Saturday, December 26, 2015

How the Latest Revolutionary Product for Cripples Truly Changed my Life

I signed up to be a guinea pig. I was part of the human trials to test the latest revolutionary product that promises to change the lives of cripples all over the world.

The product is called the Needless Apology Cripple Shock Collar. The manufacturer is BF Skinner and Sons of Buffalo, New York. It works like those collars you put on dogs that bark too much and when they bark it gives them a shock. Except cripples wear these collars around their necks and the collars give them a good shock whenever they needlessly apologize.

Mr. Skinner and his sons seem to have an acute awareness of the psychological intricacies of crippledom. They know that the vast majority of cripples spend a lot of time needlessly apologizing. If your average cripple starts choking and someone gives them the Heimlich, soon after that cripple will profusely apologize to the Heimlicher for disrupting their day by choking.

But not me. I’m evolved. I’m not one of those cripples who feels subconsciously compelled to repeatedly apologize for the inconvenience caused by my existence. That’s why I signed up to be a guinea pig. I figured it would be easy money.

But less than an hour into my first day wearing my shock collar it gave me my first jolt. I was sitting outside a high-rise building waiting to go in. The doorman held the door open and I said, “Sorry.” Jolt! And then I realized how silly it was to apologize to a doorman who holds the door open for me. The job title is pretty unambiguous. Door-man.

And I received a second jolt shortly thereafter. I was waiting at the intersection to cross the street. A car stopped at the stop sign. As I crossed I looked at the driver and said, “Sorry.” Jolt!

I received so many jolts throughout the course of the day that I found myself apologizing to the shock collar for making it shock me. Jolt! “Shit! All right all right! Sorry!” Jolt! Shiiit! All right all right! I’m not sorry! Fuck you!”

It was a sobering experience indeed. The Needless Apology Cripple Shock Collar broke me of a bad habit I didn’t know I had. In my report, I thanked the manufacturer for creating a product that truly changed my life. And I told them that if they really wanted to help cripples they should figure out a way to use the same technology to create as asshole shock collar that gives the wearer a good jolt whenever they act like an asshole. Like when I’m waiting to get in a high-rise where there’s no doorman and some uncrippled person blows right past me a goes in like I’m not even there, that person would get a good jolt right then if wearing an asshole shock collar. Every bureaucrat who deals with cripples ought to be required to wear an asshole shock collar, too, and when they say stuff like “you have to redo this 978-page application because you signed your name in blue ink,” it would give them enough of a jolt to curl their hair.

The possibilities are endless.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Helpful Hints for Properly Celebrating Smartass Cripple Appreciation Month.

As every Smart Ass Cripple aficionado knows, December is Smartass Cripple Appreciation Month (SCAM). This is the fourth annual SCAM, as established by President Obama in his 2012 SCAM executive order calling upon every American to “remember and honor the indispensable contributions Smartass Cripple has made to the enrichment of American society.” Thus, “government agencies, community organizations, schools, museums, cultural entities, institutes of higher learning, houses of worship and ordinary citizens are urged to organize displays, parades, exhibits, school assemblies and other events that honor Smartass Cripple.”

The president took this action for two reasons. First, it was right after he was re-elected and let’s just say he owed me big time. Second, he knows I have the worst recorded case of Attention Deficit Disorder. I can never get enough attention.

I had to make one small compromise. It seems that the names of all federal laws and executive orders have to form a catchy acronym, as mandated by the Catchy Acronym Creation Act (CACA). So I agreed to be known as Smartass Cripple instead of Smart Ass Cripple so that Smartass Cripple Appreciation Month can simply be referred to as SCAM.

I’m honored that so many of you have organized displays, parades, exhibits, school assemblies and other events that honor Smartass Cripple. I’m sure I’ll find out about some of them soon. But I imagine many of you are panicking because December is rapidly drawing to a close and you haven’t come up with a fitting way to show appreciation for Smartass Cripple.

Well here are some last-minute ideas. There are a lot of things I’d like to have named after me, such as:

A sandwich. It would be cool to have my own commemorative sandwich. I’d have chicks throwing themselves at me. So if you own a deli you can invent the Smartass Cripple sandwich. Such celebrity sandwiches are supposed to reflect the personality of the person after whom they are named. So the Smartass Cripple sandwich will have to be made of tongue and horseradish.

A college. It would be even cooler to have a college named after me. If you think Smartass Cripple College sounds ridiculous, hey, there’s a Malcolm X College in Chicago. There was a time when that sounded ridiculous. So if you own a college or university, name it after me. If you’re a college student, organize a bunch of protests until the guy in charge names the college after me.

A disease. I’m rethinking this one. Having a disease bearing your name is a sure-fire ticket to immortality, especially if it's incurable. But there’s three ways to make that happen. 1) Conduct years and years of scientific research. Fuck that. Too much work. 2) Die of the disease (see Lou Gehrig). Fuck that too. 3) Have a bunch of people gather for some reason in your name and they all get a mysterious disease (see Legionnaires disease). So I guess that last scenario would only happen if there was a Smartass Cripple convention and a bunch of people got sick. That doesn’t sound like a pleasant option either.

A dog. Something like a Jack Russell terrier. So if you’re a dog breeder, you can create some kind of weird new fusion dog and call it a Smartass Cripple terrier or something like that.

I hope these helpful hints will empower everyone to properly celebrate Smartass Cripple Appreciation Month. Please drink responsibly.

(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.)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Like Common Cripples

Prison riots will probably break out all over the country very soon. It’s only a matter of time before criminals revolt because they’re tired of being treated like common cripples.

State governments have an increasing appetite for confiscating the assets of inmates to help pay for the cost of their incarceration. Last year in Illinois, a court ruled that the state could seize $20,000 a soon-to-be-released prisoner received as part of his mother’s wrongful death lawsuit settlement. Another Illinois prisoner got a nearly $14,000 inheritance when his grandmother died. After he was paroled, the state took all but $4,000 of that.

Yep and apparently there are confiscation laws like this on the books in 43 states. The idea is to reimburse the state for providing a public service, which in this case was a prison cell.

Cripples have gotten garnished for decades for using public services. Like for instance, when you sign up for a program like the one I use, where the state pays the wages of the people I hire to put me on the crapper and whatnot, you can only have so much in assets. So suppose someone dies and leaves you some money. Whenever that happens, it’s always a bittersweet bad news/ good news type of situation, right? But in this case it’s bitter and sweet and back to bitter again because if that windfall suddenly puts you over the asset limit, you have to set up a trust. And whatever money is left in that trust after you die goes to the state as payback for the cost of your care.

If you’re a cripple on Medicaid, you can’t have assets of more than $2000. Two thousand scrawny little goddam bucks! And if you’re a cripple on Medicaid in a nursing home, the nursing home will swipe away your Social Security and give you back only $30 a month. Thirty little puny-ass anemic–looking pathetic bucks!

And since no one wants to be taxed anymore and governments have to come up with creative new revenue-raising contortions, hell, pretty soon the punitive garnishment strategy may be applied to everyone who uses a public service, which is everybody every day. Whenever we walk down a public sidewalk, we’ll all have to wear special shoes will odometers embedded in the heels and so much per mile will be deducted from our bank accounts. All toilets will have a flushometer and every flush will be another debit to help pay for the public sewer system.

But I don’t know how long John and Mary Public will tolerate having such strict austerity penalties imposed on them for using public services. At some point they’ll rise up in protest and say, “Hey, you can’t treat us like that! We’re not crippled!”

(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.)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

E=MC2: The Amazing Life and Times of Stephen Hawking

It looks like my dream is about to come true, more or less.

I finally decided to hunker down and write a play I always promised myself I’d write someday. It’s called E=MC2: The Amazing Life and Times of Stephen Hawking. So first I did extensive research to learn everything there is to know about the good professor. That’s how I came up with the catchy title because, as everyone knows, E=MC2 is Hawking’s most famous quote.

The play is one of those one-man shows. The actor playing Hawking sits motionless in a wheelchair in a spotlight on a bare stage. And he uses a talking box to deliver a monologue about his amazing life and times. I don’t mean to brag, but I think it makes for a spellbinding 2 hours and 40 minutes of theater.

I wrote this play for three reasons. One, Hawking is a cripple icon and I thought it was high time for something to be written about him from the perspective of another cripple. Two, I wrote the role of Hawking with the intention of playing the role myself because it has long been my dream to star in a Broadway play that wins a Tony Award. But I can’t act worth shit. And memorizing lines scares the crap out of me. So I figured if all I had to do was sit there and let the talking box do all the work, this could be the perfect part for me! The third reason I wrote this play was for money.

I should also mention that this isn’t technically a one-man show. A second actor plays the part of the nurse. This is a small but important role. When Hawking enters at the top of Act 1, the nurse pushes him in, positions his wheelchair in the spotlight, pushes a button on his taking box and exits. Then, at the end of Act 1, when the professor’s monologue builds to the peak of its tension as he complains about how just because he’s crippled some people talk to him like a goddam baby even though he’s a physicist, the nurse enters and delivers her only line. She says, “Excuse me, professor. I don’t mean to interrupt, but it’s time for your sponge bath.” They exit. End of Act 1. The nurse pushes the professor on stage again at the top of ACT 2. And then we don’t see her again until she takes her bow at the curtain call.

Well I sent my play to a whole bunch of Broadway theaters and they all rejected it! I was more pissed off than devastated. It was clear that my play was far too visionary to be understood by those Neanderthals who produce on Broadway! That’s when I made a painful but necessary decision. I knew that the odds of being produced would improve exponentially if a big star played the lead. So I gave up my dream of playing Hawking and sent the script to Dustin Hoffman. And much to my delight, Dustin (that’s what I call him now) contacted me about a week later. He was ecstatic! He said Hawking was the one role he’d always wanted to play.

With Dustin on board, of course a Broadway theater scooped my play up right away. And Dustin, being the consummate professional that he is, immersed himself in preparing for the role. He studied hours upon hours of video footage of Hawking sitting motionless in his wheelchair, so as to master his every nuance, his every twitch and blink.

And last week my play opened to rave reviews. The New York Times called Dustin’s performance “masterful.” Newsday said Dustin “brings the celebrated professor to life.”

Thanks to Dustin, the opening performance ended with a standing ovation when, after the nurse took her curtain call bow, he rose from the wheelchair and bowed. That was an ad lib but it worked so well I’m definitely adding it to the script.

So you can see why I’m feeling pretty pumped up, eh? E=MC2 has Tony Award written all over 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.)