Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Oh the Poor Idiots

Okay so I think I finally have it straight as to the whole moron vs. imbecile vs. idiot thing. That’s how we used to officially refer to people with the lowest IQs. Or at least that’s how some people with really high IQs decided we all should officially refer to people with the lowest IQs.

After some refresher research I confirmed that the morons were on top because they had the highest IQs of those with the lowest IQs. The imbeciles were in the middle and the idiots were the lowest of the low. I always figured the morons were on top. Of  all those names, moron sounds most scholarly. It’s the only one that sounds vaguely redeemable. 

So from now on I will keep the former hierarchy of the low IQed straight in my mind by drawing upon a Three Stooges analogy: Moe = Moron, Larry = Imbecile, Curly = Idiot.

But I feel sorry for the poor idiots because I wonder where they turned when they were desperately in need of a boost of self-esteem. To whom could they feel smugly superior? This is probably the most popular survival mechanism of the oppressed and shat upon. When you’re sick of being oppressed and shat upon, you retaliate by seeking a population you can in turn look down on. And then you feel better knowing that there’s someone even more lowly than you. Now your task becomes making sure those people stay in that receded position because they are all that stands between you and the bottom. 

To illustrate this power dynamic, let us turn again to the Three Stooges. There’s a recurring Stooges scene where an authority figure slaps Moe. Moe is humiliated and retaliates by turning around and slapping Larry. Larry is humiliated and retaliates by turning around and slapping Curly. Curly is humiliated and retaliates by turning around and---.But there’s no one left to slap. Curly must own his humiliation.

That’s how the idiots must have felt. Because cripples play that slapping game as well as anybody. The cripples who can walk say, “Well at least I’m not in a wheelchair.” And the cripples in wheelchairs say, “Well at least I have all my limbs.” And the cripples who don’t have all their limbs say, “Well at least I’m not blind.” And all these cripples say, “Well at least there’s nothing wrong with our brains.”

So I’m sure the morons said, “Well at least we’re not imbeciles.” And I’m sure the imbeciles responded by saying, “Well at least we’re not idiots.” How did the idiots respond? There was no one left to slap. Maybe that’s how they became extinct.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Simulated Cripples

It’s hard to believe that nearly a year has passed since the president of these great United States of America issued an executive order designating every December as Smartass Cripple Appreciation Month (SCAM).The executive order issues a clarion call for “government agencies, community organizations, schools, museums, cultural entities, institutes of higher learning, houses of worship and ordinary citizens to organize displays, parades, exhibits, school assemblies and other events that honor Smartass Cripple.”

SCAM means a lot to me because I have a severe case of attention deficit disorder. I can never get enough attention. I’m ragingly insecure. I need constant reaffirmation.

It’s not too late to put together a SCAM event in your town.  You can organize a fun group activity that appropriately celebrates Smart Ass Cripple, such as a parade or an orgy.  (Please invite me to the latter.) Or, taking up a collection for Smartass Cripple is always a good idea. Since it’s the holiday season, I suggest you dress like Santa Claus and stand outside of stores ringing a bell with one hand and shaking a red donation kettle with the other hand. And send all proceeds to Smartass Cripple.

But there is one SCAM activity that is absolutely forbidden. You MAY NOT under any circumstances do one of those “awareness building”  cripple simulation exercises where people who aren’t crippled learn what it’s like to be crippled by spending an afternoon riding around in a wheelchair or wearing a blindfold or something. God those things are annoying. The lesson they teach is, “Geez, being crippled sucks! I’m sure glad I’m not.”

But I see news stories about these simulations going on all the time. The mayor accepts a challenge to go about his daily business while wearing ear plugs or with one arm tied behind his back. But I don’t get it. Why doesn’t anyone ever challenge the mayor to run around city hall dressed in drag so he’ll know how it feels to be a woman?

I guess I know how it feels to be homeless because I was homeless myself one afternoon. It was awful! Rahnee and I had to check out of our hotel at noon and our flight didn’t leave until 7! So there we were, alone on the mean streets of downtown Philadelphia with nothing but our cash and credit cards. I followed Rahnee as she sought refuge in a nearby nail salon. Being homeless sucks!

Those cripple simulations capture the full intensity of being crippled like playing the board game Clue captures the full intensity of being a homicide detective. It ain't Colonel Mustard politely committing murders in the parlor using a candlestick. It’s more like the junkie behind the liquor store with a shank.

So, to recap: Parades? Check! Orgies? Check check!  Taking up collections? Check check check!

Cripple simulations? Hell no!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Persistent Vegetative State

I, Smart Ass Cripple, wish to publicly declare that if I am ever in a persistent vegetative state, I do not want to continue on. Please pull the plug.

I’ve seen people in persistent vegetative states who try to keep on going. It’s a sad and depressing sight. I would never want to live that way. And I know it would be heartbreaking for my loved ones to see me in such condition.

And now, I, Smart Ass Cripple, wish to publicly declare how I define a persistent vegetative state. I know that it is characterized by a total lack of brain function. But beyond that, I can only define it the same way former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart defined pornography: “I know it when I see it.” And I, Smart Ass Cripple, see people I consider to be in a persistent vegetative state when I watch the Republican National Convention.  Especially disturbing to behold are those who actually try to draw attention to the fact that they are attending the Republican National Convention.  They dress up like Uncle Sam, accessorized with a bullet sash and assault rifle. They get revved up with joy and hoot and howl like a tasered moose. It takes a lot to stand out in an endless sea of white people.

As I watch this spectacle in horror, I have to remind myself that in spite of our differences, we are all humans and every living human contributes something of value to life on earth. If nothing else, we all exhale carbon dioxide, which is good for plants. But then I wonder if the steady decline in brain function that plunges one into this state of being eventually reaches the point where that person drifts across the line into planthood and begins exhaling oxygen and ingesting carbon dioxide. As I watch these frenzied conventioneers dancing with glee in a blizzard of red, white and blue confetti, I figure this must be the case. There’s no other explanation.

This is what I mean by a persistent vegetative state. It’s tragic.

I pray with all my might that I will never find myself in this persistent vegetative state. But you never know for sure.  Here in Chicago, there are these evil machines all over town called red light cameras. If you turn right on red without coming to a complete stop it snaps your car’s picture and in the mail you receive a ticket for $100. Fascist bastards!  They’ve stuck me for $300 so far! It’s enough to make me want to join a survivalist militia. But then I come to my senses.

But maybe someday I’ll crack. First, I’ll make a star-spangled, stovepipe hat out of cardboard. And before I know it, I’ll find myself on the convention floor.

If that happens, please have mercy and smother me.  I would never want to live that way.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Home of the Midgets, Part II

 (Smart Ass Cripple Disclaimer: Once again it is my sad duty to report that the following story is true.)

Some people will track the beginning of the collapse of American society to a cataclysmic event that occurred in  December 2012 in Cranston, Rhode Island. It was the day Michelle “Chelley” Martinka went grocery shopping.

Chelley came across a jar of Cains brand pickles called kosher dill midgets. This disturbed her. Her eight-month-old daughter,  Adelaide, had recently been diagnosed with Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism.

So Chelley made a video and put it on YouTube. It’s more or less an open letter to the distributor of the pickles. Over a montage of pictures of Adelaide, she gently but firmly explains that a lot of little people think the word midget is deeply offensive. About a month later, she was contacted by a representative from Gedney Foods, the distributor of the pickles, who informed her that the word midget would be dropped from future labels.

The news spread fast through a lot of media outlets.  Chelley wrote about her pickle adventure on her blog.  Here’s a small sample of the hate mail comments her action inspired:

Idiot A: Dwarfism is genetic. She should be mad at herself and the child's father....not a pickle company.

Idiot B:  It scares me that this type of hyper-political correctness is threatening our First Amendment right to free speech… Let me enjoy my pickles with the original name printed on them. ..You are an unbelievably pompous ass. .. The truth is, you’ve been dealt a card you’re not comfortable dealing with and the shame lies within you about your daughter. You’re the one who is small.  Shame on you.

Idiot C: Maybe you shouldn’t have been shooting herion (sic) during your pregnancy… Where’s the dad? Do you even know him? By the looks of it ET is the dad.

Chelley says someone even tracked down her street address and sent a scornful (and anonymous, of course) letter to her home. “It was amazing,” she says about all vitriol. “At first I cried a little bit and then I said ‘This is dumb.’ People are reacting from behind a screen. It feels like bullying. Adult bullying.”

But Gary Arnold, president of Little People of America,  has Chelley’s back. His letter of inquiry to the U.S. Department of Agriculture prompted a review of what the agency calls its Commercial Item Descriptions for food products. USDA discovered  that the term midget is one of its official description categories not just for certain pickles but also for shelled pecans, canned lima beans, processed raisins, canned mushrooms and trail mix. Arnold has received assurance from the FDA that this language will be updated soon.

So the idiots better hurry before all is lost.  They need to organize and launch a campaign to pressure the USDA to stand up for traditional family values and retain the word midget. Like Idiot B says, if they can’t call their favorite pickles midgets anymore, they just won’t taste the same.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Home of the Midgets

(Smart Ass Cripple Disclaimer: It is my sad duty to report that the following story is true.)

I used to say that one good thing cripples have on other oppressed minorities is that nobody names sports teams after caricatures of us. You never see the Seattle Spastics, the Pittsburgh Palsies or the Detroit Droolers.

But I was sooooooooooooooooooooooooo wrong!

Gary Arnold is president of Little People of America. One of his duties is to vigilantly monitor the use of the word midget in our culture. A lot of little people consider midget to be a slur. It doesn’t matter why. They just do, okay? That ought to be good enough.

Keeping track of how cavalierly we throw that word around is a big job. “Every day I get a Google alert for the word midget,” Arnold says. And every day between two and 10 references pop up. Some of the references are about Penn State assistant football coach Anthony Midget. But most of the rest are about the midget classification in Pop Warner football.

And a few years back, Arnold got an email from a Midwest mom who said her local high school football team was named the Midgets. “She said she hopes by the time her kid goes to high school that name will be gone.”

So Arnold and an LPA colleague did some research and found seven U.S. high school teams called the Midgets. And yes, they were all in small towns. It seems like there’s some sort of David and Goliath overcompensation syndrome going on. We’re small but we’re mighty, dammit!

 Arnold wrote a letter of complaint to the school boards in all those places. Most ignored him. Arnold and his colleague were invited to Freeburg, Illinois to visit Freeburg High School, home of the Midgets. They were received cordially. But as far as Arnold knows, none of the schools have dropped the Midget name.

Some people get pretty irate when you try to take their “m” word away. The sports teams at Dickinson High School in Dickinson, North Dakota are called the Midgets. In 1996, the Dickinson school board voted to drop that name. This riled the locals so much that three board members were recalled and the name was restored.

I don’t get it. There are a lot of different ways these schools could keep the small but mighty thing while losing the midget thing. If they want to promote that whole David concept how about this for a team name: the Davids. It’s simple and direct. Or why not the Mosquitoes? Mosquitoes are small and mighty, especially the ones that spread malaria. The team logo could be a pissed off mosquito that’s morbidly obese because it’s full of malaria. But even the regular old American mosquito is a pain in the ass. I tried to meditate once. I was sitting by a lake and all was quiet and peaceful. So I tried to close my eyes for five minutes and just be in the moment. But I couldn’t do it for more than five seconds because I kept getting buzzed by fucking mosquitoes!

 It looks like it will take a lot more than letters to bust this thing. Arnold will probably have to marshal up a couple hundred little people to chain themselves to the turnstiles at high school football and basketball games. And in response, governors will probably send in the National Guard.

And it’s not just in small towns or at Pop Warner games. The word midget is batted around like a beach ball even in the highest levels of the U.S. government!

More on that is coming up next time in part two of Home of the Midgets.

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