Sunday, May 29, 2016

Big Cripple on Campus

There’s a very scary neighborhood on the north side of town. I try to avoid going there at all costs.

In this neighborhood is a gated community that looks like a cozy gingerbread village. It’s a home for rescue cripples. It’s run by nuns.

In this gingerbread bread village I imagine they treat their rescue cripples like I treat my rescue dog. I treat my rescue dog very well. He gets plenty of food. He has a warm bed and an arsenal of toys. My rescue dog is well taken care of. But I never let him outside without a leash. First and foremost, I must keep him safe.

He’s a rescue dog because somebody gave him up. But that’s okay. There are plenty of people who take in dogs like him. And I call the cripples in the gingerbread village rescue cripples because somebody gave them up. And the nuns took them in.

Seeing that gingerbread village unsettles me so much because I think of how with a wee twist of fate I could’ve ended up as one of those rescue cripples. There but for the grace of the fictitious God go I. When I was a kid my mother hauled my crippled ass everywhere. And my crippled sister’s ass too. My mother got us dressed and out of bed and flung us into the car and flung our wheelchairs into the tailgate and drove us around. But suppose my mother got run over by a bus or just threw her back out or something. Bam! That’s it! My sister and I become instant rescue cripples. At that time about the only option for a crippled kid or adult with no family to take care of them was to surrender to the nuns.

And living in a place like that, I never would’ve gotten laid. That’s probably the number one responsibility of nuns and others who watch over flocks of rescue cripples —to make sure nobody gets laid. It’s the opposite of panda breeding. We put pandas in captivity together because we want them to fuck and multiply. We put rescue cripples in captivity together because we don’t want them to fuck. The involuntary vow of chastity is easily enforced. I don’t imagine rescue cripples get many opportunities to get laid. I don’t think the rescue cripple group field trips go to singles’ bars. And nobody who’s out cruising to get laid stops by the home for rescue cripples. And if they did I’d wonder about them. It would be the old Groucho dilemma: I wouldn’t join a club that would have me as a member.

And who knows, if I ended up in the gingerbread village I might’ve been the big cripple on campus, what with my leadership abilities and all-- president of the residents’ council, the whole works. And today I’d be the venerable elder statesman. I might have adjusted to the rescue cripple lifestyle quite nicely and lived a safe and comfortable life, never knowing what I was missing.

And that’s what scares me most.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Very Important First Responder Saves the World with an Assist from Smart Ass Cripple

I like to think that because I rode a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus one day a few years back, I probably saved the world. Or at least I should be credited with an assist. The guy who probably saved the world that day couldn’t have done it without my help.

Because when I ride the bus it takes me a minute or so longer to board than it takes the average biped. The bus driver flips a switch that deploys a ramp. I roll aboard. I maneuver into one of the wheelchair slots. While I was doing all this, this guy came running from around the corner. He waved his arms frantically like people do when they’re running to catch the bus. And judging by the look of urgency on his face, he was a very important first responder on his way to thwart an imminent terrorist attack and if he didn’t catch this very bus it would mean certain annihilation for us all! Now of course it’s true that everybody running to catch a city bus has that same look on their face. But maybe this time it was actually the case.

The guy caught the bus. And a few blocks later he got off. And there was no terrorist attack that day.

But he never would’ve caught the bus if it hadn’t been for me. If this had been the dark days of about 30 short years ago, when there were no CTA buses accessible for wheelchair cripples, that bus would have been long gone. And the terrorists would’ve won! Because there wouldn’t have been anyone like me in the mix to clog up the works long enough for the important first responder to catch that bus. Back in the dark days, while everyone else rode the CTA, the acronym for the public transit system for wheelchair cripples in Chicago was SOL. And there were some politicians and media people who thought that making mainline buses accessible for wheelchair cripples to ride them was a really stupid idea. They issued dire warnings in the newspapers about how wheelchair cripples will clog up the works if we let them ride the CTA. Wheelchair cripples will wreak havoc on the precisely-timed bus schedules with our poky asses, they said. This will lead to rioting in the streets followed by widespread looting and arson, the collapse of the western economy and decades of famine. At the time, my only rebuttal to those harboring this selfish attitude was as follows: Fuck off. But now, after many years of riding CTA buses, I have formulated an additional rebuttal for the selfish: For every passenger who gets to their destination later than they would have if a wheelchair cripple hadn't clogged up the works, there’s another passenger who gets to their destination a lot sooner than they would have if a wheelchair cripple hadn’t clogged up the works. So fuck off.

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Technically Human

In the top rank among the humans are the presumed humans. These are the humans who are humans by default. We know they are humans because they have a pulse. That’s the only qualification they need. They can pass Go. They can collect their $200.

Then come the declared humans. For them to enter the game, just having a pulse isn’t sufficient. They also require some sort of official action, be it legislative or judicial or what have you, declaring that they too are technically human to some degree or another. Presumed humans need not obtain any such additional credentials to establish their legitimacy. There has never been a need for a White Male Landowners Civil Right Act.

Being a cripple in the U.S.A., I am a declared human. I know that I am officially human because the Americans with Disabilities Act says I am human, more or less. The ADA declares that in the U.S.A., the uncrippled majority must accommodate the needs of cripples. Ah but there are caveats. Such accommodations must be “reasonable.” They must not impose an “undue” hardship or burden or cause a “fundamental alteration” in how another human conducts his/her business. So the ADA declares me to be fully human to the extent that it doesn’t inconvenience other humans too much. I must be "reasonable" about it.

So now I can pass Go. I can finally collect my $200 and I can go as far and as fast as my right to a reasonable accommodation will take me. But wait! What’s this I see? A swarm of presumed humans is coming up behind me fast! And now they’re lapping me on the game board! And they’ve already passed Go like a zillion times by now so they’ve all got about $200 zillion each! And they've already bought up all the property. But I’m just getting started! I’ll never catch up! Not even if I proceed at warp speed! And if I catch up too much the presumed humans may well accuse me of cheating. They’ll complain that I have been given an unfair advantage just because I'm crippled.

That’s how it is for us humans who had to wait to be declared. It’s a rigged race. The presumed humans have a huge head start. You've heard of that program for low income kids that’s called Head Start, right? Well I don't think it should be called that anymore. It should be called Trying Desperately to Catch the Fuck Up!

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Sunday, May 8, 2016

How to Recognize Missionary Love

Missionary love is a very dangerous thing. Don’t be a victim of missionary love. It’s important to know what missionary love is so you can protect yourself from it.

Missionary love is not when the man is always on top setting the pace and driving the action. That’s missionary sex. Missionary love is the opposite of unconditional love. Missionary love, by its nature, is very very conditional. Missionary love is an oxymoron.

Missionary love is humane dehumanization. Missionary love is the missionary brand of love. How do missionaries decide which far-flung locale to spread their missionary love? They don’t just close their eyes and stick a pin in the map. They pick places inhabited by poor doomed savages who haven’t heard the word of whatever brand of savior they are peddling. And the missionaries come and roll up their sleeves and serve the people. But they want something in return. There’s a reason they chose these particular savages. They want to save their souls. And when they do, mission accomplished.

Imperialistic corporate mega conglomerate love is also missionary love. How do imperialistic corporate mega conglomerates decide which far-flung locale to spread their love? They don’t just close their eyes and stick a pin in the map. Let’s say it’s an oil company. If an oil company chooses to invest zillions of bucks in your area, it’s not because they think you have a cute smile. It’s because you have oil. They want your oil and they want it all. And when they get it, mission accomplished.

And crippled poster child love is missionary love, especially when it’s another permutation of imperialistic corporate mega conglomerate missionary love, which it usually is. I was once a poster child so whenever I see smiling CEOs presenting crippled poster children with a cardboard check that’s the size of a billboard, it’s a surefire indicator that this is a textbook case of imperialistic corporate mega conglomerate missionary crippled poster child love. There’s a reason these CEOs choose these particular poster children to receive their cardboard checks and their missionary love. The CEOs want something from the poster children in return. They want their poster child innocence. They want whatever product or service they’re peddling to be associated with something so unassailably pure. And when they get it, mission accomplished.

Because I was a crippled poster child, I can recognize missionary love. It’s missionary love when it’s on a mission.

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Glass Ceiling Cripples

I imagine women aren’t the only victims of the glass ceiling. The upper region of the corporate hierarchy must be a brutal terrain for anyone who isn’t male or white or Christian or straight. So no doubt corporate cripples are in that same rocky boat.

I imagine there are corporate cripples who make $92 million a year and resent the fact that some uncrippled bozo who works half as hard they do has a corner office and makes $95 million. And that’s not fair, I guess. I mean, technically, discrimination is discrimination is discrimination. It can be neither condoned nor tolerated in any form or on any level, right? Whenever you hurt my crippled brother you hurt me too and blah blah blah.

I’ve never met a glass ceiling cripple, or at least not one who is out of the closet about it. But there must some out there. It's impossible for there not to be. That’s just how things work. On the other hand, I’ve met tons of cripples on the opposite end of the getting-fucked-over spectrum. Screw the glass ceiling. These cripples are worried about the creaky floor. Whenever they move, the floorboards beneath them buckle and crack and moan. If the floor collapses these cripples will plummet into a bottomless pit of poverty hell. No cripple wants to go back there again.

It took a long time and a lot of people to build that floor. The major floorboards are stuff like Medicaid and Medicare and Social Security. But suppose some of those assholes in Washington finally get their way someday and the operation of all those things is turned over to Wall Street. Yikes! That’s like withdrawing all the money that funds those programs from the bank, converting it into $100 bills and dumping it all out of a helicopter hovering over a country club. Oh yeah baby! Make it raaaaaaaaain!

And how about those other assholes in the state capitols who insist that the cost of keeping up this floor is what’s driving us all to bankruptcy. They'd just as soon let the floor rot away. So they won’t even do routine maintenance. Those guys are no better than fucking slumlords.

I shouldn’t be so dismissive about glass ceiling discrimination. Someday maybe I’ll be in a position to experience it myself and then I’ll understand how it really feels. I doubt that will ever happen to me but who knows. Maybe it will, if I keep wishing hard enough.

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