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.
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