lead to amputation!

That didn’t scare me either. When I was a kid, I got some sort of bad infection in my foot. As I was sitting with my foot hanging over the bathtub so my mother could scrub it, she said to me, “You better be careful, or you might have to have your foot cut off!”

And I said, “So what. I don’t use it anyway.”

That’s how I felt about it, even as a kid. About half of my body didn’t work anyway. I just dragged it around for cosmetic purposes. It might be a relief not to have to do that anymore. So maybe the cure for perpetually cold feet is not to have any feet.

The all-knowing voiceover never said untreated neuropathy can be lethal. So it couldn’t scare me. I guess I wasn’t the right demographic.

But seeing that commercial did bring me a certain peace of mind. At least I now know that my cold feet won’t kill me.

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