Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Brain is Weird

 

 

There are a lot of things that you can’t make easy jokes about anymore.

Like for instance, some old television shows and movies and comedians used to get a lot of joke mileage out of getting drunk. But since then, much has been made of the pain drunk people have caused others, like drunk drivers, so you can’t be so quick to make jokes about drunkenness or it might seem like you’re making light of that pain.

And blows to the head aren’t considered to be as funny as they once were. The Three Stooges constantly played blows to the head for laughs. Bowling balls would roll off the edge of a shelf high on a wall and bounce off the head of some poor sap below. Or Moe would get mad at Larry or Curly and hit them over the head with a pickax or sledgehammer.

But comedians don’t do that kind of slapstick these days. Maybe it’s because we all know that in real life blows to the head can cause brain injuries and brain injuries cause people to say and do weird shit and it might seem like you’re making light of people who are crippled because of brain injuries.

I suppose that’s a good thing to be mindful of, but I still tell funny stories about people with brain injuries. One of my favorites is about when  I was involved in a sexuality workshop for cripples decades ago. For the first session, the facilitator wrote names of body parts on the board and told us all to say slang names for these body parts. This was an ice-breaker exercise. The facilitator’s goal was to make everyone feel comfortable discussing sexuality openly and frankly.

But two of the participants were guys who were crippled by brain injuries. I guess they had the kind of brain injuries that dull one’s inhibitions and impulse control.

Because the facilitator began by writing on the board the word breasts.

And the two brain-injured guys enthusiastically responded with, “Casaba melons! Golden bozos!”

Vagina.

“Spasm chasm! Love canal!”

Penis.

“Joystick!”

I’m sorry, but I think that’s funny stuff. What’s funny about it to me is that it shows how weird the human brain is. It’s so elaborately balanced and interconnected that if you mess with one part even a little bit, there’s no telling how much it’ll throw the rest of the brain out of whack.

And it’s also funny because it shows how much we mighty humans are slaves to our brains. If our brain  tells us to say or do something, we’re pretty much powerless to resist. But it sure as hell doesn’t work the other way around. Those brain-injured guys in the sexuality workshop both walked gimpy, too. That shows what a stubborn sonuvabitch the brain can be sometimes. If it doesn’t want to do something, like tell the legs to quit screwing around and walk normal, there’s not much we can do about it.

Let's be honest, there’s plenty funny about the brain.

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Thursday, January 6, 2022

Dissuading a Dumbass

 If I'm ever with some dumbass who's about to do something stupid that could render them crippled, like diving into shallow water or doing a handstand on a speeding motorcycle, maybe I ought to just sit back and let them do it.

I've never been in that situation, but what if I am? It's good to role play these things through my head in advance so if it ever does happen I'll be able to react fast.

Most people wouldn't have to think about it for very long. They'd determine right away that the proper thing to do would be to say to the person who's about to do something stupid, "What the hell's the matter with you? Do you want to end up crippled?"

And they're right. Of course the proper response is to do whatever one can to dissuade the dumbass. But I don't think that would be that easy for me to do.

Because I’d feel like it would be like me saying, “Hey, you don’t wanna end up like me, do ya?” And I hate when cripples are made into boogie men like that. That’s why cripple cure campaigns give me the willies because I feel like the idea behind them is to make everybody feel like it’s terrible being crippled and the best thing we can all do about it is to not create anymore cripples.

And I just don’t feel like that about myself or other cripples I know. Being like us isn’t such a terrible thing. There are plenty of reasons why no one would want to be like me, but none of them have to do with being crippled. Those reasons would exist whether I was crippled or not.

I also can’t buy in to the idea that being a cripple is always inferior in every way to being a vert (which is what I call people who walk, because it’s short for vertical). I have a couple of friends who are quads who like to point out that one of the things they like about being a quad is that their friends never ask them to help them move.

So I would have to say to the dumbass who was about to do something stupid, "Hey dumbass, before you do anything stupid, you need to weigh the pros and cons of becoming crippled. On the one hand, your friends won’t ask you help them move and you’ll get much better parking spaces. But on the other hand, being crippled is really expensive because you gotta buy a lot of pricey stuff like wheelchairs and everybody thinks being a cripple is always inferior in every way to being a vert and---"

By that time, the dumbass will have gone and done whatever stupid thing they were going to do.



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Sunday, December 26, 2021

The Ambassador

 

 When you’re a cripple, you often end up getting help from people who are paid shit for helping you. It's inevitable because helping cripples is a job that pays shit.

 So then you panic because you fear that the person helping you are going to get fed up and walk out on you right in the middle of doing whatever it is they’re helping you do. So you feel this suffocating obligation to make it up to them by being an ambassador who represents cripples as fine and fascinating people, even though it’s not your fault that they’re being paid shit.

 Like for instance, take those people who assist cripples at airports. They push you around in those clunky airport wheelchairs and /or assist you boarding the plane. I’ve read that those folks are paid something like $4 an hour. And the asshole private contractors who pay them shit like that figure the cripples they help will make up the difference by tipping them.

So when I’m being helped by one of them, I feel a strong obligation to be on my toes and ready to talk about sports or Descartes (at least enough to fake it) or whatever realm the conversation may enter. I look for an opening to tell a joke and to impart some wisdom. It’s probably because I want them to say at the end of the day, “I may hate my job because the pay is shit but I love working with those wheelchair people. They’re so witty and wise.”

The tipping part is stressful, too, because I feel really conflicted about it. I resent that I’m expected to tip because I feel like if I do so I’m enabling the private contractors to continue being assholes. Why should I have to pick up their slack? Why can’t they just not pay people shit in the first place?  But if I don’t tip, the only one I’m hurting is the poor schlub who’s helping me. The private contractors have us both by the balls. The less witty and wise I am, the more I feel obligated to give a bigger tip. I’m sure the schlubs would be more inclined to give me a pass for not being witty and wise if I tipped big.

Another example of people who are paid shit for helping cripples are the people who come to our homes and help us do the stuff everybody has to do every day like get out of bed, get dressed, take a dump, etc. I have a crew of such people I’ve hired to help me in my home. I call them my pit crew.

The people who do this kind of work are usually paid around minimum wage and they get no benefits or sick pay or vacation days or anything like that. So when I’m working with my pit crew members I try my best to be witty and wise so they won't be so quick to get fed up and quit because they’re being paid shit.

It’ll be a great day when things have changed so much that I can just let myself be a grumpy old asshole now and then, like every human does. And at the end of the day the people who help me will say, “Those wheelchair people sure are grumpy old assholes. But I sure get paid a lot for helping them.”


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Sunday, December 12, 2021

Ask Smart Ass Cripple, if You Dare

  Dear Smart Ass Cripple,

In one of your recent entries, you used the term “idiot fascists.” I am writing to express my vociferous objection to your use of that term.

I am President of the Fascist Anti-Defamation League and Defense Fund and on behalf of this proud organization I demand an apology. 

Our organization was formed because, all too often, fascists are a convenient scapegoat and butt of jokes. People like you paint fascists with a broad brush that makes us all look like evil people. Just because fascists believe in a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader that defends corporate interests above all and ruthlessly suppresses opposition, that doesn’t make us evil. There are fascists in all walks of life. The odds are great that some of your neighbors and coworkers are fascists.  Someday your daughter may marry a fascist.

At long last, fascist are emerging from the shadows of shame! We will not be driven back!

Apologize or die!

Sincerely,

Adolf Whiteman

 Dear Adolf,

I’m sorry that I used the term “idiot fascists.” I did not mean to be redundant.

 

Dear Smart Ass Cripple,

What would you do if you were President of the United States?

 Yours truly,

A Political Nerd

Dear Nerd,

If I was President of the United States, I would be very aggressive. On my very first day in office, I would introduce legislation outlawing one-name celebrities. I’d call it the Anti-Pretentiousness Act. Every one-name celebrity would have to choose a last name. If they refused to comply, the government would assign them a last name, such as Sting Wolinsky or Cher Cunningham. I may consider grandfathering dead one-name celebrities, like Prince, and letting them keep a single name forever.

I’d also crack down hard on lazy songwriters by making it illegal to write any more songs that rhyme “love” with “stars above.” I’d call this the Anti-Cliché Act.

And I’d also crack down on lazy city planners. It would be verboten to name the main street in any city or town Main Street. You could name any other street Main Street as long as it isn’t the main street.  And no fair taking the easy way out by naming the main street First Street. It would also be verboten to name a street First Street unless it’s not the first street.

Under my administration, life in the United States would be a lot less annoying.

 

Dear Mr. Smart Ass,

When you die, do you want to be buried or cremated? It seems to me that both options suck. You either quickly burn or slowly rot. Death sucks.

Your fan,

A Morose Teen

 Dear Morose Teen,

I agree with you that both options suck. That’s why I’m looking into taxidermy. I mean, they do it for birds and moose and weasels, so why not me? They can shoot me full of whatever preservatives taxidermists use, rivet me down into my wheelchair and I’ll be good to go. By being stuffed and mounted like this, I may achieve a certain level of immortality. Like for instance, sometimes when workers are protesting against a boss because they think he’s an asshole, they put a giant, inflatable rat out in front of his place of business to show the world what an asshole he is. But instead of a rat, they could place me out front all taxidermied up. That ought to scare away the customers and bring the boss to his knees.

Who says just because you’re dead you can’t be useful anymore? 

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Meet "The Fabulous T-Babes" by Smart Ass Cripple! Get Volumes 1 and 2 Today!

You can purchase volumes 1 and 2 of The Fabulous  T-Babes, conceived and written by Mike Ervin and illustrated by Permi Cultis, for a measly $18! Visit our good friends at Infected Pork Press at the link below and enter the discount code HOLIDAYS.

If you like nuns who behave like the Three Stooges and deformed superheroes, you'll love The Fabulous T-Babes, a new zine series from Smart Ass Cripple.

Thanks for supporting all the goofiness going on here at Smart Ass Cripple.

Friday, December 3, 2021

An Adorable Plush Crippled Kid

  

A television commercial came on. Sad music played over footage of elephants (mothers and babies) ambling through the wild. The earnest narrator said elephants are in big trouble. She said their very existence is threatened. But, she said, I can help save them if I sign up to make a monthly donation to this charity whose mission it is to save the elephants. And if I sign up to make a monthly donation, the charity will send me an “adorable plush elephant” as a token of appreciation. It was a cute little stuffed animal intended to make me feel warm and fuzzy about donating to save the elephants.

And then another television commercial came on. Sad music played over footage of polar bears (mothers and babies) ambling through the wild. The earnest narrator said polar bears are in big trouble. She said their very existence is threatened. But, she said, I can help save them if I sign up to make a monthly donation to this charity whose mission it is to save the polar bears. And if I sign up to make a monthly donation, the charity will send me an “adorable plush polar bear” as a token of appreciation. It was a cute little stuffed animal intended to make me feel warm and fuzzy about donating to save the polar bears.

I could see where this could easily turn into an addictive and expensive hobby for me. I’d sign up to make monthly donation after monthly donation and receive cute little stuffed animal after cute little stuffed animal to add to my adorable plush menagerie. Save the whales? Save the porcupines?  Somebody stop me before I donate again!

And then another television commercial came on. This one didn’t have sad music. It featured a couple of smiling crippled kids. It seemed their very existence was threatened, too, but they were much more cheery about it because they knew they could count on people like me to save them by signing up to make a monthly donation to a children’s hospital whose mission is to save the crippled kids. And the crippled kids said that if I signed up I’d receive an “adorable” gift as a token of appropriation.

I was psyched to call the number on the screen and make my pledge right away because I couldn’t wait to receive my adorable, plush, stuffed crippled kid. It would be the crown jewel of my impressive collection of species I helped save.

But it turned out that the adorable gift the crippled kids were offering was just a blanket. Can you believe that? A goddam blanket!

Those crippled kids have to do way better than that if they expect to be saved. 

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Friday, November 26, 2021

The Look on Barbi Benton's Face

 

 I was browsing through the record department of a big store like Sears.

Yes, this was a long time ago. It was back in the days when there were big stores like Sears that had departments where they sold record albums.

Anyway, I noticed there was some kind of hubbub going on in the corner of the record department. A crowd of people gathered and they were all paying rapt attention to someone. I couldn’t see who the center of attention was or what was going on because everyone in the crowd was standing and I was sitting down. So I worked my wheelchair over that way and inched my way through the crowd. “Excuse me. Coming through. Excuse me, please.”

Eventually I worked my way to the front of the crowd and I saw that the person they were all paying attention to was Barbi Benton

Yes, this was a long time ago. It was back in the days when Barbi Benton was famous for being Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend and for having big boobs, in that order. I say that because whereas her boobs were indeed noteworthy, they weren’t enough to propel her to such heights of fame unto themselves. They needed that extra boost of credibility they received from Hugh’s thumbs up.

It appeared that Barbi was in the record department to plug her new album. Because she sat on a high stool holding a microphone and several album covers with her picture on them were on display around her. I had no idea she could sing. I thought the only thing she wrote on her tax return as an occupation was Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend.

But anyway, the women in the crowd standing next to me shouted out, “Hey, Barbi,  look!” She pointed down at the top of my head. Barbi just said “Hi,” to me but the look on her face said, “Oh shit! That’s not one of those Make-a-Wish kids , is it? Why didn’t anybody warn me about this? They’re supposed to clear this kind of thing through my publicist! This is an ambush! Wait til I see that publicist of mine! I’ll wring his neck!”

I said “Hi” back to Barbi. I don’t know what kind of look I had on my face, but here’s what I was thinking: “Oh shit! She thinks I’m a Make-a-Wish kid! I gotta get the hell out of here!”

So I spun my wheelchair around and got the hell out of there.


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