Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Smart Ass Friend With Circus Mirrors

Someone is playing a mean and elaborate joke on me. I bet it’s one of my smart ass friends.

It seems like every mirror I pass these days is a circus mirror. And these circus mirrors make me look like a crippled old man. There I am looking all Picassoesque—twisted and refracted. Or I look limp and amorphous like those melting Salvador Dali clocks. I look like I’m about to ooze right on out of my wheelchair onto the floor like a blob of dough with two terrified eyeballs bobbing and floating on top.

The circus mirror distorts who I really am. It makes me look as if I have one of those ballooned-out bellies quadriplegics develop over time. It makes me look surreal.

But I know it’s all a sick joke because I don’t really look like that. In my mind’s eye I’m sturdy and upright and clear-eyed and strong. And my mind’s eye wouldn’t lie. It’s amazing how my smart ass friend keeps one step ahead of me. It’s like he/she knows exactly where I’m going and just before I get there she/he replaces whichever mirror used to be there with a circus mirror. Like the other day I went to one of those fancy high-rises where the elevators are full of mirrors. And all the mirrors had been replaced with circus mirrors. And when I see myself looking all squiggly in the circus mirror it’s a jolt, just like it’s a jolt when you hear your recorded voice. And you know that can’t possibly be your voice because that recorded voice doesn’t sound anything like your real voice sounds when listening to it from inside your own head.

I don’t know what my smart ass friend is trying to accomplish. Maybe he/he is trying to make me feel like I’m one of those crippled old men that were in the adult cabins at Jerry Lewis Summer Camp when I was a kid. Those were some starchy old dudes. But I’m not one of them! I mean sure, I’m about the same age now that they were then but that’s not the point, dammit!

If I want someone to make me feel like a crippled old man I’ll go see a doctor who specializes in my specific type of crippledness. Those kinds of doctors love to remind cripples how crippled we are, just in case we forgot. The doctor orders a series of tests and then the conversation goes pretty much like this:

DOCTOR: Well, the results are in from all your tests and it’s pretty clear that you’re a crippled old man.

ME: I want a second opinion!

That’s why I avoid going to doctors who specialize in my specific type of crippledness. For me, the key to survival as a crippled old man is to mightily deny I’m a crippled old man for as long as I possibly can. If I convince myself that I’m a crippled old man, I might start acting like one. And I fear it’s all downhill from there