Monday, December 30, 2013

Socially-Responsible Objectification

I’ve been offered a unique opportunity to serve as a beauty pageant judge. I considered the offer thoroughly and decided to accept. I know beauty pageants objectify woman. But this pageant is different. Its underlying purpose is to spread political and social awareness and to raise our collective consciousness about a critical matter of public health and safety.

It’s the first annual Miss Stepped on a Landmine pageant. Contestants are the 50 most beautiful women from all over the world who have stepped on a landmine. Thus, they are all amputees.

The pageant is a bold social experiment. To understand the meaning of it all, ask yourself this: What’s the most effective way to draw attention to something?

Answer: Use hot women. Am I right or am I right? It’s sad but true. It may seem cynical and exploitive to resort to base marketing pandering tactics, but drawing attention to the danger and prevalence of landmines is an urgent issue. Urgent issues require urgent action. Miss Stepped on a Landmine objectifies women for a good cause so that makes it all right. Think of it as a glitzy, two-hour public service announcement.

So the Miss Stepped on a Landmine pageant will attract the attention of millions who never otherwise would have thought twice about landmines. And the personal stories of the contestants put a human face on the issue of landmines and bring it closer to home. Like for instance, Miss Stepped on a Landmine Nebraska stepped on a landmine while shopping at Target. Who knew? The story of Miss Stepped on a Landmine Guam has a particularly tragic irony. She is an arm amputee because she was a cheerleader and she stepped on a landmine while turning cartwheels.

The Miss Stepped on a Landmine pageant also sends a strong message of hope about being crippled. It says that even if you’re crippled you still have a lot to look forward to, if you’re hot. Yes, plenty of opportunity still awaits you if you have gumption and a can-do spirit and you’re hot.

The producers of the Miss Stepped on a Landmine pageant are so confident it will be a big hit that they’re already planning more similar pageants. Next up is a pageant featuring hot women in wheelchairs called Miss Never Jump into the Shallow End of a Pool.  They may also put together pageants to draw attention to less critical but still important matters of public health and safety, such as Miss Went Jogging and Stepped in Doo Doo Because Somebody Didn’t Clean up After Their Dog.

So what the hell. I’m accepting my invitation to be a judge. I want to be a part of this visionary project. It’s not often that a man can spend two hours staring at women in bikinis and still feel good about himself.

(Smart Ass Cripple is completely reader supported. Contributing to the tip jar, purchasing books and subscribing through Amazon Kindle keeps us going. Please help if you can.)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Very Special Holiday Bonus Entry

Dear Readers,

I, Smart Ass Cripple, love and appreciate you so much that I am sharing with you, free of charge, my secret recipe for a new holiday drink I just invented. It was inspired by my desire to find a satisfying holiday drink that is served heated, so as to fortify me in the dark of winter. I wanted it to be something like Irish coffee, except I can’t stand coffee. I love the smell of coffee but I hate the taste. I feel the same way about perfume.

But my quest ended happily when I created my new drink which is sort of like Irish coffee except it isn’t necessarily Irish and doesn’t have to be served heated. Nevertheless, it will make the remainder of your holidays go a lot smoother, especially if you have to put up with bitchy republican relatives.

Anyway, here’s my secret recipe:


1. One bottle of whiskey (does not have to be Irish)

1. Fill a 12-ounce coffee mug with whiskey
2.  Enjoy
3. Repeat


Monday, December 23, 2013

Liza Minnelli Parties on Hallowen

(It is my duty to report that the following story is true, except names were changed to protect the guilty and to make the story funnier.)

Now that Christmas is upon us and spirits are aglow, it’s the perfect time to pass down a true cripple tale about Halloween. This tale was told to me by my longtime cripple friend and comrade, Liza Minnelli (Smart Ass Cripple alias).

Twas Halloween night, many moons ago. Liza Minnelli was but a wee college freshman. She lived in a dorm. Liza Minnelli was truly excited because as everyone knows, dressing up and acting crazy on Halloween is the whole point of going to college.

Liza Minnelli’s Halloween party buddies for the night were her quadriplegic friend, Sylvester Stallone (another Smart Ass Cripple alias) and his girlfriend, Cher (one last Smart Ass Cripple alias). Cher was the lone vert (which is short for vertical, which is slang for a person who can walk). And, being broke-ass college students, they all had to create homemade, no-budget costumes out of whatever they had in their closets and medicine cabinets. So they all dressed as vampires—black clothes, powder in their hair to make it white, black makeup smudged around their eyes, red nail polish streaked near the corners of their mouths to look like dripping blood, plastic fangs.

The big Halloween street party was in the big town, about 15 miles away. So Liza Minnelli and her friends rented one of the campus lift-equipped cripple vans. Sylvester Stallone sat in back in his wheelchair. Liza Minnelli boosted herself up into the front passenger seat and Cher stowed Liza’s wheelchair in back with Sylvester Stallone. Cher drove.

Next our three heroes stopped at a grocery store for munchies. They all got out and shopped. Then they all loaded back into the cripple van and headed for the big party in the big town.

As luck would have it, when they arrived at the big town they found a prime parking spot right near Halloween party central. Liza Minnelli was feeling full of the Halloween spirit. Cher stepped out of the van and opened the side door. And then she said, “Oh shit!” She laughed a nervous that belied the look of embarrassed shock on her face.  “I forgot your wheelchair!” she said to Liza Minnelli. “I must’ve left it in the parking lot of the grocery store!”

Liza Minnelli was panic-stricken! I mean, she couldn’t walk a lick. Never could. What was she supposed to do, walk on her knuckles like an orangutan? So Cher hustled off to find the nearest payphone to call the store. She returned with good news and bad news. The wheelchair was safe and sound. But the store was closing so there was no time to go get it. And even if there was, driving all the way there and back would leave a lot less time to party and that was unacceptable.

So now what? Where could one possibly find a wheelchair on such short notice? They all pondered in silence. And then Sylvester Stallone said, “Hey! How about a hospital?”

What a brilliant idea!

So they set out in search of a hospital, asking pedestrians along the way. And soon, there it was—a big beautiful hospital! They circled the hospital slowly in the cripple van, casing the joint out. And then, as if from the heavens, there appeared through the hospital windows a secluded corridor full of empty wheelchairs! Now was their chance! Cher scooped up Liza Minnelli and carried her into the hospital. She plopped Liza Minnelli down into a wheelchair with an I.V. pole attached and the hospital name stenciled on the back. 
But then they encountered a man wearing scrubs. The man saw the two women dressed like pseudo vampires and said, “Hey, where are you going with that wheelchair? That’s hospital property!”
Cher thought fast! She said, “Oh um, my friend here was just discharged! I’m just taking her to my car.”
Fortunately for Liza Minnelli and Cher, the man in the hospital scrubs was either a) a trusting soul who believed in the innate goodness of all humans or b) busy. Because the man turned and left. So Cher sped out of the hospital with Liza Minnelli in the hot wheelchair, tossed them both into the cripple van, hopped behind the wheel and peeled out.

And so Halloween was saved! Liza Minnelli got to party after all in a hospital wheelchair with an I.V. pole. And the next day she was reunited with her own wheelchair. The hospital wheelchair was never returned. Instead it lived a long and happy life at the dorm. The students found many good uses for it, such as drag racing and toting kegs.

(Smart Ass Cripple is completely reader supported. Contributing to the tip jar, purchasing books and subscribing through Amazon Kindle keeps us going. Please help if you can.)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It Was All Fun and Games Until the Hamster Died

These criplets today, I tell you, they’ve really got it made. They have no idea how lucky they are! They zip around so fast in their fancy power wheelchairs, it’s like they’ve been shot out of a cannon.

They’re so damn pampered. When I was their age, the first power wheelchairs had just come out. And they were powered by hamsters! Yep, welded to each rear axle was a hamster wheel and when I pushed the joystick it administered a small electric shock to the hamsters and they sprinted in place in their hamster wheels, thus spinning the axles and propelling the chair. Compared to these kids today, our chairs were as fast and nimble as a hippopotamus. But I didn’t care! I loved it! I was free as a bird. No more being at the mercy of others to come push me. I could go anywhere any time, just like an adult!

It was all fun and games until the hamster died. When that happened, I experienced my first head butt from a bureaucracy, just like an adult. I was unaware of the infamous Medicaid “three hamster rule” imposed by Congress. This meant Medicaid could pay for no more than three replacement hamsters per person per year. Are you kidding me? A hyper teenager like me could go through three hamsters a week!

Some kids had parents with enough money to buy them a whole shit load of hamsters so when one hamster croaked they could just pop in a spare. But my parents sure as hell weren’t rich like that. Hamsters didn’t grow on trees you know! I fantasized of the day when I’d be rich enough to have my own hamster ranch and I could tell Medicaid to go fuck itself! Or maybe I’d have packs of Iditarod dogs to pull me and my chair around.

But kids like me were stranded when our hamster died.  We were pretty damn desperate so we’d try anything to get rolling again. Some kids tried makeshift measures, like using gerbils instead of hamsters. Gerbils were a lot cheaper, but they didn’t have a hamster’s horsepower. It was so sad to see a kid in a gerbil-powered chair creeping along in slow motion. Everybody could tell that was a poor kid on Medicaid.

There were times when, in order to acquire a new hamster, I had to do some pretty humiliating things. Some adults were willing to hook me up with a new hamster if I participated in degrading acts with them. I had no choice but to submit. Like for instance, a local car dealership organized a “hamster drive” for me. Come to the showroom Saturday and contribute to a poor stranded crippled boy’s hamster fund. And they made a big spectacle out of it, with balloons and clowns and cheerleaders and a marching band. And I sat next to the donation barrel, dressed like an elf. And whenever someone dropped a little something into the barrel, the band struck up a fanfare.

 I’m not proud of it, but back in those days, that’s the kind of thing a criplet like me had to do to keep moving. These criplets today, I swear, they have it so soft.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Calculating Your Crippled Beggar Index Score

You may not be a crippled beggar, but everyone has a Crippled Beggar Index (CBI) score. It doesn’t matter if you are neither crippled nor a beggar. You still have a CBI score and it greatly behooves you to understand and keep track of your CBI score as diligently as you would your credit score. You may think you are way better off than a crippled beggar, but how do you know for sure?You CBI score is the best indicator of how close you are to being in the same boat with all the crippled beggars you pass on the street.  You may be closer than you think.

Here is the first equation to understand when calculating your CBI score:

CBI = B<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<C.

In other words, this is the old cliché “beggars can’t be choosers,” expressed in mathematical terms.   Because the most accurate way to measure beggars is to measure their lack of options. Beggars, be they crippled or not, are people who have to settle for whatever old shit comes their way because they don’t have much choice. They have no negotiating leverage. If we give them a cup of instant coffee, they don’t have much hope of haggling cream and sugar out of us. This is why no one wants to be a “charity case,” which is another word for beggar.

So, in our equation, B = beggar and C = chooser. Calculating your CBI tells you where you lie on the slippery spectrum between B and C. But before you can determine this, first you have to solve for B, which is done using this equation:

B = PPL+G.

PPL = political powerlessness, which is another word for lack of options. So to determine your PPL factor, ask yourself how much you have to settle for any old shit that comes your way because you don’t have much choice. So as you can see, you don’t have to be crippled to be quite politically powerless, though it certainly helps. Suppose you work at Burger Barn making minimum fucking wage. Suppose that instead of giving you a damn pay raise, they make you Employee of the Month. This gives you a PPL factor close to that of a crippled beggar. Children automatically have higher a PPL factor. As a matter of fact, the further you are from being a wealthy, white, Christian, hetero, uncrippled male, the higher your PPL factor.

Based on this assessment, assign yourself a numeric PPL factor using a scale of one to 10, with 10 being that of a crippled beggar. Next, you must determine your personal G factor. G = gratitude. You calculate the value of G by asking yourself how much you have to not just settle for any old shit that comes your way but also act grateful that you got whatever old shit you got. If Trump flips you a quarter from the back window of his limo, how compelled do you feel to praise him for fear that if you don’t he won’t do it again and then you’re really fucked? How effusive is your Employee of the Month acceptance speech? The more grateful you have to act, the higher your G factor. The higher your G factor, the closer you are to being just like the most pathetic crippled beggars.

Based on this assessment, assign yourself a numeric G factor using the same scale. Then add it to your PPL factor to determine your CBI score. The higher you CBI score, the closer you are to the crippled beggars.

And there you have it! I bet you have a lot more in common with crippled beggars than you thought, eh? I know I do. But if not, check back again soon. Things can change fast.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

He's Deaf and Blind and He Solves Crimes!

You can learn a lot about cripples just by watching television. For instance, even I, who thought he knew everything there is to know about cripples, never knew there are so many cripples who go around solving crimes. I’ve never met any such cripples, but apparently there are a bunch of them out there because there has been a bunch of television shows about cripples who go around solving crimes. And the people who write and produce television shows would never make stuff like that up.

There’s a new show this season about a guy in a wheelchair who goes around solving crimes. And before that there was a show about a deaf woman who goes around solving crimes. And before that there was a show about a guy with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who goes around solving crimes. And long before any of those shows there was another show about a guy in a wheelchair who goes around solving crimes, from which the current show about the guy in a wheelchair who goes around solving crimes is derived.

And premiering soon on TBS (Total Bull Shit) is the newest riff on the cripple-crime-solver genre. The protagonist has Usher Syndrome, which means he is not only in a wheelchair but he is also deaf and blind! But none of this stops him from pursuing his passion of going around solving crimes. And like all those other cripple shows, I’m sure it must be a totally true story based on a real live person.

The title of the show is Maloney, which is the name of the lead character, a caustic and brooding but brilliant detective. And his crippledness is what makes him such a great detective. Because, like all people who are deaf and blind, he may not be able to see and hear but he is acutely sensitive to auras.  Put Maloney in a room with a suspect and he will soon know if the suspect is guilty just by absorbing their aura. Maloney’s signature catch phrase is, “Auras never lie.”

And also, like all people who are deaf and blind, Maloney’s three functioning senses are greatly heightened. For instance, Maloney’s taste buds are so sharp that he can literally taste DNA. In the pilot episode, Maloney licks a gun found at the scene of a homicide. Then he licks a suspect and declares that the DNA matches perfectly.

Maloney’s constant companion is Maria, his sassy Puerto Rican nurse/assistant. Like all real live Puerto Rican women, she’s a judo expert, which comes in handy since she also serves as Maloney’s de facto bodyguard. Her judo skills are on full display in episode 4, when the vicious killer from the pilot episode escapes from prison and vows revenge on Maloney for sending him up the river. The psychopath hunts Maloney down and gleefully says, “Now it’s your turn to take a lickin’, Maloney!”  Just then Maria returns from her dojo in a nick of time and subdues the maniac with a scoop throw.

Anyway, I’m happy that all my cripple comrades who go around solving crimes are finally getting the recognition they deserve. And I’m happy for all the sassy Puerto Rican women who are judo experts, too.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Body Shame

I’m finally ready to answer the FAQ I receive most often. Up until now, it was a topic that was just too painful to discuss. But I believe enough time has passed and enough healing has occurred.

The FAQ I receive most often is: “Smart Ass Cripple, can you please tell me why you have a giant tattoo on your back that looks sort of like a cubist rendition of the bust of John Quincy Adams?”

Okay, here goes. (Deep breath): It all began on a bright, glorious summer morning. I went to a cripple pride parade and there were floats and marching bands and cripples of all shapes and sizes and races and creeds. I heard rousing speeches about the many great things cripples have achieved and I felt so proud and righteous!

So I decided to keep celebrating after the parade. I remember taking a public transit bus to a bar and I remember ordering a bunch of boilermakers.

And all I remember after that was waking up and feeling like my back had been sandpapered. So I took a selfie picture over my shoulder of my back in the mirror and holy shit! A tattoo! But my tattoo was just a bunch of words. Paragraphs.  The first line of the tattoo began at the top of my left shoulder blade. It read: Part B - Actions Applicable to Public Transportation Provided by Public Entities Considered Discriminatory. And the second line read: Subpart I - Public Transportation Other than by Aircraft or Certain Rail Operations. And so on and so on my tattoo continued across the hairy expanse of my back until it abruptly ended with: As used in subsection (a) of this section, the term "discrimination" includes…

In the harsh light of sobriety, I slowly began to realize what I had done. Tattooed on my back was Title II, Part B of the Americans with Disabilities Act! A vague memory appeared in the fog of recollection. I was at the bar clinking glasses with the guy next to me who was also drinking boilermakers. And I told him I came to the bar on a bus and that wouldn’t have been possible 20 years ago because none of the fucking buses were accessible back then but then cripples got together and made noise so the ADA was passed and Title II, Part B requires public transit to be accessible, dammit! So we toasted Title II, Part B and clinked glasses. And then I asked him what he did for a living and he said he was a tattoo artist.

Double holy shit! I guess the drunken tattoo artist only got as far as: As used in subsection (a) of this section, the term "discrimination" includes… before he also passed out.

My tattoo cast me into a raging undertow of body shame. I’ve heard plenty of cripples lament how body shame weighs them down. They wear baggy clothes and expensive prosthetics in an attempt to hide their funny-looking bodies.

Somehow I’d managed to avoid succumbing to that particular shame trap, in spite of my funny-looking body. But now I understood what these shame-ladened cripples were talking about. After waking up with Title II, Part B tattooed on my back, I avoided being shirtless at all costs.

But then, I glimpsed a ray of hope. I saw a TV show where a tattoo artist transforms your pitiful, drunken-stupor mistake tattoo into an angel or a butterfly or something nice. So I tracked down one of those guys and showed him my back. No problem, he said. He could transform my Title II, Part B tattoo into hula girls and palm trees. So I gave him a bucketful of cash and told him to have at it. But when he finished, my new tattoo didn’t look like hula girls and palm trees at all. It looked more like sort of a cubist rendition of the bust of John Quincy Adams. The guy insisted it looked just like hula girls and palm trees if you viewed it in the right light.

But I’m rising above the body shame. I go around shirtless if I feel like it, even if it means enduring constant stares and questions.

What is the moral of this story? I have no fucking idea. But whatever it is, take heed.