Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Enduring Career of Godzilla

A monster becomes a monster when it transcends the categorizing constraints of binomial nomenclature. When creating a monster, it’s very important to keep this in mind if you want to avoid the kind of political controversy that can ruin a monster’s career.

Because monsters are villains and if a villain can be even remotely identified as being a symbol of any specific genus and/or species, sooner or later some group of noble humans will rise up to defend reputation of that genus and/or species or subcategory within. They will say this genus and/or species or subcategory within is being unfairly demonized because they bear a resemblance the villain. These noble humans will picket and boycott and demonize the demon for being a demonizer.

This is why Godzilla’s career endures. Godzilla is the perfect timeless monster/villain. No one can accuse it of being a maligning stereotype of any living thing because what the hell is it? It’s this lizardish thing. You can’t even tell if it’s a boy or a girl. It can’t be a boy because if it was a boy it would have a wanger about 20 feet long, swinging to and fro with enough force to demolish the Chrysler Building. What a way to go that would be, eh? You’re looking out of your office window in the Chrysler Building and there’s Godzilla’s 20-foot wanger coming straight at you like a wrecking ball.

Godzilla doesn’t have a vagina either. And that’s a shrewd move because if it did have a vagina it would be picketed and boycotted for insinuating that females are demons. So a timeless monster /villain also must have no genitalia or any sexually identifying characteristics. It must be a genderless “it” like Godzilla.

A timeless monster/villain must display no identifying racial or ethnic characteristics either. Godzilla also passes this test. It does not look Jewish or Asian or Anglo or anything other than lizardish.

So thank God for Godzilla. Because humans need monsters/villains. Monsters/villains provide a very therapeutic, tension-relieving service for humans. They give us something to blame. They make evil concrete. And because Godzilla is so uncategorizable, it can be whatever giant threat to civilization the paying customer privately fantasizes it to be. It can be a giant evil republican or a giant evil drag queen or a giant evil Hillary or a giant evil chronically unemployed welfare mooch driving around in a Mercedes. It can even be a giant cripple, although a giant cripple wouldn’t have to stomp a metropolis into kindling in order to instill terror into ordinary citizens. Fear of cripples is more of an existential fear. Cripples don’t have to do anything to scare people. We just have to be. We are symbols of vulnerability and nothing sends chills through the ordinary citizens more than that. So a giant cripple would only have to sit there looming on the horizon, an ever-present buzzkill blotting out the sun. This would be provocation enough for NATO to nuke the giant cripple.

And in the end, when Godzilla is vanquished, every paying customer of every political or sexual or ethnic persuasion can stand and cheer side by side because whatever evil they perceive Godzilla to be has also been vanquished! But deep in our hearts we know it’s not the end. We know there will surely be a remake.

Someday soon though somebody may picket and boycott Godzilla. Because Godzilla is decidedly reptilian. And there are lots of people who think reptiles get a lot of undeserved shitty press. They say snakes are so smart that they can do calculus and shit. They say iguanas are so kind and gentle they can babysit your kids. So then Godzilla will receive a radical makeover to the point where it will lose all its meaning.

(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.)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Service Dog in Action

I have to admit that I’m skeptical when I see a wheelchair cripple with a service dog. I can certainly understand what dogs do for blind people. Dogs perform essential services that help blind people live a high quality of life, like making sure they don’t get hit by a bus.

But when I see a cripple in a wheelchair with a service dog, I often ask that cripple what services the dog performs. I ask because often I’d like to be able to assert my crippledness so I can take my two dogs places where no dogs are allowed. But what happens if the proprietor asks me to demonstrate whatever service the dogs perform for me? About the only useful thing they do is clean up after I eat by gobbling up whatever scraps I drop on the floor.

But when I ask wheelchair cripples what their dogs do, I usually get one of two answers. The first answer is something like, “My dog is an emotional support animal. He/she calms me down and makes me happy.” But isn’t that why everybody who has a dog has a dog? So I don’t know if that will wash with most proprietors. Emotional support dog is a redundant term.

Or sometimes wheelchair cripples tell me their service dogs perform heroic feats that make Lassie look like a puss. These wheelchair cripples tell me something like, “My dog knows when I’m about to have a seizure. So he/she knocks me out of my wheelchair and pins me down like a wrestler until it’s over.”

But that wouldn’t work for me either. First off, my dogs are little Chihuahua/dachshunds. It would take about ten of them to pin me down. And if I had a seizure my dogs would probably just freak out and run away. Either that or they’d think it was some fun new game and they’d giddily prance around in circles.

But recently I was with this wheelchair cripple who had a service dog. This guy wore a flannel shirt and he had a round belly and long beard. He was the jovial-lumberjack type. So just as I asked this guy what service his service dog does for him, a woman passed by and said, “Oooh look at that dog. He’s sooooo cuuuute! Can I pet him?” And as the woman pet the dog, the lumberjack cripple shot me a sly look and said, “That’s what my dog does for me.”

Whoa! There you go! His service dog attracts women for him! And hell, my dogs can perform that service easy. They do it every day. If a proprietor insists that my dogs demonstrate the service they perform, it’ll be just a matter of minutes before a woman comes by and says, “Oooh look at those dogs! They’re sooooo cuuuute! Can I pet them?”

And the proprietor would have to let me in. Because who can deny that this is an essential service that helps cripples (or anybody else) live a high quality of life?

(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.)

Monday, May 12, 2014

I Don’t Want to be Blamed for the Unsustainable Trajectory of America’s Entitlements.

Soon you might see a picture of me out there on the internet where I’m wrapped up in bandages like a mummy and I’m in traction. Don’t be alarmed. I’m just trying to cover my ass. I don’t want to be blamed for the unsustainable trajectory of America’s entitlements.

Because apparently there is this shadowy entity known as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care & Entitlements. That’s a helluva mouthful, ain’t it? I guess their acronym is HCOGRSEPHCE. But one of the duties of HCOGRSEPHCE, according to its mission statement, is “oversight of the … issues pertaining to the unsustainable trajectory of America’s entitlements, including Medicare, Medicaid and federal disability programs.” So that means part of their jobs is to root out scammers who are trying to score free checks by pretending to be crippled.

Well hell, if HCOGRSEPHCE wants to find fake cripples, they ought to investigate those television commercials of ambulance-chaser lawyers. Notice how the cripples in those commercials never look the least bit crippled. But yet they brag about the fat settlements they got. You never see a real cripple in a wheelchair in those commercials or even a cripple missing a limb. I bet if HCOGRSEPHCE looked into it, they’d find that the cripples in those commercials are really just actors!

But instead, some members of the subcommittee have put forth legislation that would allow Social Security employees to examine social media profiles of those applying for or receiving cripple benefits to help determine whether they are really crippled.


I know where they got that idea. There were those big headlines a few months back about the New York City cops and firefighters who were arrested and charged with pretending to be emotionally crippled by the 9/11 attacks so that they could collect Social Security checks. And part of the evidence against one of them was a Facebook photo of him giving the finger while riding a jet ski.

And I thought oh hell! I never suspected that giving the finger could be used as evidence that you’re not crippled, unless you claim that what qualifies you as crippled is that you’re missing your middle finger.

I’m really screwed now! And I never suspected that being out doing something fun could also be used to cast doubt upon the authenticity of one’s crippledness.

So I can’t be too careful. Not with HCOGRSEPHCE standing guard. I’ve got to destroy all potentially incriminating pictures of me enjoying myself or flipping the bird, just in case we’re reverting back to the old fashioned calculation for determining crippledness: Crippled = homebound + miserable. The mummy in traction photo will serve as my headshot and my profile picture and the official record of my state of being. I don’t want there to be any public pictures of me doing anything Tiny Tim wouldn’t do.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Smart Ass Cripple’s Image Laundry

Often people come up to me on the street and they say, “Hey Smart Ass Cripple, do you have any regrets about being a poster child?” And my answer is oh hell yeah!

In retrospect, I realize now that I should have never consented to being paraded around as a symbol of urgent crisis without first hiring an agent. With a high-powered agent, I could have made a bundle!

I was young at the time, like still in single digits, so I had no idea that my boney little crippled ass was sitting on a goldmine. The precious commodity I possessed was my immense adorability. It was worth so much and I just gave it away, dammit! The cripple charity could never have raised anywhere near as much without the help of my adorability. So I should have had an agent to demand my cut. I’m well aware of the law of supply and demand. I know that if I withheld my adorability, some scab poster cripple may well have crossed my picket line and stolen my spotlight. But maybe not, because my crippled sister and I were a poster child team. We were a one-two punch of adorability, enough to intoxicate even the most calloused libertarian into opening his/her wallet. If my sister and I held out together, we could have had a huge payday.

Fifty years later I’m still adorable, but in much more subtle ways. It’s not the kind of adorability I can parlay into a lucrative career. But I have faith that I can still cash in on my crippledness. My spirit is buoyed every time someone famous says something insulting about gay people or women or Native Americans or whomever and it stirs media outrage. I know that sooner or later someone famous will say something that insults cripples. It’s happened before. When Rahm Emanuel was White House chief of staff, he got in trouble when it was reported that he referred to some democrats who disagreed with him as “fucking retarded.”

So Rahm did as all offending parties in this situation do. He set out in search of members of the offended party, which in this case was cripples, to buddy up with. It’s the same reason republicans show up at Martin Luther King events. I swear if I organized a Martin Luther King event I would make republicans pay a fortune to attend. Because here they are wanting to disassociate themselves from all things racist and bigoted, but they also want to continue to be republicans. That’s an awful lot to ask for, but okay. We can play along. But it will cost you a fortune.

So I’m excited to announce that Smart Ass Cripple’s Image Laundry is now open for business! The next time a famous person insults cripples, send them my way. I’ll buddy up with them for a photo op and clean their image up reeeeeeeal good. If need be, I’ll even subcontract a wide variety of other cripples to join in.

I’ll charge a bundle because that type of redemption is invaluable. It’s almost as valuable as my long-lost adorability.