Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Fountain of Stupidity

I’m about to turn 60 and here’s what I’m wondering: At what age does the average human no longer look back at where they were 10 or so years earlier and say, “Boy, was I a dumbass.” Do people who are 90 say, “When I was 80, boy, was I a dumbass?” Do people who are 120 say, “When I was 110, boy, was I a dumbass?”

Because I’m still doing that. I look back ten or so years and I’m in awe of what a dumbass I was. And that’s my beef with the fountain of youth. Everybody automatically assumes that if there was such a thing we’d all just jump in the water and splash around and everything would turn out jolly. We’d all be 18 on the outside but remain wise, enlightened elders on the inside. That’s how it’s romanticized in movies. But I don’t know. It seems to me that it would have to be a package deal. You can’t revert to being 18 again physically without reverting to being 18 again in every other way. So you jump into the water and splash around and your body becomes young and supple but you also turn into a dumbass. It's a pact with the devil. The same goes for balms and ointments and stuff that promises to make you young again. If those things really worked, they’d have to have a label that says, Warning: Using this product will turn you into a dumbass.

And I have a similar beef with miracle cripple cures. Amazingly, people still run off to places like Lourdes or to faith healers or shamans or whatever in search of cripple cures. And they think if they get cured everything will be happily ever after. But suppose I drank the water at Lourdes and poof—suddenly I became a strapping young lumberjack. Would I also miraculously acquire a Harvard education? It seems only fair. Because if I wasn’t crippled I might have ended up with a Harvard education. Who knows? But it was guaranteed that I would never end up with a Harvard education the day they shipped me off to a state-operated boarding school for cripples, which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT). The SHIT curriculum was as challenging and rigorous as playing tic-tac-toe. To this day, I still have to look up how to spell the word curriculum.

No, if I took a bath a Lourdes, at best I would emerge as a strapping young lumberjack with my same old shitty segregated cripple school education. I’d be far from cured. It takes a whole lot more than holy water to wash away the ravages of crippledom.

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

To Lobster Boy from Drunken Frankenstein

Dear Lobster Boy,

I hope you don’t mind me calling you that. I mean it as a term of endearment.

I happened across an internet video of you. You were on a stage somewhere. You sat in a wheelchair. In front of you was a walker on wheels. And across the stage was husky man, an emcee-type wearing a tuxedo. It looked like a charity fundraising event. And the audience was packed full. Not an empty seat in the house.

You must’ve been in Latin America somewhere because the emcee spoke Spanish. As he addressed the spellbound audience, he leaned in toward them for dramatic emphasis. And then he presented you with a great swooping wave of his arm, as if you were about to perform a heroic feat. And then you slowly stood. And with the aid of the rolling walker you walked across the stage. You received a standing ovation. Some people cried tears of joy. Not a dry seat in the house.

And as I watched I said to myself I wish I had been there for you. Because I would have nobly ruined the whole spectacle, like the kid in The Emperor‘s New Clothes. I would have yelled out, “Hey kid, you walk like a lobster!” I wouldn’t have been able to hold back. And I hope you wouldn’t have taken it as an insult because the intention is quite the opposite. The intention is for it to be like a secret handshake of cripple brotherhood and solidarity.

You walked on your tiptoes, teetering to hold your balance like a tightrope walker. You walked like a lobster walks if a human holds it up under its armpits and forces it to walk upright. But here’s the thing. It’s become increasingly frowned upon to anthropomorphize other beings for the gratification of humans. It once was perfectly acceptable to dress a chimp in a business suit or train a chicken to ride a unicycle. But now we’ve come to acknowledge that such stunts are inconsiderate of the feeling of the anthropomorphized entities. Why force a lobster to walk upright? A lobster’s natural form of locomotion is to crawl. It may look pathetic and undignified to humans, but it works just fine for lobsters. They’ve been doing it that way for centuries. Just let lobsters be lobsters.

And just let you be you. Your natural form of locomotion is pushing a wheelchair and it works fine. You just ain’t built for walking upright, lobster boy. No shame in that. You walk like a lobster but you roll with grace. I know how it is, lobster boy. When I was your age, I walked like drunken Frankenstein. In the physical therapy gym, propped up perilously by leg braces and parallel bars, I heaved one leg forward and then I heaved the next. Therapists cheered me on but when I look back I wish one of them had enough respect for me to be honest and say, “You know what kid, you walk like drunken Frankenstein.” What a relief it would have been to have my awkwardness validated, to have the ridiculousness I felt surrounding me at that moment acknowledged. Maybe we all could have relaxed and quit pretending.

That was at a different time in a different country, lobster boy. But it’s the same old stuff.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


It’s one of those dreadful realities of life that happens to everyone sooner or later. You wake up in the morning and find out you’ve been taken over by Disney.

I guess I always just naively assumed it would never happen to me but it has! I got a notice from the Disney lawyers informing me of the hostile takeover. Somehow Disney bought out Smart Ass Cripple and they intend to turn it into a site for crippled children called DisNEYabled. They intend to stream videos designed to “shape the character” of crippled children and to sell t-shirts and buttons and such that say “I’m DisNEYabled.”

But do not fear, oh dear readers. I vow to resist this hostile takeover with all of my might! I’ve hired the best lawyers fifty bucks can buy. Because I know how those Disney people are! Every move they make is part of their long-term plan to establish international hegemony, to create a global Disnocracy, if you will. And they know the best way to achieve that goal is to indoctrinate children and turn them into little Disney zombies. They know their brainwashing propaganda is most effective when delivered by a talking rabbit or a princess.

The anatomy of Disney’s new world order is so twisted and intricate that it’s beyond my comprehension. All I know is that it must be evil. And I don’t know what the DisNEYabled stuff is all about but it must be evil too. Because the historic evidence clearly shows that a necessary step in creating a Disnocracy is to first create a bunch of placid cripples. Like for instance, take the movie Dumbo. That movie really pisses me off! The crippled protagonist, Dumbo, not only has a congenital birth defect of the ears but he’s also mute. Either that or the screenwriters thought since Dumbo is crippled he doesn’t have anything important to say.

Everybody at the circus treats Dumbo like shit. I mean, they call him Dumbo for fuck’s sake! Everybody makes fun of his ears and when his mother fights back the circus boss throws her in solitary confinement. And after that Dumbo just lies in a corner moping until this mouse gently motivates him to get up off his ass. That mouse is supposed to symbolize the uncrippled bleeding-heart professional, like a therapist or social worker, who inspires the downtrodden cripple to realize his/her full potential. What a worn out cliché that is!

But anyway, the mouse helps Dumbo discover he can fly and then all of a sudden everybody just fucking loves Dumbo and his mother gets a luxury VIP car on the circus train and Dumbo is the star of the circus. The end.

What the fuck is that? Dumbo finds out he has a zillion-dollar talent and what does he do? He goes right back to work for the same circus boss that imprisoned his mom! Everybody treats Dumbo like shit and he just lets bygones be bygones? Fuck all that!

If the Disney people really wanted to send the right message to crippled children, in the triumphant scene where Dumbo soars around the circus tent he would take a huge dump all over everybody below! You know how freaked out people get when they get hit by a little bird shit. Imagine how they’d panic getting bombed by elephant shit! And then Dumbo finally speaks! He tells the circus boss to take this job and shove it! “I’m starting my own circus,” Dumbo says, “so your circus is toast! Who’s the fucking Dumbo now, huh?”

Dumbo is a load of assimilationist crap. So I must fight back against Disney’s fiendish plot. Someone has to save the children.

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Friday, March 4, 2016

A Sense of Closure

Today was a good day, I think. It was one of those days we all have once or twice when we receive a check in the mail that we didn’t know we had coming. Well that’s what happened to me so that means it must’ve been a good day, right? More or less? Theoretically?

At first I was worried when I received a letter from the law firm of Hoodwink and Steele. Why did that name sound familiar? And then I realized oh yeah, I’ve seen a lot of their commercials during the 3 a.m horror movies. They’re personal injury lawyers: ”Injured in an Accident? Call 666-6666!”

But it appears that these shrewd men figured out a way to collect damages for cripples not just for our physical pain and suffering but for our social and political injuries as well. Because the letter informed me of the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the federal government that was initiated by the firm on behalf of “Americans with myriad physical, emotional and cognitive challenges.” The lawsuit demanded monetary reparations be paid to cripples for the “historic pattern and practice of egregious mistreatment” generations of us have endured.

At first I thought hmm, reparations? I mean, I know cripples have been fucked over huge for a long time, but reparations? Really? But then the letter reminded me how millions of us have been “institutionalized, sterilized and lobotomized.” We’ve worked jobs that pay about a buck an hour. And we’ve been herded up and banished away to shitty little segregated schools, like the one I attended, which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT}.

So soon I felt more than just worthy of reparations. I felt owed! Oh yeah baby! My people have been skeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-rewed! So PAY US, dammit! Pay us NOW!

The letter said that after years of negotiations, the government agreed to pay $900 million in cripple reparations! And after Hoodwink and Steele took $800 million off the top to cover their fees and expenses, the remaining $100 million was to be distributed equally among 50 million living crippled Americans, of which I am one. “Therefore,” the letter said, “enclosed is your reparations check of $2. We hope this brings you a sense of closure.”

I don’t know if closure is the right word. But at least I know what my social and political pain and suffering is worth.

(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.)