Friday, June 27, 2014


I am not a visionary. It’s hard to admit but it's true. A visionary to me is the guy who invented urinal cakes. One day he was in a public bathroom just merrily pissing away when all of a sudden a light bulb lit up in his head. And then he was visionary enough to follow through, to assemble a team of scientists with the expertise to turn his urinal cake vision into reality, to build a urinal cake manufacturing facility and to press on despite the inevitable ridicule of the small-minded naysayers. And thus he became a urinal cake tycoon.

There are evil visionaries too, like Stalin and the guy who thought up the idea for Hooters. One day he was sitting around thinking, “If I only had the right gimmick, I could sell these crappy-ass chicken wings by the boatload.” And a diabolical light bulb lit up in his head.

Some people are visionary only about certain things. I guess they could be called visionary savants. Like I have a friend who loves to get stoned. He gets stoned pretty much every day. If he doesn’t have papers or a pipe handy, he can make a pipe out of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. I saw him bore a couple of intersecting holes into an apple and convert it into a pipe. But he says he could do the same with a potato or most any hard vegetable like jicama, sweet potatoes, maybe even an eggplant or a very large radish. He could probably even turn a banana into a pipe if he was desperate enough. Probably not a grape.

Some cripples are visionary as all hell when it comes to solving their own cripple problems. They drop their keys on the floor and there's nobody around to pick them up so they say to themselves, “Hmmm. How can I solve this cripple problem and in so doing make life easier for my fellow cripples?” And then they invent something like a satellite-powered, voice-activated suction hose with which to pick up keys. Ralph Braun was one of those visionary cripples. When he became too crippled to push his wheelchair in the early 1960s, there were no motorized wheelchairs. So he invented a motorized wheelchair for himself. It looked like a humongous, car-battery-operated skateboard with a seat mounted on top. And a few years later, when he wanted to be able to drive a vehicle while sitting in his wheelchair, he bought an old mail truck and rigged it up with a homemade wheelchair lift to hoist him and his chair up and in. From there Ralph Braun went into the vehicle conversion business. That's why, whenever you see a wheelchair-accessible minivan on the road, you’ll probably see the name Braun on it somewhere. Ralph Braun died a wealthy, happy man.

I’m not visionary at all when it comes to solving my own cripple problems. When faced with a cripple problem, such as dropping my keys on the floor, I say to myself, “Fuck it. Have a beer.” And I have a beer while I wait for someone who can bend to come around and pick up my keys.

I’ll never invent anything useful for my fellow cripples because I don’t think I’ll ever transcend “Fuck it. Have a beer.” I’m permanently stuck in my unvisionary rut.

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