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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