Sunday, October 30, 2016

Smart Ass Cripple's Imaginary Commencement Address to all the State Schools for Cripples

I’m a proud graduate of a state-operated boarding school for cripples which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT). If someone organized a reunion of my graduating class, it wouldn’t take much work. It could probably be held at the nearest Starbucks because there were only nine people in my graduating class. We were lucky to have a commencement at all. A lot of these state cripple schools don’t have a commencement because commencement comes from the word commence, which means you’re going somewhere. Cripples in state schools ain’t hardly going anywhere, which is why it makes me laugh when those places are often referred to as “developmental” centers. What the hell is any cripple dumped in a state school developing, besides butt callouses?

It’s too bad for me that cripple schools like SHIT don’t have commencements because I could turn it into a speaking circuit and cash in big. I could bill myself as a cripple school “success story.” I know that’s hilarious, but it’s a low bar to clear.

My speech would be entitled “Survival in the Wild.” What would I say to these commencing cripples to best arm them for life in the wild? Well, first I would tell them that they can do anything! All they have to do is try. And then I’d say sorry, that was a joke. Nobody can do anything. Not even the verts (which is short for verticals, which is slang for people who walk.) But if you poke around enough you might find something useful to do and maybe if you’re lucky it’ll even be sort of fun. And then I’d tell them that whatever it is they do, don’t fuck it up. Because all other cripples to come will be judged by whether they succeed or fail. If they fuck it up no other cripple may ever get another opportunity to try. So they’d better work twice as hard as all the verts just to prove they’re half as good.

And then I’d say sorry, that was a joke too. Not the stuff about all other cripples being judged. That shit’s for real. But the part about working twice as hard as a result. That's the joke. I’d say unto the commencing cripples that if anybody tries to put a stupid idea like that into their heads, there’s a mantra that has always served Smart Ass Cripple well when he needs to summon the strength to persevere. Two little words: bull shit. Or is that one little word? I can never remember if that’s one word or two. Same thing with the word asshole. Asshole sounds like it should be one word, but maybe it’s two. You’d think that as often as I write those words I’d have them memorized like my middle name. So hold on a minute while I look them up. Wow! Turns out bullshit and asshole are both indeed one word. I’ll have to figure out a way to remember that, some kind of mnemonic device or something.

So I’d tell the commencing cripples to always remember that one little word: bullshit. There will be many situations in the wild where that word will come in handy. Like suppose you want a job so vocational rehab gets you a position as a grocery bagger. Now Lord knows the world needs good grocery baggers. Grocery baggers are very much like toilet paper. We don’t fully realize how important they are until they’re not there. But suppose you suck at grocery bagging or you just don’t like it so you quit or you’re fired. Voc rehab will probably write you off as “unemployable.” The key to surviving a trauma like that is to remember the magic word: bullshit. If you suck at being a grocery bagger, it doesn’t mean you automatically suck at everything else. All it means is that you suck at being a grocery bagger.

So always keep that word nearby, I’d say to the commencing cripples, for you will encounter many such hostile attitudes in the wild. You will encounter many a beast who will try to convince you that if you demand respect and accommodation, you are unreasonable and, worse yet, ungrateful. They’ll try to convince you that you belong in a “developmental center.”

Just say it to yourself: bullshit. Say it over and over. Now say it out loud. Good! Now say it so everybody can hear it. Bullshit! That word will fortify you. It will keep you on course.

Ah but who am I kidding. There never will be such a thing as a state school commencement address speaking circuit. It’s all just a fantasy, my futile dream of riches.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Smart Ass Cripple Inspires Youth with his Courage

At first, when I received the congratulatory call, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I thought maybe it was a joke. And if it wasn’t a joke, should I be insulted?

“Congratulations! The Low Standards Society has selected you as its 2016 Man of the Year!”

But once I understood the unique, humanitarian mission of the Low Standards Society, I realized that this was indeed a unique honor. I would play and integral role in helping carry out the that mission, which is simply “to make all young people feel better about themselves.” Who can argue with that?

And the Low Standards Society strives to accomplish this lofty goal by “working tirelessly and diligently to lower the standards by which human society defines achievement. We seek to inspire youth, our greatest natural resource, to work to realize their full potential by making achievement more achievable.”

I know exactly what they mean. The writers that have always most inspired me are not the great writers but the ones that really suck. Like suppose I go see a play that’s really great. Afterward, I’ll say to myself, “Jesus, I’ll never be able to write as well as that guy. I’m might as well give the fuck up!” And I go home feeling all daunted and intimidated and shit. But if the play sucks big time, I say to myself, “Jesus, I could write something better than that piece of crap with one hand tied behind my back. So could a chimp on barbiturates.” And I go home feeling all inspired to write. Maybe getting a play produced is much easier than I thought.

So, when viewed through that lens, it makes perfect sense that the Low Standards Society would choose me as its Man of the Year. According to the selection committee, I was chosen because I am a “symbol of courage” who “finds the inner strength to tackle the challenges of each new day.” I’m not sure what they mean by that. The challenges I tackle most days are pretty much stuff like eating, talking on the phone, writing silly shit on my laptop and taking a dump. But when you’re crippled, I guess that’s good enough to make you a courageous overachiever.

So youth from all over the world will see me and feel motivated and inspired. They’ll say to themselves, “Well hell, if that guy’s courageous, I must be Superman. If that’s all it takes to win, deal me in!”

It will be my job as the reigning Low Standards Man of the Year to conduct myself in a manner that lowers the standards by which we measure courage and achievement even lower. I’m sure I’ll be up for the task.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Endless Cripple Bread Lines

The problem with cripples is we don’t riot enough. I don’t think we’ve ever rioted at all. I’ve never read any accounts of a pissed off gang of cripples rioting in the streets. Have you?

What causes riots is resource shortages and rationing. People get tired of waiting in bread lines or whatever kind of waiting lines and they start rioting. There’s nary a cripple in America that isn’t waiting in some sort of waiting line. And it’s not as if it’s a waiting line for cotton candy. We’re waiting for important shit, like food and shelter.

Every year United Cerebral Palsy puts out a report called The Case for Inclusion, which measures how well Medicaid programs in different states are serving cripples. The report that just came out says almost 350,000 people are on a waiting list for home and community-based services, which is 28,000 more than last year.

That means that when cripples went last year to the state agencies that spend Medicaid money and asked for assistance so they can live somewhere other than a goddam soul-crushing nursing home or in the crawl space of the house of their 90-year-old parents, the agency told more than a quarter of a million of them to go sit in the corner and shut up and wait. Wait for how long? Five years? Ten years? Maybe. Maybe longer.

A quarter of a million cripples is a whole lot of cripples! That’s almost as many as it takes to screw in a light bulb. So yeah, cripples have been waiting in our own unique bread lines for as long as there have been cripples. They’re just not the kind of bread lines that people who aren’t waiting in them can see. These a bureaucratic bread lines. And those are the worst kind. It means that the odds of anyone besides those of us waiting getting worked up enough to riot about it are small.

So we can’t rely on others to do our rioting for us. We have to do it ourselves. I know that rioting, like everything else, is a much more perilous task when you’re crippled. It’s hard to throw a Molotov cocktail with any accuracy if you’re spastic. Rioting is physically and emotionally exhausting. But so is waiting in line. It seems to me that uncrippled people have a much lower breaking point when it comes to waiting it line. Hell, I’ve seen them snap after five minutes in the grocery checkout line. But cripples wait patiently for decades. And the lines are getting the longer. I don’t know what it is about us. Maybe it’s evolution. Maybe our crippled ancestors spent so much time waiting that modern Homo sapiens crippleus have an overdeveloped waiting gene.

Whatever it is, I think it’s time to consider some rioting and maybe a little looting too. A horde of cripples rampaging through the Apple store is bound to get somebody’s attention, or certainly a lot more than politely waiting ever has.

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Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Association of Bedridden Skydivers

I’m so excited! Soon I’ll be jumping out of an airplane for the first time as a member of the Association of Bedridden Skydivers!

I’m not really bedridden, but I’m faking like I am so they’ll let me join. Because I might be bedridden someday. You never know. Anyone might be someday. And I’m a proactive type of guy so I think it’s important that I practice a little at being bedridden. I should build up my callouses, so to speak.

Now if you’re like me, when you first hear about the Association of Bedridden Skydivers it conjures an image of cripples in special parachute-equipped hospital beds being shoved out of airplanes. But don’t worry. The Association of Bedridden Skydivers doesn’t put cripples, society’s most vulnerable citizens, in harm’s way. Bedridden skydiving is the only skydiving that’s 100 percent safe because they Skype you in. It’s like when you take your first skydive and you’re strapped to the body of a pro skydiver. The Association of Bedridden Skydivers buddies up a pro skydiver with a bedridden cripple and that skydiver jumps out of the plane wearing a helmet with a special camera embedded in it and that's how the bedridden cripple goes along for the jump without leaving the bedroom. If the bedridden cripple wants to enhance the experience, she/he can wear a helmet and jumpsuit while lying in bed. But it’s certainly not required.

There was a time when I wouldn’t be caught dead doing something like bedridden skydiving. I had a strong aversion to doing the virtual stuff a lot of cripples do, like going to college on the internet for example. If I can’t do the real thing, I said to myself, I don’t want to do it at all! To me, doing virtual stuff was akin to masturbation. But that was back at a time when I had a much lower opinion than I do now of masturbation. Things began to change when I allowed myself to consider the virtues of masturbation. For one thing, masturbation is always consensual. And there’s never any trafficking involved. So if you can see past the shame conspiracy surrounding masturbation, you’ll view it guilt-free sex fun. That’s why a lot of super religious people are so freaked out about masturbation. They don’t want anyone to believe that there can be such a thing as guilt-free sex fun.

That’s how I came to change my perspective on masturbation. And I figure I’ll come to change my perspective on doing the virtual stuff a lot of cripples do in the same way. I’ll convince myself that if I really want to do it, I ought to just do it. Why let foolish pride get in the way of having fun?

This change of attitude will probably expedite my period of adjustment should I ever become bedridden. I’ll spend less time lying there stoic, proud, uncompromising and bored out of my fucking mind.

And if I really enjoy the Association of Bedridden Skydivers, I’ll probably sign up for the Association of Bedridden NASCAR Drivers and the Association of Bedridden Bullfighters.

(Smart Ass Cripple is completely reader supported. Purchasing Smart Ass Cripple books at, subscribing on Amazon Kindle and filling the tip jar keeps us going. Please help if you can.)