Saturday, June 25, 2011

Outliving My Straws

Smart Ass Cripple is now 55. So if all goes according to my plan, I’ve now lived one tenth of my life. Actually, my Plan A is still to be the only living organism in the history of living organisms to never die. I don’t really have a Plan B. But if I must compromise I’ll settle for living to be 550. When I get to be 548 I’ll probably adjust that deadline ahead a century or two, but for now 550 will do.

And I’m talking 550 in human years, not cripple years. Hell, I’m already almost 550 in cripple years. Being a cripple is rough. It takes a toll. So to calculate someone’s cripple age as opposed to their human age, take every year they’ve lived as a cripple and multiply it by eight. So my cripple age is 440, according to my computer calculator.

But I want to live to 550 regular human years. Don’t bet against me. None of the voodoo neurologists that poked and prodded me in the crippled children’s’ clinics thought I’d make it this far. They didn’t even think I’d live as long as Jesus. But Jesus ain’t even in my rearview mirror anymore. The docs back then used the scientific technique I call pin the tail on the diagnosis. Their lovely assistants blindfolded them and spun them around three times. There was a long chart of medical conditions posted on the wall. The doc stuck a donkey tail into the chart and whichever condition he pinned was what you were. And if you lived two or three more years, they crossed off that diagnosis and repeated the process. And if you lived to be 18, they threw up their hands and gave up. You were free to live your life as whatever amorphous thing you were.

A couple birthdays ago, my sister presented me with her gift of a large, unwrapped cardboard box. It contained 3,000 plastic red drinking straws. “A lifetime supply,” she said. So then I had a concrete goal in life—to outlive my pile of straws. By the time the last straw is gone, maybe I’ll be ready to die. It’s a tall pile. It ought to be around for a good long time. If I reuse the straws enough, they should last for at least 100 or so regular human years.

These straws are my hourglass. I’ve still got a sizeable stack, but the mound is dwindling. It looks like it may be gone in about 97 years. I’m getting nervous. Time is running out. So I think I’m going to adjust my deadline ahead a century or two. When I’m down to my last straw I’ll bury it in the ground. I’ll dig it up every month to see if it’s still there in its present form. I’ll check it every month until it has biodegraded to the point where it has completely transformed into dust.

That ought to take another two or three centuries. Maybe by then I’ll be ready to die.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Whatever Happened to Slipto?

Maybe I’m hallucinating. It wouldn’t be the first time.

But I swear to God I remember kids at the elementary school for cripples who walked around on crutches with one leg tied behind their back. They had a strap hanging from the back of their pants and the strap had a hook on the end that hooked to a loop on the back of the heel of their shoe. And they walked around the cripple school like that for about a year it seemed and then suddenly they were walking around on two feet like regular kids and soon they were gone, back to regular school.

We called them Sliptos, short for their crazy diagnosis name, that sounded like a name of a Roman Gladiator or a dinosaur— something like Slipto Pithusis. All the crippled kids had crazy diagnosis names like that, but this was a new one on us.

According to the Internet, which is never wrong, there’s something called Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis. Maybe that’s what it was. It basically means a hip slipped out of joint. But whenever a regular kid became a Slipto kid, they shipped them out of regular school and off to cripple school until they became regular again.

That’s what happened to all kids who weren’t regular. They sent them to cripple school. There was a girl at the elementary school for cripples who walked like a pigeon. I don’t know what her crazy diagnosis name was. Maybe her diagnosis name was Walks Like a Pigeon, because there was nothing else wrong with her. She could hear and see and talk just fine. She didn’t coo or anything like that. She just walked like a pigeon. We didn’t know why she walked like a pigeon. We thought maybe she was abandoned as an infant and raised by pigeons. They sent her to physical therapy and all. I have no idea what sort of physical therapy you give someone to get them to stop walking like a pigeon. But apparently it didn’t work because she kept walking like a pigeon.

And then there was Stevie, the round black kid who out of the blue would sing out SUPERMAAAAAN! He sang it out on the top of his lungs. You could hear it all the way down the hall: SUPERMAAAAAAN! Maybe it was Tourette’s before they called it Tourette’s. They sent him to physical therapy too but it didn’t stop him from singing. Stevie was also in a wheelchair but it wouldn’t have mattered. They wouldn’t have let him go to regular school even if he could walk, not as long as he insisted on bellowing out SUPERMAAAAN! It just wasn’t regular.

But I’m still around crippled people every day, and I haven’t seen a Slipto in about 45 years. The Internet says kids with Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis are treated by surgery. I guess they get back to being regular a whole lot faster now, without going through medieval therapies. There isn’t time to banish them to cripple island anymore.

Sometimes I ask younger generations of cripples if they ever met a Slipto. I tell them about the kids with one leg tied behind their back. They look at me like they’re concerned for my mental health.

They don’t understand. Once upon a time, there really were Sliptos. I saw them with my own eyes! But now they’re extinct.

Or maybe I’m hallucinating.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Smart Ass Cripple Gets Intimate

I, Smart Ass Cripple, have engaged in thousands of acts of deep intimacy with dozens and dozens of men. It began way back when I was in college and it continues to this day. I have paid most of these men to be intimate with me. There have been so many of them that I can’t even remember all their names and faces. I am not ashamed of these intimate encounters. Some people would be, but I am not. Just because I’m crippled doesn’t mean I don’t have needs.

Many of these acts of intimacy have taken place in bathrooms, sometimes even in the stalls of public bathrooms. Here’s how they go: (Warning: Smart Ass Cripple is about to give a graphic description of an act of intimacy that many might find disturbing. If you are one of those people, go drink some warm buttermilk or something.) First, the man removes my pants so that I am naked from the waist down. Sometimes he removes all my clothes and I am completely naked. He puts his arms around me. I put my arms around him. The man then lifts me out of my wheelchair and onto the toilet. The man leaves. I sit. I read a magazine.

When I’m finished I call and the man returns. And then our intimacy reaches its unspeakable climax. The man grabs a wad of toilet paper, leans me over and wipes me up. Then sometimes we continue to get intimate in the shower as well. The man shampoos my hair, scrubs down all of my body. Our intimacy continues in the bedroom. He knows all my favorite positions in bed. Sometimes I sleep positioned on my right side, sometimes on my left. He puts me in a position where I am comfortable and then he leaves.

I will continue to pay men to perform these acts of intimacy with me until the day I die because, like I said, I have needs, just like you. I need to shit and shower and sleep. I need to eat. I need to do my laundry.

A man applied to work for me some years ago. He said he was from Cambodia. During the interview, he told me his harrowing childhood tale of escaping the Khmer Rouge. He fled through the jungle with his family. The jungle was full of wild animals, deadly snakes, Khmer Rouge. But they made it to America. I was inspired by his fortitude so I hired him. And he quit after about three days on the job with me. The lions and tigers and bears and Khmer Rouge weren’t nearly as scary to him as my bathroom wipey time.

My advice is, if you’re creeped out by too much intimacy, don’t ever get too attached to a cripple. And for the love of God, be sure you never become a cripple.

Friday, June 10, 2011

How to Avoid the Blind

Go ahead and admit it. You’ve tried to avoid a blind person. You might as well admit it.

We all do it. I do all the time. Blind people are like everybody else. Some of them are obnoxious and irritating and you want to avoid them by any means necessary. There’s at least one such blind person in everyone's life, isn’t there? Admit it. Maybe you work with one. Maybe there’s one on the bus every morning. Maybe there’s one begging on your corner. So you silently tiptoe right past their noses, hoping you’ll slip by them without them noticing you were there. And then you feel like a worm because you deceived a poor blind person but you really shouldn’t feel bad. Why should you go to any less length to avoid an irritating and obnoxious blind person than you would to avoid an irritating and obnoxious sighted person? As one who has spent many years trying to avoid certain blind people, I can offer you some helpful tips.

I’m at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to avoiding irritating and obnoxious blind people I know because I can’t sneak past them silently. My motorized wheelchair clicks and whirrs and if a blind person has been around me a few times, they can tell it’s me by the sound of my click and whirr. I don’t know how the hell they do it but they do. So in order to avoid them, I have to be well beyond earshot. But if you’re a walkie, you can greatly improve your chances of successfully avoiding any irritating and obnoxious blind people you may know by carefully selecting your shoes each morning. If you fear you might encounter one such blind person and you want to be prepared to avoid them, be sure to put on shoes that don’t squeak or crunch or snap or make any sound. Also refrain from wearing jewelry or anything else that might emit a tattletale jingle.

It also helps if you don’t wear cologne or other scented products because that’s another way blind people can tell you’re trying to sneak past them. Blind people have a highly-developed sense of smell. The more irritating and obnoxious they are, the more highly developed it is. It’s probably an evolution thing. If you must wear scented products, consider switching every day and never wearing the same scent twice. This will keep the blind with their bloodhound noses off balance.

If you have an uncommon name like Ichabod, consider having it legally changed to something dreadfully common like Tom or Mike. Tell everyone you know that you changed you name except any blind people you may wish to avoid. Because if you’re trying to avoid that blind person and some sighted person you know sees you and yells out, “Hey Ichabod,” you’re busted. But if they yell out, “Hey Tom,” you can keep hustling past and if confronted later by the blind person you can claim it must’ve been some other Tom.

And finally, you should master speaking in a number of foreign accents. If you have the misfortune of suddenly encountering a blind person you wish to avoid while you are talking on the cell phone, just quickly switch to your finest Bulgarian or Turkish accent and the blind person will never recognize your passing voice.

Follow these tips and you should be able to successfully avoid all the irritating and obnoxious blind people you know. Then you can concentrate your energy on avoiding all the irritating and obnoxious people who can see you coming.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sinful Bedroom Confessions

A few weeks back, through no fault of my own, I found myself inside a Catholic church. (Gimme a break. It was a funeral.)

And in this church were confessionals. And the confessionals looked the same as they did back when I attended Catholic church, which was when pterodactyls flew above. They looked like duplex coffins standing on end.

So confessionals are still too cramped and the doors are too narrow to be wheelchair accessible. You’d think by now somewhere in the row of confessionals there’d be at least one double-wide with a big blue and white access symbol on the front, like when you see a line of outdoor porta-toilets.

So I guess cripples, or at least the ones who use wheelchairs, are still exempt from sin. When I was a little Catholic criplet I thought this was the coolest thing in the world. Since the church considered me incapable of sin, I didn’t have to do like all the Catholic kids who weren’t crippled and reflect on the events of the week past and make a list of every time I offended God and then report it to a priest and get stuck reciting a list of prayers on a Saturday afternoon while all the kids who weren’t Catholic were off somewhere having fun. Who wouldn’t want be exempt from that? God was so touchy and easy to offend. So I took my exemption and ran with it. It was a sweet gig. I never looked back. I never asked for a second opinion or an appeal.

But then it was all ruined. My mother had foot surgery so my sister and I stayed for a couple weeks with the Snitzers. Mary Ann Snitzer was my sister’s classmate at the crippled elementary school. The Snitzers were hard core Catholic. The Polish grandma, who spoke no English, went to mass every morning then retreated to her attic cloister where she prayed until afternoon.

Every Saturday the local priest came to hear Mary Ann’s confession. The confessional was her parent’s bedroom. And so my sister and I got dragged into confessing too. At the Snitners our exemption was null and void! Dammit!

The first week, when my turn came, I managed to confess some petty lies or impure thoughts or something that satisfied the priest enough for him to assign me penance. But the second week, when the priest sat on the bed and asked what I had to confess, I said, “Nothing.” His face turned disapproving. “You must have something to confess,” he said. But I really didn’t. How much sinning could I do attending cripple elementary school by day and boarding with the Snitzer by night? I shrugged. The Virgin Mary stared at me from a picture frame on the dresser. “Maybe you disobeyed your parents,” the priest said. So I went with that. I confessed that I disobeyed my parents, which was a lie since I hadn’t even seen my mother in two weeks. But now I had lied to a priest, which was bad on one level because that was surely a sin but it was good on another level because it gave me a sin to confess if I had to deal with this guy again next week. But if I confessed to the priest next week that I lied when I confessed last week that I sinned the previous week when I really hadn’t, how would all that play out? Would I then be a week behind in my sinning and obliged to double up to keep pace? The rules of confession were so confusing. In the future, I resolved, if I ever had to confess a sin to get a priest off my back, I would stick with impure thoughts. That was a much safer bet. That was one sin I could and would easily and frequently commit, even at cripple elementary school.

After I graduated from cripple elementary school to cripple state boarding high school/institution, the sin exemption I treasured as a child I now took as an insult. How dare the Catholic church automatically assume that just because I was crippled I was incapable of cheating and lying and coveting and bearing false witness and all that stuff. I was an adolescent raging with impure thoughts and I couldn’t wait to do my time at the cripple state boarding high school/institution and graduate into the real world for the first time so I could cheat and lie and covet and bear false witness to the best of my ability, so as to fully assert my humanity and that of other cripples.

I would never be able realize my sin potential at the cripple state boarding high school/institution. The whole point of such places was to shelter cripples away from the harsh and sinful world. Opportunities for sin did not readily present themselves. You had to create your own. And even those were lame. Once I acted upon a rebellious urge to flush a plastic cup down a toilet. And sure enough the whole bathroom flooded. They sealed off the bathroom like a crime scene. A plumber extracted a plastic cup. Who could pull such a childish stunt, our adult keepers wondered? Did they act alone or were there accomplices? An investigation was launched.

I never confessed a damn thing. Until now.