Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Age of Consent

  

I know the age of consent is generally 18. That’s the age where we’re considered to be old enough to understand what we’re getting into when we do stuff like have sex.

If you’re 18 you can kill people, as long as you join the armed forces first. And you can also vote but you can’t drink beer.

But I think there are some things for which the age of consent ought to be a whole lot higher than 18. One of those things in particular is shilling for cripple charities. Believe me, I know. I used to be one of those charity spokescriplets. I was a poster child for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. But by the grace of God it was way back when I was cute and apple-cheeked. And that was long before the internet, so precious little, if any, historical record of my reign remains. These days, if you do something regrettable in public, it’s likely to be recorded somehow and forever enshrined on the internet.

It’s true that nobody held a gun to my head and forced me to be a poster kid. I did it for the same reason I went to church. My heart wasn’t in it but doing it pleased the adults around me. But I can see now that I was far too young to understand the potential consequences of my actions.

There was no way I could begin to comprehend concepts like oppression and it’s deep cultural roots and how the life-blood of cripple oppression is the insidious mask of benevolence and compassion it hides behind and the manner in which my playing the role of an eternally-grateful Tiny Tim with no agency except my begging prowess deepens the roots of cripple oppression by reinforcing the one-dimensional stereotypes on which it thrives.

That’s some heavy shit for an 8 year old to wrap their arms around. Hell, that’s some heavy shit for a 38 year old to wrap their arms around. So I think the age of consent for being a cripple poster child ought to be at least 45. I don’t see how anyone with less life experience than that can grasp how what they’re doing impacts others. And they’re bound to have the same jolt of remorse later in life that I had, like when you want to have an ugly tattoo removed. Except these days it’s worse because with the internet, ugly tattoos are permanent.  


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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Peter Piper Syndrome

 

 

 The grinding anxiety I've been feeling lately could be described as Peter Piper Syndrome.

Suppose there was actually a guy named Peter Piper. There probably is one somewhere. He’s the offspring of a couple smart ass parents with the last name of Piper. But it’s inevitable that the life of somebody named Peter Piper would take a tragic wrong turn because he would be constantly bombarded with comments like, “Where's the peck of pickled peppers you picked?” After hearing that witticism for the 12 zillionth time, he’d be bound to snap and go on an axe-murdering spree.

I feel the same way whenever I encounter this guy who lives in the same building I live in. He sees me rolling by in my motorized wheelchair and he always says, “You better slow down or you’re gonna get a speeding ticket!” Sometimes he shouts it from across the street. He doesn’t mean any harm. He just doesn’t realize that I’ve heard that joke 12 zillion times. It’s right up there with, “Hey hot rod, you got a license for that thing?” And I don’t have the heart to tell him because I don’t want to hurt his feelings. So,  for his own protection, I go out of my way to avoid him because I’m afraid that if he says that to me one more time I’ll snap and “accidentally” take his legs out from under him and knock him down an elevator shaft.

How would Peter Piper defend himself in court? He’d probably have to throw himself at the mercy of the jury by claiming some sort of temporary insanity defense. He’d tearfully recount the excruciating torture of hearing that same fucking wise crack over and over and over.

I’d have to do the same thing if I went on trial for knocking my neighbor down an elevator shaft. But I’d insist that there be at least one wheelchair cripple on the jury of my peers. Because every wheelchair cripple I know has also heard that speeding ticket joke 12 zillion times. So there would be a good chance at least one juror could totally relate to my pain and refuse to convict.


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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Expedited Shipping of Sex Toys

  

 I checked out a couple of sites on the internet that sell sex toys. I couldn’t help myself. I was too curious.

I had to know if these sites offered expedited shipping, where, for an extra cost, you can receive your purchase the next day.  Because all the other websites, where you can buy stuff like toothpaste and shoes, offer expedited shipping. And sure enough, both of the sex toy sites offered it, too.

I wondered what kind of sex toy emergency might arise where someone would absolutely have to have it the next day. I suppose there could be a scenario where someone has a hot date lined up and, like a dumbass, they didn’t plan ahead and here it is the night before and now they have to scramble in order to get everything all lined up.

I imagine expedited shipping of sex toys is illegal in some states. If so, I’m sure it’s probably states where there are a lot of tight-ass religious types in charge. The tight-ass religious types are the ones most freaked out about sex toys. It’s not sex toys per se that they have such a problem with. It’s fun that freaks them out. Fun terrifies them. Fun is the devil. And there’s nothing more fun than sex toys. Having fun is the whole point of sex toys.

I bet if the tight-ass religious people could have things completely their way, the sale possession of sex toys would be a felony. But even they must realize the futility of that sort of mandated abstinence. I bet humans have been playing with sex toys for as long as there have been humans, or reasonable facsimiles of humans. I bet Neanderthals made sex toys out of found objects, like pine cones and dead beavers. Playing with sex toys is one of those things like drinking and dancing. A good number of people will always figure out a way to do it, even if it’s against the law or mama’s religion. If people can’t buy sex toys on the free market, they’ll buy back alley sex toys and that can lead to all kinds of painful consequences, like tongue splinters.

So if the tight-ass religious types can’t completely ban sex toys, they’ll do like they do when it comes to abortion. They’ll find ways to limit access every chance they get. Making expedited shipping of sex toys illegal would be their sneaky little way of instituting a cooling-off period.

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Monday, April 5, 2021

Dancing With My Blower

 

 I hope I get an opportunity to dance again, at a wedding or something like that. Because a couple years ago I had this attachment added to my motorized wheelchair that makes it possible for me to drive the chair hands-free by blowing into a hose. I call this attachment my blower.

 I got a blower because sometimes it’s too difficult for me to drive with my hand, especially outdoors where the terrain is rough and/or when my hands are cold. It took a good deal of practice for me to become proficient at blower driving because it’s tricky.  You have to exhale to go forward and inhale to reverse etc. etc. I still have dents and gashes in the walls of my home that were created when I zigged instead of zagging while using my blower.

But now I’m a blower driving pro! If there was an Olympic downhill slalom event for blower drivers, I’d probably win the gold fucking medal!

But one thing I haven’t tried out while using the blower yet is dancing. I could dance pretty good driving with my hand. I could whirl my chair around in a circle and all. But it’ll take a whole lot of hard concentration to dance using my blower without flattening too many of the other people on the dancefloor. 

Whenever I go out on the dancefloor in my wheelchair, it’s inevitable that I’ll receive enthusiastic accolades from many of the dancing verts (which it what I call people who walk because it’s short for verticals). They smile big and applaud me or flash me a triumphant thumbs up. Sometimes the drunken ones cut in and make it a dancing threesome. This unwarranted 0effusiveness makes me uneasy because I fear that in their minds, by being out there dancing I’m demonstrating how brave and courageous I am. Maybe that’s why some verts get all overcome like that when they see cripples having fun.  Maybe they expect us to be so sad and tragic all the time and they’re pleasantly stunned to see us behaving the opposite. But really, I’m dancing for the same reason they are. I just feel like dancing and maybe I can think of a whole bunch of reasons why I shouldn’t but I say fuck it and go do it anyway. But then again, I guess that’s a form of bravery, when a person thinks of a whole bunch of reasons why they shouldn’t do something but then says fuck it and does it anyway.  I guess I don’t mind being seen as that kind of brave.

So when I dance by using my blower, some of the verts will probably be super duper overcome to see me on the dancefloor. But fuck it, I’ll do it anyway.

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Monday, March 29, 2021

Side Effects and The Quality of Life

 (Trigger warning. This entry contains multiple references to diarrhea.)

I have a friend who’s crippled for the same reason I am. He’s also about the same age as me.

I’ve written before about how this friend is getting this new treatment that supposedly might make life marginally better for people who are crippled for the same reason we are. But the treatment required getting a monthly spinal injection. So I said no thanks. I’m just not into pursuing cripple treatments and cures that require any more effort than eating my spinach. Maybe I’m just lazy, but I tell myself it’s a quality of life thing. Rather than running back and forth to a doctor’s office or working out incessantly in a physical therapy gym for countless hours, I’d rather spend whatever time I have left doing things I find much more fulfilling, like staring at the wall.

But recently my friend told me that the treatment no longer requires spinal injections. Now he just takes an oral medication daily. This prompted me to consider reconsidering signing up for this treatment. That didn’t sound like much effort. My friend told me the name of the medication and I thought about asking my doctor about it.

But there’s been a dramatic new development that has made me reconsider any thought of reconsidering. My friend has informed me that a side effect of the medication is that it sometimes gives him diarrhea. Diarrhea is one of my worst nightmares because in order for me to take a dump, I need someone to lift me on and off the bowl. So it’s imperative that I have well–trained, cooperative, predictable, disciplined bowels that only rumble during the designated hours when I’ve scheduled someone to be around to lift me on and off of the bowl. An uprising at any other time of day is, obviously, a source of great stress for me.

Thus far in life, I’ve been blessed with a tremendous talent for holding it all in until such time as it's safe to let loose. This is such a gift that it’s almost enough to make me believe in God.

So I won’t be signing up for this cripple treatment, even if it is just a simple matter of taking a daily dose of oral medication. I dare not thumb my nose at fate like that.

It’s a quality of life thing.


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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Sex on a Trampoline or The End of Cripple Summer Camp as we Know it

 

 On the day I showed up for one of my annual weeks of cripple summer camp many years ago, I was settling into my cabin and the guy in the top bed of the next bunk came down and introduced himself to me. Since he wasn’t crippled, I figured he must be one of the attendants, which is what they called the volunteers who helped the campers, which is what they called the cripples.

The guy from the next bunk said this was his first time at cripple summer camp but nevertheless he felt confident this week was gonna be a real blast. For example, he said, last night, one of the female attendants and him had sex on a trampoline. (There were a couple of trampolines set up over by the camp’s parking lot.)

This was a life-changing moment for me. I immediately aspired to find a girl who would have sex on the camp trampoline with me. But at the same time, I knew I dared not dream such a dream because it was destined to be crushed.

Because who would sink so low as to have sex on a trampoline with a camper? I was over age 18 and all, just like the guy in the next bunk and the girl that had sex with him on the trampoline. But that didn’t matter. Having sex with a cripple of any age on a trampoline was at the top of the list of things that would get somebody kicked out of cripple summer camp. Hell, it might even get you arrested.

And that made me yearn to get laid on the camp trampoline even more. Because I figured if I got kicked out of cripple summer camp for having sex on the trampoline, I’d become a folk legend. And I’d be an inspiring new role model for campers of future. They’d figure that if I could get laid on a trampoline, maybe, just maybe, someday they might, too. And that could open up a whole new world of possibilities for them. No longer would the realm of cripples at summer camp be limited to arts and crafts. The life lesson offered by my legend would be that cripples should aim high and not be defined and constrained by society's low expectations 

It would be the end of cripple summer camp as we know it.


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Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Evolution of Cripple Charity Pitches

  

 

There are loads and loads of commercials where someone says something like, “Your generous gift of $19 a month will change lives.” Then they show a montage of those for whom the money is being raised, which is usually dogs or crippled children.

And I notice that the dogs in the montage are all desperately, heartbreakingly sad. But the crippled children are heartwarmingly upbeat, in spite of themselves.

I’m not sure what it all means. I’m not sure if this is an improvement over how things used to be. It used to be that crippled kids in charity ads also had to be desperately, heartbreakingly sad to pack the maximum sympathy punch. But somewhere along the line, someone decided that the most effective little spokescripples must be plucky and upbeat.

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. It’s okay to have commercials where crippled adults ask for $19 a month, as long as they’re war vets. The crippled war vets are allowed to be sad, but in an adult sort of way. They don’t have to be plucky and upbeat, but their spirits should be brightened at least a little bit by the prospect of you donating $19 a month.

It’s also okay for crippled kids in charity commercials to be just as sad as dogs, as long as those kids are from other countries and are preferably not white. A good example is that commercial that beseeches everyone to donate $19 a month so kids in Guatemala can get surgery to fix their cleft palates. The little brown kids in the "before” videos, who still have cleft palates, are sad as hell. But in the "after” videos, when they don’t have cleft palates anymore, they’re smiling big. In that commercial there’s a scene that takes place in a remote and desolate village where a boy with a cleft palate approaches some other kids but those kids shun him like he’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. And so the cleft palate kid slunks away, dejectedly. I always wonder how that scene was captured on camera. It must’ve been staged. There must have been a camera crew and lightning all set up and the director says “Action! Okay now enter cleft palate kid and go up to those other kids. And you other kids shun him hard, like he’s got cooties! That’s great! Now slunk away, cleft palate kid. Dejectedly! Outstanding! Cuuuut! It’s a wrap!”

I wonder if they made the poor cleft palate kid shoot that scene before they would give him his surgery.

Anyway, to get back to my point, I don’t know what all this means. I’ll leave that question to be contemplated by great scholars and philosophers, who have a lot of free time on their hands. 


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