Monday, December 29, 2014

Slow Handicapped Child

I saw a sign on a quiet, suburban residential street that said Slow Handicapped Child. And that sign makes me wonder a lot of things. It’s like my blind friend who has a sign on her street that says Blind Person Area. The sign wasn’t her idea. Her mother arranged to have it put up, much to my blind friend’s embarrassment. But I wonder if there are more accidents on that block than on any other block because of that sign. Because if I was driving and I saw that sign I’d envision a blind person suddenly staggering into the street like a drunken Helen Keller so I’d slam on the brakes as a precautionary measure and probably get rear-ended. So I wonder if people freak out similarly when they see that Slow Handicapped Child sign. Or maybe they’re not sure what hell they’re supposed to do when they see a sign like that, just like no one knows what they’re supposed to do when they see those obnoxious Baby on Board signs: “Damn! I was going to randomly smash into that car but now I can't because there’s a baby on board!” Or remember when the government had that stupid color-coded terrorist threat warning system? I don’t think the threat level was ever anything other than orange but what if it ever switched to red? What the hell were we all supposed to do then? “Uh oh it’s red! That means I have to immediately….. um…….” But anyway, I wonder if the word Slow on the Slow Handicapped Child sign is intended to be an adjective referring to the Handicapped Child rather than an admonition of how to operate motor vehicles in his/her vicinity. And if so, was this Handicapped Child physically slow or mentally slow? Because when I was a criplet at cripple elementary school there were kids that were officially referred to as “slow.” But those were only the kids that were mentally “slow.” I mean, physically, I was slow as hell but nobody ever officially referred to me as slow. And nobody uses the word handicapped anymore so I wonder if the Slow Handicapped Child sign is really old and maybe the Child isn’t a child anymore. So then shouldn’t the sign be updated to read Slow Handicapped Adult? But in that case, would anyone still bother to slow down? And I wonder how one goes about getting a sign put up that says Slow Handicapped Child or Blind Person Area. If you want to get a sign put up that says Stop or Yield, I imagine you call City Hall and they have a bunch of those signs lying around in a warehouse somewhere. But there’s probably not much call for signs that say Slow Handicapped Child or Blind Person Area. That sounds like a custom-made order. Signs like that are probably made by either a) prison inmates or b) cripples in a sheltered workshop. They make a lot of license plates in those places so why not signs? Maybe the signs that say Slow Handicapped Child are made by other people who are “slow” and “handicapped.” How ironic would that be?

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Poker Chip in my Brain

When I discovered the Miracle Bidet it forever changed my life, but not in the way I expected.

The Miracle Bidet is an incredible machine that enables even the most crippled up person to wipe their own butt by simply harnessing the power of positive thinking. All you have to do is have a Miracle Bidet installed in your toilet and a computer chip implanted in your brain. Then, after doing your duty, you just focus your thoughts on the clean up and the computer chip transmits your brain waves to the sensor on the state-of-the-art bidet, triggering it to deliver a refreshing squirt of warm water to the desired region. It’s like magic!

The Miracle Bidet is the brain child of the Italian inventor Luigi Toro Merda. He said the inspiration for the Miracle Bidet came from none other than Professor Stephen Hawking. In an interview with Rolling Stoned, Toro Merda said, “I saw a documentary about this accomplished man and I said to myself, ‘There is only one thing missing in his life.’ Right then I vowed to create an invention that would empower him and others like him to do the one thing that, in spite of all the obstacles he had overcome, he still could not do. In other words, I would make him whole.”

So when word came out recently that the Miracle Bidet was ready for human trials, I eagerly and immediately signed up to be a guinea pig. I admit my motivation was strictly monetary. I was looking for a lucrative endorsement deal. My grandiose dream was to become the official spokesperson or, if you will, the face of the Miracle Bidet. If the Miracle Bidet worked for me, a guy who hasn’t wiped his own butt in more than 40 years, it could work for anyone! What an inspiring story of hope and of dignity restored that would be, like the crippled man who suddenly walks or the blind man who suddenly sees. Hell, they might even make my story into a Disney movie!

So first doctors implanted the computer chip in my brain. Two weeks later, after I fully recovered from that procedure, I attached a Miracle Bidet to my toilet and took my maiden dump. A camera was also installed in my bathroom so that back at mission control in Houston, the Miracle Bidet product research team could watch me on the giant screen as I did my business. When clean up time came, I took a deep breath to center myself. I focused my thoughts. I issued the telepathic command.


And it worked!


It worked again! Success! Rejoice! I pictured the boys at mission control throwing their papers in the air, hugging each other and popping open champagne!

But then things really got weird. What happened to me was even more miraculous than I imagined. Because I soon learned that I was part of the product test control group. That meant the surgeon had slipped me a placebo. It wasn’t a computer chip they implanted in my brain at all. It was just a poker chip! But yet I still operated the Miracle Bidet. How? Through the sheer power of desire!

This has altered my whole perspective on life. It used to be that nobody grated on my last nerve more than those cripples who preach the gospel of will power. They offer themselves as living examples of how anyone can overcome any obstacle and achieve anything if they put their mind and heart into it enough. It used to make me think, “Oh yeah? Try jumping out of the window and flapping your arms. You won’t fly, no matter how much you want to.”

But now I see that those cripples were right all along! If I can operate the Miracle Bidet using only my dogged determination, maybe I can do anything! The poker chip in my brain gave me the confidence I needed to believe in myself. That’s the most inspiring story of all! The Disney people ought to be calling me any day now.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

In the Land of Virtual Guide Dogs

I derive great comfort from knowing that many blind people still get around the old fashioned way, by using guide dogs. Because one day way back when I was in college, I went to the office where they served crippled student and there was a guy with a robot. I don’t know if he was an inventor or a robot salesman or what but the guy did a demonstration about how in the foreseeable future, robots will be able to aid cripples in all our household tasks.

It was hard to take the guy too seriously because the robot was a clunky hunk of aluminum and flashing lights that looked like it had failed an audition for the Jetsons. And about all it could do of use to me was open a door. I don’t even think it could get a beer out of the fridge. But it was sobering to consider that someday we might live in a society where robots do all the dirty, low-wage grunt work, like fighting wars and tending to the cripples. I wouldn’t like it much if all my assistants were robots. Of course robot workers do offer some advantages over some human assistants I’ve had. For one thing, robots don’t have fake grandmothers. So they won’t call me every other weekend telling me they can’t come to work because yet another of their grandmothers died. I swear to God, I don’t know how some people end up with 26 grandmothers.

But all things considered, I prefer humans. I imagine robots are pretty obstinate. There’s no negotiating with them. They’re programmed to do certain tasks and that’s it. “I am sorry but I am not programmed to do windows.” And talk about feeling uncomfortably conspicuous. Cripples get stared at enough in public, but imagine rolling down the grocery store aisle accompanied by a robot pushing your cart.

And humans are quirky too. I know that can be a pain in the ass sometimes but I would miss quirkiness if it was gone. I supposed robots could be programmed to be quirky but it wouldn’t be the same. Programmed quirkiness is an oxymoron.

Sometimes I get scared that that glorious age of fully-mechanized cripple assistance the man spoke of in the 1970s isn’t far away. Because technology is moving so fast. Pretty soon GPS will be able to do what a guide dog does. GPS can almost do it now. It can tell you exactly how to get from point A to point B but, unlike a dog, it can’t help you sidestep a pile of shit or avoid getting hit by a semi en route. And suppose there’s a 50-foot cliff between points A and B. A dog will stop and refuse to proceed. But a GPS won’t say a damn thing until after the unsuspecting blind person merrily steps over the edge. And the last words that poor, plummeting blind person will hear will be, “Recalculating! Recalculating!”

So as far as I know there is no such thing as a virtual guide dog app just yet. But there sure as hell must be a dastardly scheme to create one being carried out somewhere out there by an evil genius, one of those visionary fuckheads who can’t leave well enough alone. Don’t you just hate those types?

And when said app is perfected, guide dogs will shortly thereafter be obsolete. And then the evil visionary fuckheads will come after me and my human helpers next.

(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.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

My Exclusive Chat with Bono

It’s December and everyone is giddy and full of joyous anticipation. That’s because, as everyone knows, December is Smartass Cripple Appreciation Month (SCAM). This is the third annual SCAM, as established by President Obama in his 2012 SCAM executive order calling upon every American to “remember and honor the indispensible contributions Smartass Cripple has made to the enrichment of American society.” Thus, “government agencies, community organizations, schools, museums, cultural entities, institutes of higher learning , houses of worship and ordinary citizens are urged to organize displays, parades, exhibits, school assemblies and other events that honor Smartass Cripple.”

The president took this action for two reasons. First, it was right after he was re-elected and let’s just say he owed me big time. Second, he knows I have the worst recorded case of Attention Deficit Disorder. I can never get enough attention.

It seems the most common way people have chosen to show their appreciation for Smartass Cripple by erecting trees in their living rooms and decorating them with lights and ornaments. I’m not sure who thought of that one or how it’s supposed to show appreciation for me, but I’ll take it! Some people are organizing SCAM activities that are more smart ass in nature. For instance, throughout December, some students at the University of Northern North Dakota are wearing black armbands bearing the initials SAC. They’re mourning the fact that I’m still alive. Very funny, brats.

But here’s a big announcement. This year we have our first SCAM International Ambassador and it's the one-and-only Bono! This is truly a dream come true for him. He’s been bugging me for some time now to let him be my SCAM International Ambassador so I figured I’ll give him a shot. What have I got to lose? I recently took time out from my busy schedule to sit down and talk to him. Here’s a transcript:

SAC: Hello, Bono.

BONO: Hello, Mike! And may I say how utterly thrilled I am to meet you? I’m an enormous fan!

SAC: Please don’t gush.

BONO: Sorry.

SAC: So why are you so hot to trot about being the SCAM International Ambassador?

BONO: Well, as you know I’ve always been an activist. I’ve raised billions of dollars to feed children in Africa. But recently I had an epiphany. I thought, “Why should I raise billions of dollars to feed children in Africa when I can raise billions of dollars to feed Smartass Cripple?”

SAC: I like how you think.

BONO: So I’m organizing a huge rock concert called Smartass Cripple Aid. And I’m going urge everyone to contribute to the Feed Smartass Cripple Fund. I'll tell everyone we can ensure that Smartass Cripple gets plenty of food by contributing just two cents a day.

SAC: Wait a minute! Two cents a day? Where’d you get that figure? That sounds pretty cheap ass.

BONO: According to the World Food Pantry, two cents a day will purchase a child in Africa a full day’s supply of oat germ and bulgur wheat.

SAC: Oat germ and bulgur wheat? You call that food?

BONO: Well…

SAC: When was the last time you ordered up a heapin’ plate of oat germ and bulgur wheat? I take that back. You probably do that every day. Look, I like the pitch, just lose the two cents a day part.

BONO: Brilliant! And I shall tell everyone that I am contributing generously to the Feed Smartass Cripple Fund so they should too.

SAC. Hold on. If you put it like that people think, “Well hell, that Bono has more money than God so if he’s taking care of Smartass Cripple then I don’t have to worry about it.” Make it a challenge grant instead. Tell them you’ll give a billion dollars but only if they do first. I mean, you’ll still quietly slip me the billion either way, but this way people don’t know you let them off the hook.

BONO: Brilliant again! I wrote a song about Smartass Cripple Appreciation Month. It’s sung to the tune of Silver Bells.

SAC: Let’s hear it!

BONO: (Singing) City sidewalks busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There's a feeling
of Smartass Cripple Appreciation Month
Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
and on every street corner you'll hear

Smartass Cripple Appreciation Month Smartass Cripple Appreciation Month
It's Smartass Cripple Appreciation Month time in the city
ring- a- ling hear me sing
It’s Smartass Cripple Appreciation Month.

SAC: I’m moved

(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.)

Viva Stella Young

Check out this TED talk by Stella Young, who died last week.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Everybody in Heaven is a White Male or Inappropriate Things to Say at the Funerals of Oppressed Minorities

And then there was that time when a street corner preacher nearly beat the crap out me with his Bible. He was spewing the gospel and then he saw me and he said, “You better get right with Jesus or he ain’t never gonna make you walk!” What the hell kind of insulting comment was that? He might as well have walked up to me and kicked me in the balls. So I said to him, “You better get right with Jesus or he ain’t never gonna make you white!” That really pissed him off. I thought he was going to beat the crap out of me with his bible, right there on the street corner. Wouldn’t that have made a helluva headline?

But I couldn’t help it. I’d had enough. I wanted him to see how it feels. People say stuff like that when cripples die too. They come to the funeral and say to the cripple’s loved ones, “Well at least he’s not suffering anymore. He’s in heaven, where everybody can walk. He left his burdensome wheelchair behind.” Does anybody say that kind of stuff at funerals of other oppressed minorities? “Well at least he’s not suffering anymore. He’s in heaven, where everybody is white. He left his burdensome dark skin behind.” Or what about when a woman dies? “Well at least she’s not suffering anymore. She’s in heaven, where everybody is male. She left her burdensome vagina and mammaries behind.”

Or what about when a woman died in America a hundred years or so ago, before women could even vote? And suppose that woman was a suffragette. I wonder if anyone said to her loved ones at her funeral, “Well at least she’s not suffering anymore. She’s in heaven, where everybody is male. So she finally has the right to vote.” Now I know they probably don’t have elections in heaven. Or if they do God probably runs unopposed, like all good dictators do. Or maybe there are competitive elections for lesser offices like angels. I don’t know but please humor me on this one because I’m trying to make a point, okay? My point is, isn’t that a pretty fucked up concept of divine justice? God rewards you by homogenizing you, by transforming you into the superior other you failed to become in your mortal life.

If I was a praying man, my prayer wouldn’t be, “Dear God, when I get to heaven, please reward me for enduring all the shit cripples are forced to endure by making sure I’m no longer crippled.” My prayer would instead be, “Dear God, when I get to heaven, please reward me for enduring all the shit cripples are forced to endure by making sure I don’t encounter any more creatures like that street corner preacher.”

(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.)