Friday, March 27, 2015

Serving on a Federal Sensitivity Panel

I’m very excited. I, Smart Ass Cripple, have been appointed by the president of these United States to serve on the very first sensitivity panel of the newly-created Federal Bureau of Stereotype Standards (FBSS).

The mission of the FBSS is one of vital importance: to resolve our national identity crisis. I mean, there are so many different types of people buzzing around in America today that our national identity default position is no longer automatically WASP male uncrippled hetero.

So who are we? It’s so confusing because try as we will, we can’t help but offend each other. And so we’re always walking on eggshells around each other for fear we might say the wrong thing. For example, take all this redskin stuff. Just when it seems like it’s not cool to call Native Americans redskins, along come some other Native Americans who say it’s no big deal. So now what? Can’t they make up their minds?

Cripples are another good example. People shun cripples because they’re afraid they’re going to say something that will make us cry or sue. Some cripples hate being called crippled. No matter what term you try—handicapped, handicapable, differently abled, physically challenged or whatever—you’ll find cripples who love it and cripples who hate it.

Cripples are much easier to please when it comes to infrastructure type stuff. There are standards you can look up. Like for instance, you know if you make a doorway 32 inches wide most wheelchair cripples will be satisfied and those who aren’t satisfied are probably chronic whiners anyway so you can feel it’s safe to tell them to fuck off.

So the task of the FBSS is to create similar concrete, easy-to-reference standards for stereotypes. So when a certain genre of Americans is uncertain how to refer to another genre of Americans to which they don’t belong, all they'll have to do is go to the FBSS portal and enter a question like, Is it okay to call a woman a chick?. Within seconds, they will receive a simple reply of yes or no.

The FBSS sensitivity panel will hold hearings, collect testimony, conduct research and, based on all this, develop these standards for socially-acceptable stereotypes. I will be serving on the sensitivity panel on the concerns of Native Americans. You may ask what my qualifications to serve on such a panel are. I have never set wheel on a reservation, if you don’t count casinos.

My lack of qualifications is my best qualification because first and foremost, panel members must be objective. Therefore, panel members must all be from populations outside of the population that is the subject of inquiry. This is an exercise in rationality, not emotion. We can’t have Big Chief Purplefoot of the Wahoo Tribe serving on the Native American sensitivity panel because he can’t be objective, like I can.

There will be sensitivity panels on the concerns of gays, Mexicans, Muslims, cripples, etc. Like I said, I’m really excited about this opportunity. I will serve with honor and integrity in the hope that the president will call on me again. I really want to be one of the guys on the panel that gets to decide how we treat women.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Which Person Here is the Future Famous Writer Who Will Someday Immortalize Me?

Here I go again. I’m playing that game that I often suddenly find myself playing in my head. The game is called: Which Person Here is the Future Famous Writer Who Will Someday Immortalize Me?

I waste a lot of time playing this game, like computer solitaire. But I can’t help it. It’s a coping mechanism, like computer solitaire.

I find myself playing this game when I’m in a public place and feeling conspicuous—on a bus, in a waiting room or someplace like that. So here I am at the corner pub I come to often. And oops, now I find myself wondering which person here is the future famous writer who will someday immortalize me? Could it be my server, the buxom black woman with the Angela Davis hair? She looks like the aspiring writer type. She has an engaged look in her eyes, like she’s always studying her surroundings. Or maybe it’s that guy few tables down, the spherical guy wearing a Philadelphia Phillies hat. He squeezes a huge sloppy burger tight with two hands, elbows planted firmly on the table. He doesn’t look like the aspiring writer type at all, which is exactly what aspiring writer types look like sometimes.

The undercover future famous writer could be anybody in this dining room. Or it could be someone I can’t even see, maybe like a cook or dishwasher back in the kitchen observing me on the security camera. But no, it’s probably my server. And how can she resist riffing on a conspicuous character like me? I roll in here every week or so with a range of different companions—male and female and young and old. My companions feed me. We laugh a lot. I drink beer through a straw

I bet my server bribed the hostess to put me at her table this time so she could collect material. It gives her an excuse to make note of what I order, or to circle by every now and then and maybe capture a snippet of dialogue. Should I indulge her? When she’s within earshot, should I make a keen observation or perhaps tell a dirty joke? Maybe I should order three shots of whiskey and chug them all through a straw or drop my head back like a baby bird and have my companion pour them down my throat. That’ll really give her something to write about!

When a crippled character based on me appears in her Pulitzer –worthy novel or play, what will my backstory be? Will I be a sage and my companions my acolytes? Will I be a stud and my companions my concubines? Will I be sick and frail and my companions my plain-clothed paramedics? Will I be an eccentric tycoon and my companions my sycophants?

And what will the critics say of the character I inspired? Unforgettable? Caustic but charming? Clich├ęd? Derivative of Ahab?

Or maybe none of the above. My server is probably not a soon-to-be-celebrated writer at all. She’s probably just a server, wishing I would quit showing off and pay the damn check so she can go the hell home.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

We All Have a Little Cripple in Our Blood

If you ever see me in a trance so deep that it seems like catatonia, don’t worry. I’ll snap out of it soon. I’m probably just watching my favorite imaginary TV show.

I have this free video streaming service that runs through my brain. The good part about it is that it carries all sorts of original programs that not only entertain me but also help me keep my sanity. The bad news is that the programs sometimes kick in at the damnedest most inconvenient times and places. They're usually triggered by stress brought on by encountering or remembering a certain type of ignoramus.

For example, my favorite show on my imaginary streaming service is simply entitled The Genealogy Show. The host is an affable, professorial genealogist. He’s bearded and 50ish. He smokes a pipe and wears a cardigan sweater. And the guest is always some cocky ignoramus who likes to pick on cripples and is in desperate need of some schooling. Like maybe as a kid he taunted crippled kids by calling them names like spaz or retard. Or maybe as an adult he taunts crippled adults by parking his car in our reserved spaces.

Host and guest sit in a warm den by a cozy fire. The guest looks defiant in the face of coercion, like a freshman in detention. And then comes the pivotal moment in every episode where the host says something like, “I discovered something fascinating about your family tree. It seems that your maternal great grandfather, Ezekiel, sustained a traumatic brain injury when he was struck in the head with a hammer by another farmer in a heated dispute over a sheep. This makes you 1/16th crippled.”

Then comes the emotion-packed moment of truth for the ignoramus. At first he/she feels the tearful joy of new-found kinship. But this is soon washed out by a tidal wave of shame for having picked so much on fellow cripples. But then joy returns with the realization that it’s not too late for redemption. And then the host says, as he says every episode, “And the moral of the story is, we all have a little cripple in our blood.”

The guest goes through a transformation of Scroogian proportions. Upon discovering a cripple reserved parking space, rather than snatching it up, he/she instead pulls out cans of blue, white and yellow paint and restores the faded markings.

The Genealogy Show doesn’t always have a happy ending. Sometimes the guest vehemently denies having any cripple at all in their blood and continues being an ignoramus, redoubling their efforts.

That’s when I watch my other favorite imaginary TV show, which is simply entitled The Lucky Number Lottery Show. It features the same guest, but this time the ignoramus dangles from the ankles by a rope above a tank full of pissed off sharks. Assembled are all the cripples that have ever been victims of his/her ignoramusness. Each cripple selects a number from a hat. And whomever draws the lucky number gets to cut the rope

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Friday, March 6, 2015

The Huwoman Race

Sometimes I wonder if curing polio was such a good thing for cripples. I mean for cripples individually, of course it was a good thing. But in terms of political strategy, I’m not so sure. It plays right into the hands of the supremacists.

If polio was still out there running around biting people in the ass, cripples would probably be running the world by now. Think of how many more millions of us there would be. It’s a matter of sheer volume. There would be too many of us to ignore, sort of like insects.

The prospect of cripples running the world will surely freak some people out beyond all end. I'm talking about those wacky supremacists again. Just about any shift in the tide freaks them out. I guess the supremacists assume that anybody who acquires a little power will act like the supremacists do.

Gay people getting married freaks them out because I guess they assume that once we open that door then someday soon the only kind of marriage that will be allowed will be gay marriage. Because whenever a group gains power they use it to assert their supremacy. That’s the whole point of having power.

The supremacists also freak out whenever a new mosque pops up. There’s a hospital around here called Christ hospital. When you call there you hear a recorded greeting in four languages: English, Spanish, Polish and Arabic. I bet that Arabic really freaks out certain supremacists. They can see that dark day coming soon when Christ hospital will become Allah hospital and the only medicine they will practice will be voodoo.

If the Indians take charge they’ll immediately change the name of the Washington football team to the Washington Trailer Trash and the logo will be a toothless hillbilly. And if women take over, that will really fuck things up royally because a strong and assertive woman = a dominatrix. We’ll all have to refer to ourselves as the huwoman race.

And if the cripples take over, look out. In this dystopia, everyone will be required to have a bathroom that’s as big as a dance hall and with those ugly monkey bars bolted to the wall around the toilet to boot. And this will be enforced by UN soldiers wearing blue helmets. Nothing shoots the hell out of property values like UN soldiers and ugly monkey bars.

So the supremacists ought to be damn grateful that polio was cured

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