Saturday, August 31, 2019

Madame Curie's Dirty Little Secret

Every veteran wheelchair cripple has been forced at some point to play a game I call, “Where’s the phantom person with the key?” You’re rolling along just minding your own business and you are confronted by steps. Ah but never fear. There’s one of those wheelchair lifts to take you up or down to the next level.

Now all you have to do is find the person who has the key to operate the damn thing. And that person is never anywhere to be found. They’re always on lunch break or in the bathroom or taking a six-month world cruise or whatever. And they always took the key with them.

A few years back one of my friends who’s a veteran wheelchair cripple moved into a building with one of those lifts on the entrance. So building management gave her a copy of the key. One day her husband was talking to a guy doing maintenance on the lift and the maintenance guy let him in on a dirty little secret. Before I reveal it I will give my friend a Smart Ass Cripple alias because I fear that now that she is blowing the whistle there could be a price on her head. So I’ll call her Madame Curie.

Anyway, the dirty little secret the maintenance guy revealed to Madame Curie's husband is that the lift key is universal. One size fits all!

Since then Madame Curie has used her key to operate several lifts she’s encountered while out and about and it’s worked every time! She’s no longer at the mercy of the phantom person with the key!

Not only that but Madame Curie is going around liberating other cripples by making copies of her key and giving them away to those who might need them. And every grateful recipient who’s reported back to her so far has said the key has worked every time.

I told another friend about Madame Curie’s magic keys. This guy used to work on road construction crews and he said he found out the same secret about Caterpillar construction vehicles. The same ignition key works on every one.

Oh shit! I’ve probably said way too much! If you don’t hear from me you’ll know what happened. I’ve gone into witness protection.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Cool Stuff I Got Because I Bitched, Volume II

Cripples have plenty to bitch about. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming. It makes you feel like going home and hiding under the bed to avoid the bombardment. You’re tired of bitching. You feel all bitched out.

That’s why every now and then I pause and take stock of all the cool stuff I got because I took the time to bitch. It reminds me that it pays to bitch.

Here’s some cool stuff I got because I bitched:

A free feast at Sears Tower with a panoramic view of Chicago
. Back in the 1980s, not a single public transit bus was wheelchair accessible. So a bunch of us cripples got together and bitched about it in an adult, civilized way. We sued the Chicago Transit Authority. Well for a couple years the CTA board of directors fought back hard, just to be pricks. They couldn’t help it. It was their instinct. Whenever CTA board members felt threatened, the acted like pricks. But after we won some court victories, even they were smart enough to realize that the tried-and-true prick strategy wasn’t working. So they did a complete 180 and invited us to a settlement conference. It was held in the conference room of some big shot law firm way up in Sears Tower. It had a panoramic view of the city and there was a ton of food all laid out fancy on a buffet with a white tablecloth. I remember whole salmon on silver platters, mounds of fresh fruit. As I ate like a pig for free, I said to myself, “Aren’t you glad you bitched?" And now all the buses are accessible.

Free tickets to four Bulls games. Also back in the 1980s, the Bulls played in the Chicago Stadium, which was built in the 1920s. So there wasn’t a single damn wheelchair seat in the whole place. So if a cripple showed up they’d sit us on what was the ice for hockey games. It was almost like having a courtside seat. So I‘d do what a lot of cripples did and purchase the cheapest ticket for Row Z of the upper balcony. And since the ushers couldn’t get me up there they’d just shrug and sit me on the ice and I’d get a courtside seat at a nose bleed price. Well one time an usher told me if I tried to pull that stunt again he’d make me buy a courtside ticket. So I filed a complaint. By the time that all played out a new stadium was built with lots of wheelchair seating. So part of my settlement was tickets to four games.

A $100 discount on a United Airlines flight ticket
. When I fly and the plane lands, first every other passenger gets off. Then I wait for the baggage people to bring up my wheelchair so I can get off. Well one time it took about an hour for my chair to arrive. I was so hoppin’ made that by the time I got into the terminal I was spitting sparks. I said I wanted to see a supervisor and when she arrived she immediately offered me a discount coupon for $100 off my next flight. So I took it. Maybe I could’ve held out for more. I don’t know. But I figured I‘d save up some bitching energy for the next time.

And so the moral of the story is, keep bitching, my friends.

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

Friday, August 16, 2019

I'm Not Amused

When you’re as crippled as I am, who needs amusement parks? Life is just one big rollercoaster ride. And I don’t mean just emotionally so.

I hate amusement parks because the big features are the rollercoasters and I don’t find them at all amusing. My balance is so fucked up. The wind can knock me over. So putting me on a rollercoaster is like putting Raggedy Andy on a coked-up rodeo bull. I'm bound to end up with whiplash and brain injuries. Maybe that’s some people’s measure of whether or not they had a good time, but not mine.

And for me, going to the damn drug store can be like a rollercoaster ride. There I am maneuvering my wheelchair down a sidewalk and all of a sudden a big drop off threatens to pitch my torso forward. Or a sudden slant lurches me sideways. Or a big chunk of the pavement is all chopped up so driving over it is bumpy as hell and I’m hanging on tight, trying not to be pitched or lurched. Or if I really want to go for a kamikaze thrill ride guaranteed to upset my delicate equilibrium, all I have to do is drive over gravel or some evil shit like that.

It's me versus gravity. There’s nothing amusing about it.

I’m challenged by pretty much any surface that’s less smooth and even than a basketball court. And at least when I ‘m out and about in my chair I’m the guy operating the rollercoaster. So when I hit the rough patches I can slow way down to minimize the impact. That’s quite unlike those sadistic mofos who control amusement park rollercoasters. They go full throttle down the steepest inclines and barrel around the sharpest turns.

So when I’m aiming to have a good time, I want to get far away from all of that rollercoaster shit. I don’t know, maybe I’d go to an amusement park that wasn’t quite so amusing and didn’t have any rollercoasters. Is there such a thing? I guess it would be called a bemusement park.

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

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Cripples as Billboards

Here’s a new thing that gets me all riled up! I’m seeing more and more people working as sign holders. They stand on the sidewalk brandishing a brightly-colored sign that says something like Going Out of Business Sale and there’s an arrow on the sign pointing in the direction of the sale.

Apparently some new market research must show that a human holding up a sign draws more attention to that sign than simply erecting it. This seems like a good way to put a lot of cripples to work. Hell, I could do that job easy. Just attach a sign to my chair and I can sit there for hours doing nothing. I’m good at that. And I’ve got a lot of experience carrying protest signs. I'm sure there are tons of cripples with the same unique qualifications

And I guarantee you more people will look at us than they’ll look at some everyday mope carrying the same sign. But that may the reason why I‘ve never been seen a crippled sign holder, even though it’s the cripple dream job. I bet that same market research says that the perfect sign holder looks nondescript, so as not to draw focus away from the sign. A lot of passersby will take note if I’m carrying a sign, but are they staring at me or the sign? What will be their takeaway?

I bet the people who hire sign holders are purposely freezing out cripples for that reason. They’re afraid we’re going to upstage their signs. That sucks. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission really ought to look into it.

It riles me up to the point of wanting to start my own business, just to show all those fuckers that they can’t treat cripples like that! I feel like writing on the back of my wheelchair Place Your Ad Here. I’ll be glad to roll around displaying a Budweiser logo, for the right price.

I bet soon I’d have a whole fleet of cripples renting out advertising space on their wheelchairs. Why not? We’ll be like cabs with signs on their roofs. Or how about what they do with city buses sometimes? The wrap a skin around the whole damn bus and turn it into a rolling billboard for the Lion King.

I can do that too! I’ll happily let my chair be wrapped in a skin and become a rolling Lion King billboard. I’d love to get in on some of that Disney cash! I can even do better than the city buses. I can wear a lion suit, thus making myself a three-dimensional billboard.

I’m not too proud! I’ll do anything, for the right price.

(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.)

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