Sunday, March 18, 2018

Brilliance and Luck

For millions of cripples like me, Stephen Hawking was an example of how even a really really crippled person can rise above all obstacles and achieve great notoriety, as long as they’re the smartest person in the whole fucking universe.

But actually, even that wasn’t enough. No one would have known or cared how smart he was if he hadn’t been lucky, too. He was lucky that he wasn’t born as crippled as he was, or else he would probably have been sent off to a place like the state-operated boarding school for cripples I attended, which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT). There were lots of kids there who couldn’t walk or talk or move much, like him. Nobody took them seriously. The staff gave them the basics— dress them, feed them, hose them down, place them in the TV room during idle hours.

None of his fellow inmates would’ve taken him seriously either. In fact, we would have avoided him. I know I would have. There were no big-time cripples like him in my clique, just like there were no cripples like me in the clique of the crippled jocks. In gym class, no one would have chosen him for their team. But eventually the staff would have compelled us to include him in our games. So I guess if the game was wheelchair soccer or hockey, we would’ve parked him in front of a net, called him a goalie and hoped for the best.

The teachers wouldn’t have taken him seriously either. He probably would’ve spent the day in a time-killing classroom learning about colors. No one ever would’ve ever suspected that a kid like him could be pondering the cosmos.

The doctors wouldn’t have taken him seriously either. They would’ve all said he’s going to die any minute now. Oh wait, the doctors said that about him anyway. Never mind.

And the social workers also wouldn’t have taken him seriously. Once he reached age 21 and could no longer stay at SHIT, they would have sent to a nursing home, where he would be fed and dressed and hosed down and placed in the TV room during idle hours.

But Stephen Hawking was a lucky man. By the time he became crippled, everybody already knew how fucking brilliant he was. So he could not be denied. Everyone had no choice but to take him seriously, whether they liked it or not.

Lucky for all of us it worked out that way. But too bad for those cripples who went to SHIT who weren’t the smartest person in the whole fucking universe. Or maybe they were. Who knows?

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