Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An Essay Comparing and Contrasting Cripples and Spiders

People are afraid of spiders for the same reason they’re afraid of cripples. They think they’re ugly.

It’s silly to be scared of spiders. Most spiders pose no physical threat. A very tiny percentage of the vast population of spiders is venomous and lethal.

The same is true of cripples.

Contact with a spider will not turn you into a spider, not even if it bites you. Spider Man is fiction.

 The same is true of cripples.

When suddenly confronted by ugly spiders, humans have historically reacted by a) running the other way b) trying to kill the ugly spiders (which is what my dog does) c) studying the spiders and writing research papers about their behavior and mating habits. Coincidentally, humans have historically reacted in the exact same manner when suddenly confronted by an ugly cripple. However, in addition, human have also tried to round up all the ugly cripples and lock them away out of sight and out of mind. Humans have never done this to spiders.

Humans fail to realize that all the ugly spider eradication strategies do not work. Humans can win the battle against ugliness, but they can’t win the war. You can stomp an ugly spider to a pulp, but soon there will be more.

The same is true of cripples.

Humans who are afraid of spiders are incapable of understanding the perspective of the spider. Imagine how scared the spider is of you. You’re 900 feet tall! Imagine how terrifyingly ugly you look to the spider.

Cripples feel the same way.

There is, however, a fundamental difference between cripples and spiders. Spiders lack self-awareness whereas cripples, or at least most of them, do not. Consequently, spiders have no idea how ugly humans think they are. Thus, the spider has no concept of the power of its ugliness.  But at some point every cripple becomes aware of how ugly some people think they are. This gives the cripple the distinct edge over the spider because when this moment of chilling awareness occurs, the shrewd cripple can see how to use his/her ugliness to their advantage. Many cripples waste this opportunity.  Some go into self-exile so as to spare themselves and others the pain of future encounters. Some try hard to become more aesthetically pleasing. (Would spiders do this, even if they could? Would spiders put on wigs and makeup and jewelry and prosthetics just to put humans more at ease?  I suppose they might, if they thought it might save their save their lives.)

But some cripples stand their ground. And they remain as unflinchingly ugly as anybody wants them to be. And they laugh at the absurdity of it all. And they plant their flag. And they stake their claim to wherever and whatever they are. And the shrewdest cripples use their ugliness to extract political concessions. They show up at the country club. And they won’t go away until their demands are met. They know their ugliness is what gives them the power to make demands.

These are the cripples most fit to survive and thrive and to propagate the species.