Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Crippled Jackson Pollock

A lot of people view cripple art in the same dismissive way they view cripple sports.  The prevailing image of cripple sports is a giant clown face painted on a slab of wood that’s mounted upright and there are holes cut out where the clown’s eyes, nose and mouth ought to be. And cripples try to toss beanbags through the holes. And the winner gets a medal and a hug. And so do the losers. And the prevailing image of cripple art is a stick figure sculpture made out of pipe cleaners. Or maybe made out of Popsicle sticks glued together with Elmer’s.

But there’s a crippled abstract expressionist painter from Spain who may well destroy all the negative stereotypes about crippled artists. His name is Alejandro Mierda de Toro and he’s paralyzed from the neck down. He broke his neck in a tragic accident from which he learned a valuable lesson:  NEVER text while running with the bulls.

 Mierda de Toro can only move his head. He was an art student at the time of his accident but he remained determined to achieve his dream of becoming a famous painter. His therapists encouraged him by introducing him to the work of the many crippled artists from around the world who paint by holding a paintbrush in their mouth. But their style left him cold. He saw it as hotel art-- paint-by-numbers-looking pictures of old barns and soaring eagles.

Mierda de Toro wanted to paint in the drip, splatter and splash style of his idol, American abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock.  One day Mierda de Toro had a revelation and on that day he found his voice as a crippled artist. He decided he would indeed use his mouth to paint, but he would not use a brush.  Thus, in a typical painting session, one of Mierda de Toro uncrippled assistants stood eagerly by. The artist studied his canvas intensely and called out for a color, as a surgeon calls out for an instrument. The assistant then dropped a straw into a canister containing that color of paint and held it up to the artist’s mouth. The artist drew in a precise mouthful of the paint through the straw and then spat the paint onto the canvas.

The results are nothing short of amazing. Mierda de Toro has created countless new colors by sloshing multiple colors of paint around in his mouth before spitting.

Art historians refer to this early stage of Mierda de Toro’s career as his spit period. During this time, the entire inside of his mouth looked like a Jackson Pollock painting, even though he gargled regularly with turpentine.

Mierda de Toro then evolved into what is known as his turkey baster period. His assistants held up turkey basters filled with paint and Mierda de Toro applied the paint to the canvas by biting down hard on the baster bulb. (Author’s note: Mierda de Toro does not have much of a sense of humor so DO NOT refer to him as a master baster. Trust me. I know.)

Mierda de Toro’s work has sometimes been controversial, such as his infamous Chihuahua Project. His plan was to  put Chihuahuas of all shapes and sizes into a room covered with canvas from floor to ceiling and then dump paint on the dogs so they could create an abstract painting by shaking and rolling around like dogs do when then they get all wet. But after protests by animal rights activists, his public commission for the project was rescinded.

Mierda de Toro’s next frontier is large-scale public art. He received a commission to paint a mural on the wall of a government office building in Madrid. He will execute the project by first having his assistants set up dozens of large vats of paint on the roof’s edge at the top of the wall. Then Mierda de Toro will be lowered by a rope in his wheelchair from a helicopter and swung like a wrecking ball until he personally knocks over each vat and all the paint spills down the wall.

Thanks to the fiery young Alejandro Mierda de Toro, soon the public perception of crippled artists will never be the same. Everybody will picture a cripple in a wheelchair biting a baster bulb or dangling from a helicopter.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sitting on My Ass Watching Sports

All this smart ass stuff is just a means to an end.  My true calling is to be a celebrated philanthropist.

My first humanitarian project will be to open Smart Ass Cripple’s Home for Wayward Girls (ages 18 and up). And after I’ve done that, I’ll start a charity with the mission of creating opportunities for young criplets to fully enjoy sports. I owe a lot to sports. Sports meant a great deal to me as a criplet. Sports did a lot to mold my character and shape me into the man I am today.

I didn’t actually play sports. I’m crippled, remember? There was a time when I could hit a whiffle ball a good 10 yards, but those days a long gone. I’m talking about sitting on my ass watching sports.  I want future generations of cripples to have the same, if not better, opportunity that I had to sit on their asses and watch sports.

I hated any sport where the spectators had to be quiet, like tennis. If I couldn’t yell and scream and act like an ass hole, then what was the point? The only people who can yell and scream and act like an ass hole at tennis matches are the tennis players. I hate golf for the same reason. You can’t heckle. I guess it’s because hitting a golf ball or tennis ball requires intense concentration. But big deal! Hitting a curveball is hard too. What if Albert Pujols refused to step into the batter’s box until there was complete silence?  Ha!

The joy of being a fan was in the heckling. Thus, sitting on my ass watching sports was the most constructive form of releasing tension and hostility available to me as a boy, especially since I was Catholic so I couldn’t jerk off. I wouldn’t be condemned to hell for watching sports. I was, however, a Cubs fan, which is pretty much the same as being condemned to hell.

But I got away with stuff as a fan that I never would get away with in real life. I expressed my bitterness at the success of those I didn’t like and gloated when they were defeated. I heckled those who didn’t please me.  Everybody needs a chance to vent their petty vindictiveness now and then and get it out of their system, especially adolescents.  Let’s not pretend we don’t.

Today, sitting on my ass watching sports is satisfying on an additional level because I also get to heckle millionaires. So I don’t want criplets to miss out. My foundation will organize field trips where we take criplets to games and teach them the fine art of heckling. The shy and sheltered ones will receive a list of standard insults like “You suck!” to which they can refer until they develop the social skills to craft their own insults.  

My greatest dream is take them to something like Wimbledon and watch the match come to a halt while security ejects a bunch of criplets. That would be such a deeply rewarding experience, for the little criplets and for me.

Monday, June 17, 2013


I live in constant fear that someday I will lose my pit crew. Those are the people I hire to drag my ass out of bed every day, make my meals, do my laundry, scrub my toilet, wipe my butt, etc. The state pays their wages. And we all know what the legislature giveth the legislature can just as easily taketh away, especially these days when they’re privatizing the everlovin' hell out of everything.

If that ever happens, in order to meet payroll by my own devices, I will probably have no choice but to do something that is against all my moral and political principles. I’ll have to either 1) turn tricks or 2) wear a t-shirt with a corporate product brand on the front.

To me, wearing a Budweiser shirt or McDonald’s boxer shorts makes the following fashion statement: “I’m a chump.” I’m paying a humongous corporation to advertise their product. Pretty good scam they’ve got going on there. If I was the Super Bowl, I could charge them 1.5 skillion bucks to flash their silly little brand for 30 seconds.

But if cripples are left to throw ourselves at the mercy of the Fortune 500 to fund our butt wiping escapades, these shrewd capitalists will seize the opportunity to traffic in the seedy business of human billboards. Cripples like me will be assigned a corporate sugar daddy to pay for our pit crew and in exchange we will have to wear a shirt emblazoned with one of their brands everywhere we go. And we’ll have to hang around whatever strategic locations the corporations send us to reach the target demographic. Like for instance, if you’re wearing a Viagra shirt, you’ll have to hang around golf tournaments.

It might not be so bad, especially if I end up with a brand that makes me look cool, like Jack Daniels or Harley Davidson. It might even turn out to be my dream job. My dream job has always been whatever the easiest job in the world is at the time. Right now it seems like the easiest job in the world is sign holder. But human billboard would surpass that as the easiest job in the world. You don’t even have to exert the effort it takes to hold a sign. You are the sign. It’s the perfect job for cripples.  Even the comatose can do it.

But it could also be a nightmare. I don’ think cripples will have any say over which corporation adopts and brands us. So it will be a real crap shoot and I could be sentenced to a life of wearing an embarrassing brand that turns me into a laughingstock, like American Girl or the New York Mets. And there’s no possibility of parole. Branded cripples will be like branded cattle. There’s no turning back.

So maybe I should be proactive and issue what the bureaucrats call an RFP (request for proposal). I’ll auction off the advertising expanse of my chest and see if I can get a corporate bidding war going.

I shouldn’t allow myself to take part in such a degrading practice as becoming a human billboard. I have to salvage at least some of my pride. So I think I’ll just turn tricks.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Street Crimes

I don’t know if cripples are more susceptible to street crime or not. All I know is I’ve been a victim of a street crime twice. And the second instance was far more traumatizing than the first.

The first might technically be categorized as a zoo crime by those who keep crime statistics. I was at the zoo with my late wife, Anna. We were checking out the Birds of Prey exhibit. I felt someone bump hard against my wheelchair and then a loud voice said, “EXCUUUUUUUUUUSE ME!”

At the time I had a leather tool bag hanging on the side of my chair, the kind people who work with tools hang on their belts. It was a good receptacle for the things I carried around, like pens and writing pads and a comb and gum and stuff like that.

On this day I got careless and tossed a five-dollar bill in there and there it was as plain as day. A male hand reached in and snatched it. Why he felt obliged to politely and loudly excuse himself before stealing from me I don’t know.

The guy took off running. Being that it was only five bucks, I should have just let it go. But when these things happen, you don’t think straight. You feel so insulted and violated.

So I screamed, “STOP HIM! HE TOOK MY MONEY!! And it just so happened there were two nearby guys who must’ve been professional linebackers because they were big and they were fast. They ran after the perpetrator and were closing in fast when he threw down my money, held up his hands to show they were empty, and ran off. One of the linebackers picked up the five, looked at it and then looked at me with a combination of bewilderment, irritation and pity. All that for a lousy five bucks? The way I was screaming like a little girl with her ponytail caught in the car door, you’d think that guy had snatched the Hope Diamond from my tool bag.

The linebacker returned my recovered funds. The end.

The second street crime occurred in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It unfolded in much the same way, except this was more like an assault.

Our hotel doorman warned Anna to hold on tight to her purse since Bourbon Street is infested with pickpockets and snatchers. So Anna stuffed her purse up under her legs and literally sat on it in her wheelchair.

We rolled down Bourbon Street. A man ran toward us through the crowd. We knew we were his target. It all happened so fast, yet it seemed to happen in slow motion. The man reached toward Anna and we were horrified when we saw what he had in his hand! It was a five-dollar bill! He dropped it in Anna’s lap and took off running.

This heinous crime occurs every day somewhere, but it only happens to cripples so nobody keeps statistics on it.  You’re sitting minding your own business when somebody suddenly drops a buck or two in your lap or some change in your coffee cup. They strike without warning. And before you can say, “Hey, I’m not a beggar, dammit!” they’re gone. And the pain of your victimization is accentuated by the fact that it’s always such a pissy little amount of money. Like scoring some spare change is supposed to make your day!  I’m not saying I’m so pure that I don’t have a price. Maybe if someone dropped three or four grand in my lap, I wouldn’t bitch. I’d swallow my pride for the greater good. But the problem is, no one has ever remotely put me to the test. It’s always a pissy little insulting amount.  I’m hoping someone someday will present me with a real moral challenge.

Being that it was only five bucks, I should have just let it go that night on Bourbon Street. But when these things happen, you don’t think straight. You feel so insulted and violated.

So I screamed “STOP HIM! HE GAVE US MONEY!!” But there were no linebackers this time. The perpetrator disappeared into the crowd.

I still haven’t recovered. I know that sicko is probably still out there somewhere, lurking, biding his time, waiting to similarly assault another unsuspecting cripple.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ask Smart Ass Cripple Volume IV

 The best of the inbox:

Dear SAC,

What was your proudest moment as a cripple?



Dear W,

My proudest moment as a cripple happened when I was in the office of the dentist who removed all four of my wisdom teeth at once.
The dentist leaned down to lift the armrest of his cushy torture chair so I could park my motorized wheelchair smack up against it and he could help me transfer over.  But as I backed my chair into place I heard from behind me a man bellow in pain.
“Ow!! SONUVABIIIIIIITCH!” And then the dentist darted out from behind me, flapping and squeezing his hand and doubling over like he’d smashed his fingers with a hammer.

“Sonuvabitch that hurt!”

It seemed that when I backed in I accidentally mashed his fingers between my tire and his torture chair.  Watching him hop around in pain, I realized I was living the fantasy of millions by putting the hurt on the dentist. I felt especially gratified when, as I later left his office,  there was no one in the waiting room, not even the receptionist.   I pictured  a pack of patients hearing “Sonuvabitch that hurt”coming from the torture room and shooting out of there like the place was on fire, even the receptionist.

Never have I felt more powerful!

Dear Smart Ass,

There's something I'm dying to know. How do blind people keep from brushing their teeth with Preparation H? How do they tell one tube from the next? You're the closest thing I know to a blind person so I thought I'd ask you.

Please help.


Man with Sight

Dear Man with Sight,

Wow, it’s like you can read my mind! I’ve been dying to know the answer to that exact question since I was a wee tot, but always was afraid to ask.

When I ponder this question my mind runs wild with speculation:  Maybe guide dogs are trained to help along these lines—one bark for toothpaste, two barks for Preparation H, three barks for rubber cement. I mean, why not? As dogs go, guide dogs are fucking geniuses.

By stepping forward and asking this question, you gave me the courage to finally do the same, since if blind people call me an insensitive ignoramus I can blame it on you. I sent your question to several blind people. I received this response from Mr. Lynn Manning of Los Angeles, California, which I assume is the official reply on behalf of all blind people everywhere.

The esteemed Mr. Manning writes: “If you can't smell the difference between Prep H and toothpaste, you've got more than a problem with your eyes.”
               -- Blind Man with Nose

Dear Smart Ass Cripple,

I’m delighted to see that you are now the official site of bitter cripples. At last I feel as if I’ve found a home!

But the problem is, whereas I feel like a bitter cripple and enjoy the camaraderie of bitter cripples, I am not now nor have I ever been crippled.

Can I call myself a bitter cripple? Please say yes!

With admiration,

Bitter Cripple Wannabe

Dear Wannabe,

The term bitter cripple does not refer to a physical condition. It is, rather, an advanced state of consciousness. It is an exquisitely indefinable stage of enlightenment that is attained by freeing one’s self from the tyranny of bull shit.

A bitter cripple, essentially, is a cripple who is pissed off about how cripples are treated. There is no single path to becoming a bitter cripple. I view achieving enlightenment (religious or otherwise) in the same way I view achieving orgasm. Who cares how you get there, just so you get there.

However, to truly understand what it means to be a bitter cripple in all its many dimensions, one must actually be crippled. But the good news is the enlightened uncrippled like you can become honorary bitter cripples. All you have to do is convince an actual bitter cripple to bestow that title upon you.

I must warn you though that even being an honorary bitter cripple is a lot of work. Bitter cripples and our allies are on the frontlines of the ongoing War on Bull Shit. The allure of bull shit is relentless. It’s always trying to win you back, always trying to convince you that you shouldn’t be so upset so much. Bull shit wears many disguises. You must be vigilant.

It's much easier to just give up and be a sweet cripple or, even worse, a bittersweet cripple. Being a bitter cripple is a lifelong commitment. It can really wear you down. I hope in my lifetime the forces of bull shit will be vanquished to the point where I can ease up a little and retire to the status of bitter cripple emeritus.