Monday, November 5, 2012

Mr. Impossible

That’s me. Somehow I manage to do the impossible, without even trying. When I was only 20 years old, I did something no cripple had ever done before. I got kicked out of the Jerry Lewis summer camp.

For a cripple, it’s nearly impossible to get kicked out of Jerry Lewis summer camp. It’s as hard as getting kicked out of heaven. Except it’s a whole lot harder to get into heaven. To get into heaven you have to be righteous, virtuous, humble, charitable, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. To get into Jerry Lewis summer camp you just had to be one of Jerry’s kids. You didn’t even have to be a kid. There were crippled campers in their 60s. Once a Jerry’s kid, always a Jerry’s kid.

And because some of the operators of Jerry Lewis summer camp saw their mission as bringing one week of happiness and light into the otherwise sad and dark lives of cripples, a crippled camper could get away with just about any behavior. You could be the most demanding tyrant in the western hemisphere and they’d humor you because this was your one special week.

So naturally, I took this as a challenge. I aspired to be the first cripple to be kicked out of Jerry Lewis summer camp for the same reason other determined men have aspired to climb Mt. Everest: because it’s there.

But when it really happened, I wasn’t even trying to get kicked out. All I did was get caught drinking with the other crippled guys in my cabin. Somebody smuggled in a six pack. The only cold and concealed place we could store it was in the lake, tied to a leg of the pier. We broke it out on the last night. One of the tight ass camp staff caught us. We were banned the next year.

And this is why I’m especially terrified of ending up in a nursing home. Because I know I’ll accidentally do the impossible there, too. I’ll be banned from the TV room. It seems to me like getting kicked out of the TV room is almost as hard to accomplish as getting kicked out of Jerry Lewis summer camp. The TV room is the room of last resort. It’s where they put the inmates who are most out of it. Sad and slumped, they huddle around reruns of Columbo.

Survival in this environment shouldn’t be difficult. All one has to do is shut up and watch Columbo. But I couldn’t do it. I have this bad habit. Television is so ridiculous that before long I heckle it. Especially commercials. I can’t help it. I just blurt shit out without thinking. It’s like Tourette’s. Like for instance, let’s say there’s a commercial for Swedish Formula 29 men’s hair dye. And there’s a guy about my age proudly proclaiming that when he got rid of his gray, young women flocked to him in droves. “I’m sure glad I tried Sweedish Formula 29!” he says. And I say, “Yeah, or you could try dating women who aren’t so GODDAM SHALLOW!”

Such outbursts cannot be tolerated in the serenity of the TV room. So I’ll be exiled. And if there’s a political campaign going on, oh Lord, they’ll probably sedate me as well. Campaign commercials set me off worst of all. There’s a dumbass republican saying, “Government doesn’t create jobs.” And I shout back, “Oh no? Well then why the hell are you running for a government-created job, you certified moron?!”

If there’s a campaign going on, sedation might not even be enough. They might lobotomize me.