Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Great Imperialist

Three young women stand huddled on the corner of State and Jackson in downtown Chicago. The middle one holds a cell phone. They all stare at the screen.

“Excuse me,” the middle one says to me as I pass. I can tell she’s about to ask me for directions. I’m flattered. I’m always flattered when pedestrians look past my crippledness and ask me for directions. It shows that they think I look like the type of guy who knows his way around, even though I’m crippled. It gives me hope for humanity.

The middle one says, “Can you tell us how to find Starbucks?"

It just so happens that I’m an expert on that subject: Starbucks locations in downtown Chicago.

“Well,” I say, “there’s one across the street in Barnes & Noble.”

I live on the edge of downtown Chicago. When I sit on my shower chair in my bathtub, if my bathroom door and kitchen blinds are open, I can see the logo on the Starbucks across the street. There’s nowhere to hide!

“Or,” I say, "If you go one block east to Wabash, there’s another one there.”

The thing I really hate most about Starbucks is that they’re all so goddam wheelchair accessible. I wish I could find one, just one, that isn’t accessible so I could sue the hell out of them!

“Or,” I say, "If you go one block north to Adams, there’s another one there.”

My burning desire to sue Starbucks is as fierce as my burning desire to sue a casino. Except my motivations are different. Suing a casino would bring me the same satisfaction as kicking a big, brash bully right square in the balls. Suing a Starbucks would bring me the same satisfaction as tripping a prom queen— just to show everybody that she’s not such a perfect little princess. That's the same reason I want to sue Disneyland.

“Or,” I say, "If you go three blocks north to Macy’s, there are two more in there.”

But I guess if I want to sue Starbucks, I’ll have to spill a hot drink on myself.

“Or,” I say, "If you go a half a block from Macy’s ---”

“That's all right!” the middle woman says. “We’ll go to the one across the street. Thank you.” The light turns green and they hustle off.

But wait a minute! I was just getting warmed up.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017


I have a hard time being a hardass with my dogs. I don’t even know what to call myself in relation to them. I sure as hell don’t want to call myself their master. I don’t even want to call myself their owner. It’s all so human centric.

I try to put myself in my dogs' shoes. My dogs don’t literally wear shoes but you know what I mean. Would I like it if the guy who walks me around called himself my master? I’d be insulted. I’d want to bite him.

I even feel guilty keeping them on a leash when they're outside. I feel like I’m treating them like hostages.

I know it’s stupid. I know they’re just dogs but I can’t help it. It’s a hang up I have. It’s a cripple thing. If there’s one thing I never ever ever want to be it’s kept. I know how it feels to be kept. And so if I treat any other creature that way, even a dog, I feel like a flaming hypocrite.

A kept cripple is very much like a kept woman, except kept women get better benefits. In exchange for surrendering her autonomy and identity for a rich benefactor, a kept woman will usually get put up in a mansion with servants at her beck and call and shit like that. At least that makes the deal somewhat attractive

But not so for kept cripples. Kept cripples are the ones who are stuck in those putrid nursing homes. In exchange for surrendering their autonomy and identity, what do they get from the rich benefactor who owns the nursing home? Well, they get one shower a week and green bologna for lunch.

But then again, more is required of a kept woman than of a kept cripple. A kept woman is expected to cater to the needs of her benefactor. Kept cripples just have to shut the fuck up and play bingo.

I was once a kept cripple. When I was a teenager, I was an inmate at a state boarding school for cripples, which I refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT). Of all the kept cripples at SHIT, the keptest were the kids they called wards of the state. They never had any family come around or anything.

But anyway, when it comes to my dogs, I suppose I could get used to calling myself their human. John, one of the members of my pit crew, says maybe I should call myself their facilitator. Sounds like a good idea.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

The March of the Penis Posse

Watch out! The March of the Penis Posse may be coming soon to your town!

The Penis Posse is a small but rapidly growing group of resentful young men who were born with a penis and say they are fighting back in the war on penises. They’re not afraid to acknowledge the fact that penises are constantly under attack in today’s emasculated society and they have all taken a solemn oath to preserve and defend the proud heritage of the penis.

The members of the Penis Posse are fiercely proud of their penises and they pledge their allegiance to them every day. This is the bond they share. Their meetings are like tent revivals. Members stand and tell the story of that glorious moment when they came to realize the full magnitude of what it means to possess a penis. It’s an exhilarating rite of passage in the life of every boy when he understands that the penis is so much more than just a funny-looking appendage and how awesome it is to have one. It’s very much like that big dramatic scene in the Miracle Worker when that brat Helen Keller finally realizes what water is.

This is why the members of the Penis Posse are not afraid to speak out against the dire threat posed the “impostors,” which is what they call all those who acquire a penis by any means other than directly from the hand of God. This, the Penis Posse believes, dishonors and dispossesses the penis. The “impostors “ are the sworn enemies of the Penis Posse.

For many years, the Penis Posse was a shadowy, underground organization. But lately they’ve been feeling emboldened because they believe they now have many kindred spirits in Washington. So they hold raucous rallies where they vow to never let the government take their penises away. They march brandishing their trademark giant papier mache penis, which looks a lot like those dragons in Chinese New Year parades, except it’s bald and white.

The mission of the Penis Posse is to “re-testosterize” America. They want to return to what they refer to as the “golden age of the penis.” They want to live in a state where possessors of biological penises are in charge, which is why they like to be referred to as penis nationalists.

Later this year, the Penis Posse plans to hold its first annual March to Reclaim the Penis, which will culminate in a rally at the Washington Monument. The event will be made possible by a generous grant from the makers of Viagra.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Way of the Polios

So here’s what makes me crippled: It turns out that my body evidently doesn’t produce survival motor neuron protein at high enough levels due to a mutation in my survival motor neuron 1 gene.

Really? That’s all it is? Sixty years and counting of dragging my crippled ass around and it’s all pretty much due to a fucking protein deficiency? Well I’ll be dipped in shit. It’s kind of like the Down Syndrome people. They all just have an extra chromosome. All the shit we give those folks and that’s the only difference between us and them.

Knowing that all I have is a protein deficiency is kind of a letdown. It makes me feel so ordinary. Some of the previous explanations for what makes a person become crippled like me were much more interesting, such as demonic possession or excessive masturbation.

And now, who knows, but maybe they’ll be able to treat my protein deficiency to the point where my species of cripple will soon become extinct. Because last December, the FDA approved a drug called Spinraza, which showed some positive results when tested on people who are crippled for the same reason I am.

So maybe someday there won’t be any new cripples like me in the pipeline and once all the old farts who have what I have die off we’ll all be gone. We will have gone the way of the polios. When I was a kid 50 years ago at the cripple school, there were polios all over the place. You couldn't spit without hitting a polio. But the only polios you see in these parts these days are old farts. And once they die off, the only place you’ll see polios anymore will be in old black-and-white photos. It’s true, however, that the polios could always make a comeback because, technically, they aren’t extinct.

But the sliptos are an extinct species of cripple. Back in cripple school about 50 years ago, there were these kids who’d show up one day walking on crutches with one leg tied behind their backs. They walked that way because they’d fucked up their hip somehow and their condition had some weird medical name that sounded like Slipped Hippy-feces. So we just called them sliptos. Gradually, these kids got better and returned to walking like regular kids walk so they were allowed to return to the schools for regular kids. You never see sliptos anymore. Either kids no longer fuck up their hips that way or if they do there’s a better way to fix it that doesn’t require them to walk around on crutches for a year with one leg tied behind their back.

Knowing that cripples like me could soon be extinct is kind of a letdown too. It feels weird to picture everybody looking at black-and-white photos of us and being glad we’re gone.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Jimmy the Badass Bleeder

There were some kids back in cripple elementary school that even I felt sorry for. I felt sorry for the bleeders, better known as the hemophiliacs. I mean, all the kids who were sent away to cripple school were considered to be “fragile,” but they were the fragilest

Nobody wanted to even come near those kids because we all feared that if we touched a bleeder the wrong way they would gush blood from the nearest orifice like a geyser. Nobody had ever actually seen one of the bleeder kids gush blood, but nobody wanted to be the first to find out if it was true.

The bleeders weren’t allowed to play any rough games like dodgeball in PE. That’s another reason I felt sorry for them. The fun games in PE were the rough games. But the bleeder kids were only allowed to keep score or play checkers with the brittle bones kids, who also weren’t allowed to play any rough games.

One of the most legendary kids at the cripple elementary school was Jimmy the Badass Bleeder. He was an older kid, like a seventh grader, so he mostly hung around the other end of the school which was fine with me because I was afraid of him. It seemed like every week a buzz went around the school about how Jimmy was sent to the principal’s office again for trying to pick a fight with someone. It was a win/win situation for Jimmy. He knew he could be any kind of asshole he wanted to be to the other crippled kids and nobody would fight back because imagine the kind of trouble you could get into if you punched out a bleeder and he gushed blood all over the place. You could probably get sent to the electric chair for something like that!

Legend had it that Jimmy was a punk who tripped kids and snatched away their lunches and stuff like that. If everybody was going to be afraid of him, he wanted it to be for the right reason, dammit! It was gonna be on his terms.

Well then one day Jimmy was gone. I don’t think he graduated so he must’ve gotten kicked out. That made him even more legendary because it was pretty damn hard to get kicked out of the cripple school. You’d have to be a super badass to make that happen. I don’t know what became of him. I imagine he’s dead because he could only successfully pull off his particular badass bit if everybody he picked a fight with first knew he was a bleeder. So unless he always wore a t-shirt that said CAUTION: I’M A BLEEDER, no doubt somebody punched him out. Did he gush blood all over the place?

(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.)