Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Report on the Ponderings of the Distinguished Fellows of the Smart Ass Cripple Institute

Recently I convened the first official meeting of the distinguished fellows who are members of my think tank, the Smart Ass Cripple Institute. My distinguished fellows are all distinguished, but they certainly are not all fellows. What fun would that be?

My fellows and I did what think tank thinkers do. We thought about stuff. But first, in order to get our minds in the right mode, we passed around a bong.

And soon we wondered if anybody ever stuffed young Helen Keller into a steamer trunk and dragged it out to the barn. Because in the movie The Miracle Worker, Helen Keller sure was an enormous brat. She threw flailing tantrums that could set off a tsunami. Now maybe that tantrum stuff was “literary license." That’s what they call it when writers make shit up about the lives of famous people to make them more interesting. Maybe Helen Keller was an angel. But probably not. Chances are a kid who’s deaf and blind will throw a few tantrums. And everybody wants to cut a kid like that some slack but you can only take so much. Surely somebody was tempted to stuff her into a steamer trunk and drag it out to the barn. But did anybody actually do it?

Being the distinguished fellows that we are, we researched this question. We googled up Helen+Keller+brat+steamer+trunk. Our search yielded no definitive answer. So one of the distinguished fellows made a motion that we think about something else. It passed unanimously.

And then we found ourselves thinking about think tanks and how they don’t mean anything unless there are “do” tanks. Thinking about stuff is all well and good, but what’s the point unless somebody does something about it? Maybe the way things are supposed to work is those of the thinking class think and don’t do and those of the doing class do and don’t think.

But that line of inquiry was getting way too heavy, so we switched to the topic of how illiterates must get sick and tired of eating hamburgers all the time. We acknowledged that it’s probably no longer acceptable to refer to people who can’t read as illiterates. But we also acknowledged that it’s hard to know what to call them because they haven’t organized as a political force with strict new etiquette rules to follow when speaking to or about them. But if they did, we surmised that maybe they’d call themselves something like nonreading Americans or, for the sake of journalistic brevity, nonreaders. Whatever you call them, when they go to restaurants they must order hamburgers all the time because they don’t want to let on that they can’t read the menu. But then one of the distinguished fellows offered a solution: when nonreaders go to restaurants, they should carry white canes and fake like they’re blind. If you can’t read a menu because you’re blind, there’s no shame in that. You have a good excuse. It’s okay to ask the server or someone to read it for you. You can be forgiven.

We also thought about a whole bunch of other stuff that was really interesting at the time but I can’t remember any of it anymore. And then we ordered pizza.

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