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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