Friday, August 22, 2014

Spontaneous Combustion and Other Perils

There are two kinds of cripples in the world: 1) those that try to ride up and down escalators in their wheelchairs and 2) everybody else.

I belong firmly, squarely and resolutely in the latter category. If I feel like engaging in high-risk behavior that puts my life on the line, I don’t have to pop and maintain a wheelie on an escalator. All I have to do is any one of the following:

Call a cripple cab. You never know. I might get picked up by that cab driver named Madame Curie (Smart Ass Cripple alias.) Madame Curie dresses like a lumberjack. Whenever she picks me up, she hugs me and says something like, “I’m so happy to see you, sweetie! How are you, honey? God really blessed me by sending me here to pick you up today!” And then she loads me into her cripple cab and squeals away from the curb like we just robbed a bank. And sooner or later she gets into a near-miss rear-end or broadside or sideswipe situation with another driver and she rolls down the window and screams something like, “YOU STUPID ASSHOLE! CAN’T YOU SEE I’M DRIVING THE HANDICAPPED HERE? ROT IN HELL YOU SCUM!” And then Madame Curie turns to me and says, “Are you okay, precious?”

Ride the rapid transit train. You never know. One time the blue line train was merrily rolling through one of the tunnels downtown and a fire broke out. And so they evacuated the train by sending all the passengers down this emergency escape walkway in the dark tunnel. But that walkway is about a foot wide. It ain’t hardly cripple friendly. If I would have been on that train, I would have been just plain screwed.

Sit quietly in my wheelchair. You never know. My motorized wheelchair might spontaneously combust. Hey, it happens. I hear stories about it all the time. There was a guy in San Antonio last year who got so damn sick of waiting for Medicare to buy him a motorized chair that his family bought him one at a flea market. And then the damn thing caught on fire. A few years back, the company that makes my wheelchair had to recall a whole bunch of chairs because some caught on fire out of the blue.

Go to bed. You never know. Hospital beds have also been known to spontaneously combust. Between 1993 and 2003, the Food and Drug Administration received 95 reports of electric hospital beds bursting into flames because of shorts or fucked up power cords or too much dust in the mechanical parts or whatever. So when a cripple like me gets out of bed in the morning, we say to ourselves, “Whew! Thank God I survived another night of sound and peaceful sleep!”

Who the hell needs escalators? A cripple like me can tempt fate and flirt with death without even getting out of bed.