Friday, May 29, 2015

He is My Crippled Brother

Apparently there is a condition called gynecomastia where men grow breasts like women.

This must be a new malady that has popped up within the last 30 years or so. Because if there were males walking around with female breast when I was a kid I guarantee you I would have been well aware of their presence. Because I went to schools that were exclusively for crippled kids all the way up until I went to college. These schools were where they banished all kids who were even the least bit freakish. There were kids at these schools with giant heads and kids with tiny heads. Kids with missing limbs and kids with extra limbs. Kids with limbs growing out of the wrong places. Even if the feature that made the kid freakish wasn’t visible to the naked eye, he/she was still sent off to the cripple school. There was a kid with a prosthetic leg, but you’d never know it unless you walked up to him and knocked on his leg.

So any boy with female breasts would have been the first one sent to the cripple school, even if everything else about him was excruciatingly normal. And that kid would’ve stood out, even in the cripple school. He would have been a legend. Sad but true. So either there were no males with female breasts back then or they were so shunned that they were kept hidden away in dark closets.

And apparently if you have gynecomastia, there are lawyers ready, willing and able to sue the hell out whoever gave you the condition. In March, a Philadelphia jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $2.5 million to a 20-year-old man with autism from Alabama who said that as a result of taking their antipsychotic drug Risperdal he developed size 46 DD breasts. Now this is the kind of case that will give those who rant about "tort reform” a big old raging hard-on. They’ll say this is another example of how the definition of crippled has become so stretched that it’s now meaningless. Back in the good old days, we knew exactly who was crippled and who wasn’t, just like we knew who was a boy and who was a girl. The cripples were the ones in wheelchairs or walking with crutches or the ones with a long white stick in one hand and a tin cup in the other. But now even a man with female breasts can demand compensation for being crippled. Why? Nothing wrong with his arms or legs! No reason he can’t go out and get a job!

Ah but this man’s barriers are myriad. And these barriers are not the result of him having female breasts. They are the result of other people being freaked out because he has female breasts. Thus, he will face much banishment, for the same reason all the freaks were sent off to the cripple school. So on that level, he’s as much of a genuine, card-carrying cripple as the rest of us.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Overcoming Overcoming

Here’s why stories about cripples who “overcome" bug the living crap out of me. When a person, crippled or otherwise, is praised for overcoming something, whatever it is we say they overcame is always something bad, right? I mean, we never say, “He overcame extreme wealth and good looks to become president of the United States!”

When cripples are praised for overcoming something, it’s always our crippledness we are praised for overcoming. So therefore the implication is that everything about being crippled is bad and awful and in need of overcoming. But there are many good things that come with being crippled. Like for instance, I get to cut to the front of lines a lot. I’m not sure why that happens. I don’t know whether the person waving me on through thinks I’m a VIP or a fire hazard but don't ask questions. I just shut up and go for it.

And I'm not trying to say cripples never have to overcome anything. Lord knows we do. But cripples never get praised for overcoming the shit we actually have to overcome. One of the biggest things I had to overcome was being shipped off as an adolescent to a crappy-ass state-operated boarding school for cripples, which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT). But I promise you if a Hollywood producer takes a notion to make a blockbuster movie about me, it won’t be because he/she sees it as “the inspiring story of a man who overcame being shipped off as an adolescent to a crappy-ass state-operated boarding school for cripples.” Another huge thing cripples have to overcome is all the bullshit of bureaucracies like Medicaid and insurance companies. First we have to fight like rabid wolverines to get them to buy us a wheelchair or some other piece of essential equipment and then when it breaks we’re dead in the water for six months while they make us leap through a million bureaucratic flaming hoops in order to get it fixed. This is a real, dramatic, harrowing, high-stakes struggle that cripples all over engage in every day. But I’ve never seen a blockbuster movie, TV show, book or anything else that professed to be “the inspiring story of a man who overcame all the bullshit of bureaucracies like Medicaid and insurance companies.”

That’s what I hate about that overcomer crap. It gives us another thing to have to overcome.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Power to the People?

When I hear someone shout “Power to the People,” I would have to say that for the most part I am in general agreement with the sentiment expressed. Because I assume that the “people” referenced in that slogan include me and most cripples and thus Power to the People means more power for me.

But I can’t be totally sure because, quite honestly, that slogan may be tried and true but it is a little vague. I mean if we take the definition of people literally, that means every living human being which includes people like Trump. Technically, he qualifies as a human being, if you really want to split hairs. So does Power to the People mean more power for people like Trump? If that’s the case then hell no! I don’t agree with it at all!

I don’t think that’s what it’s supposed to mean so maybe instead we should shout out something more specific, like “Power to the People Except for Rich Douchebags Like Trump!” But that’s pretty cumbersome and not too rhythmic. And who is authorized to make such a change? Who are the people who define who the people in Power to the People are? And what criteria do they apply? I pass this parking lot sometimes called the People’s Parking Lot, which is kind of a silly name because who else is going to try to park there besides people? Lobsters? But in this case, I’m sure the guy who defines the people that can park in the People’s Parking Lot is the guy who owns the parking lot. And I’m sure he defines people as any and all human beings who can afford to park in his parking lot.

In the People’s Republic of China, no doubt the communist party defines who the people are. And that definition includes any and all human beings who don’t piss off the communist party.

But I think Power to the People implies that’s it is intended to really mean Power to the People Who Are Being Fucked Over. That’s why I’ve always assumed it includes me and most cripples. That’s why everybody who shouts it out assumes it includes them, too.

So if we all can agree to be just a wee tad more specific and start shouting out “Power to the People Who Are Being Fucked Over” instead, I’d feel much more comfortable. I’ll know it includes me and most cripples but nobody like Trump. I’m on board 100 percent for sure then.

So would whoever is in charge of making that happen please get on it right away? I’d appreciate it.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Make-a-Wish for Adults

I’m here to propose a make-a-wish for adults. Now before you dismiss me as a crude oaf, hear me out.

This would be a new federal entitlement program and it’s a win/win proposition. It benefits those on the very bottom rung of the economic ladder by giving them what they desire most, which is a measure of hope and a renewed sense of self-determination in this era of austerity. And it benefits those on the very top rung by giving them what they desire most, which is a civilized, compassionate way of disposing of those on the very bottom.

On the very bottom are all the chronics, as I call them. These are the people that ain’t gonna get better. But I’m not just talking about cripples and sick people. I’m talking about the chronically broke ass. You don’t have to be crippled to be chronically broke ass, though being crippled sure gives you a big head start. But those who are chronically broke ass without the advantage of being crippled would also be eligible for the free services of make-a-wish for adults.

Chronics never let go of certain public teats, especially when staying chronically broke ass is a requirement for maintaining access to the aforementioned teats (e.g. Medicaid). And we all know how miserable of an existence that life of community dependency can be. You can’t afford even modest luxuries like bread. And the political atmosphere is becoming increasingly hostile as the unchronic majority is steadily losing its patience with propping up the chonics. When you’re a chronic stuck in this trap, you get the feeling that everyone wishes you were dead

But under my plan, each chronic would receive a government-issued make-a-wish towel and this towel would be their leverage, their source of empowerment, their bargaining chip, if you will. If a chronic gets tired of the struggle of being broke ass and decides to give up, the chronic takes their towel to their local make-a-wish office and turns it in. This is the equivalent of saying, “Okay I give up. Throw me one last orgy and I’ll take the cyanide.” And the make-a-wish team gets busy arranging for the chronic the sendoff of their dreams! It can be whatever indulgent, fantasy-fulfilling bucket list excursion the chronic wants. Nude skydiving? Can do! Visiting the Kremlin and kicking Vladimir Putin in the balls? No problem! All expenses paid! This is their special day!

And the next day the chronic signs off for good, in accordance with the make-a-wish protocols.

I think the unchronic majority would embrace this as humane economics because it uses the carrot and not the stick. It doesn’t mandate self-elimination by the chronics in the name of fiscal prudence. It merely incentivizes it!

I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said that the measure of a civilized society is how it disposes of its weakest citizens.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Something More Than Meat

One thing I know for sure is that I could never eat my Chihuahuas. No way. I love them too much. We have a lot of fun together. They are my buds. I can’t imagine a post-apocalyptic scenario so grim that I would even consider eating my Chihuahuas. If things ever got that bad I’d probably solve the dilemma by letting them eat me.

I’m telling you all this because I’m trying to make a point about republicans. But before I can do that, I have to make a point about pigs. The only time I ever met a real live pig was when I took a vacation at this cripple-accessible cabin in Canada. There was a pet pig running around the grounds and it was cute as hell, dammit. It happily bounced up to me and greeted me with a flurry of grunts. And ever since then I’ve had a hard time bringing myself to eat pork. Oh sure, I always knew wonderful stuff like bacon was derived from pigs but pigs were an abstract concept because I’d never met one. I never knew they had personalities. When a creature has a personality, it becomes something more than meat. I still eat bacon because the scent of bacon frying releases a chemical in the brain that works like an anesthetic, temporarily numbing the center of the brain that registers guilt. But the anesthetic wears off quickly and the bacon high is ruined. The bacon high is never as long or intense for me as it was before I met that damn cute little pig!

Now when it comes to eating shrimp I don’t have the same conflict and it’s probably because shrimp don’t have personalities that I can detect. Maybe I’d think differently if I was another shrimp. But in my present incarnation, I’ve never had a meaningful, spiritually-bonding interaction with a live shrimp, except when I did hallucinogens back in college.

All this explains a curious political phenomenon. There are actually a few republicans who sometimes give a crap about cripples. Like for instance it was a republican president who signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. Even today, now and then republicans get behind bills and policies that make life better for cripples. And when you search for what might have triggered these bouts of temporary sanity, you almost always find that the reality of crippledness invaded the life of this particular republican, either directly or via the life of someone close to them.

And so it becomes like me and my Chihuahuas or that pig. The republican agenda calls for devouring cripples, and just about everything and everybody else, for fun and profit. But the agenda becomes harder to follow when you know or when you become an actual cripple with an actual personality. Cripples become something more than meat.

These republicans more often than not still succumb to the agenda by going along with stuff like cutting the crap out of Social Security or Medicaid. That’s because the scent of money has the same effect on the brain as the scent of frying bacon.

But every now and then some individuals are able to rise above. They can’t help it.

(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.)