Wednesday, December 23, 2020

My Fairy Godmother Wheelchair Repair Fantasy

 Any cripple will tell you that when your motorized wheelchair breaks it’s depressing as all hell because you know you’ll probably be dead in the water for at least a month.

Because first you have to call the wheelchair repair company and they’re all big corporations which means that they are prohibited, by law, from giving a shit about their customers. Even if you know that your problem is that you blew out a motor and you need a new one and you tell the wheelchair repair company that when you call, they’ll still make you make an appointment to have one of their tech people come to your house to figure out what’s wrong. And a week later (if you’re lucky) the tech person shows up and determines that you blew out a motor and you need a new one.

So then the wheelchair repair company has to get the new motor from the wheelchair manufacturer and the wheelchair manufacturers are even bigger corporations who have somehow figured out a way to give even less of a shit. They know they’ve got you by the scrotum when it comes to wheelchair parts so they charge like $500 for a screw.

So then you have to try to get a third party to pay for your repair job, like your insurance company or Medicaid. And oh man, those are both big corporations, too, so God knows how long it’ll take to get payment approval, if you get payment approval.

But before a third party will even think about giving you payment approval, you’ll have to furnish them with a note from your doctor certifying that repairing your wheelchair is “medically necessary.” And sometimes doctors can be big corporations, too, so who knows how long that will take.

That’s why I wish to hell there was some kind of emergency roadside assistance for busted wheelchairs. Something like the AAA, except maybe the AWA. One time I locked my keys in my car like a dumbass but all I had to do was make a call (I think the number was 1-800-DUMBASS) and soon a guy came and jimmied open my door. If life was at all fucking fair, whenever I blow out a motor on my wheelchair I’d just make a call and some guy would be there fast and install a new motor. And the service call and parts and labor would alll be free. And there wouldn’t be membership fees either. Otherwise AWA would probably turn into a big corporation.  

If I had a fairy godmother, all I’d ask of her is that whenever my wheelchair breaks it gets fixed right away with no muss, no fuss, no fees and no doctor’s notes. She'd just tap my chair with her wand and poof, it's all fine. When my wheelchair is working , everything else in life is pretty much gravy.

My fairy godmother would probably laugh it up with her fairy godmother friends about how boring I am, but I don’t care. 

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Monday, December 14, 2020

A Patch of Cripple Blue



I found this hilarious patch many years ago at some weird store somewhere. The background of the patch was that unique shade of blue that you always see behind that white stick figure guy in a wheelchair on access signs. I call that shade of blue cripple blue.

The stick figure guy in the wheelchair on the patch was smoking a bong with the letters THC on it. And across the top of the patch it said CRIPPLED.

So I bought the patch and had someone sew it onto the backpack that hung on the back of my wheelchair and I proudly displayed it. People often asked me what the patch meant and I always had to say that I didn’t know. I surmised that maybe it was some sort of stoner slang, like when you’re really really stoned you say, “Oh man, I’m sooooo crippled!”

But anyway, I was out and about one glorious summer day, rolling down a bustling sidewalk in Chicago and I heard a voice from behind shout out, “Hey cripple!”

I decided to just ignore it and keep rolling.

But then I heard it again, louder. “Hey cripple!”

At this point, I’m figuring it must be a friend of mine making all that noise. Who else would be shouting that at me in public with such bold determination?

I turned around and there were two guys hustling up to me. I didn’t know either one of them. But it was easy to tell by their grins and their bleary eyes that they were both quite stoned.

The guy on the right snorted out a laugh and said to me, “That's the funniest bumper sticker I ever saw!” And then he said, “You deserve one of these!”

He reached out and held a one-hitter in front of my mouth. The other guy reached out and lit a lighter.

But I hesitated. I looked around. After all, we were in the middle of a bustling city sidewalk. Surely this whole encounter was being captured on some video camera.

Then the guy holding the one-hitter said, “What’re they gonna do, arrest us? Fuck ‘em, I’m a lawyer!”

So I took the hit and continued on my way. And about 15 minutes later, oh man, I was soooooooo crippled!

Well, let’s just say I was a lot more crippled than usual. 

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Monday, December 7, 2020

Tales From the Pit Crew

 I have a crew of people I hire to come to my home and help me get dressed, get out of bed, take a crap and do stuff like that. I call them my pit crew.

 Anyway, here’s a story one of them told me recently. (I’m giving him an alias to protect his identity. I’m calling him Alexander the Great.  He said he didn’t care if I protected his identity, but I’m giving him an alias anyway because I think it makes the story funnier if I do.)

 Alexander the Great just turned age 21 last March. Before that he faced a common but daunting challenge of finding a liquor store that wouldn’t card him. He heard tell of a liquor store in another neighborhood that was lax on carding because it was near a college campus. It was owned by Assyrian guys.  He went there with some underage friends and nobody got carded.  So he figured it was safe when he went back alone and picked up a six pack of Pabst.  But the guy behind the counter asked him for ID. Alexander the Great had to think fast. Since he speaks German, he put on a German accent and said he was visiting from Germany. “I do not like to carry my passport and I do not yet have American identification,” he said. As soon as he said it, Alexander the Great wished he could do it over. He was convinced that his accent was way too over-the-top generic, like Hogan’s Heroes.

The guy behind the counter had a Middle Easternish accent. “What part of Germany are you from?” he asked.

Alexander the Great made something up again. But apparently that was good enough for the guy behind the counter because he welcomed Alexander the Great to the U.S. and rang him up. The guy said his name was Faheed.

When Alexander the Great returned to the store a week or so later to get more beer, Faheed was excited to see him. There was another guy behind the counter with him. Faheed introduced the other guy to Alexander the Great as Maurice, the owner. “Maurice used to live in Germany!” Faheed said.

Oh shit, Alexander the Great thought to himself. Now my fake accent will for sure get me busted!

“Wie gehts! “ said a smiling Maurice to Alexander the Great.

“Wie gehts!” replied Alexander the Great. Maurice spoke some more German and Alexander the Great spoke German back but he was convinced that soon Maurice would realize that he wasn’t as fluent as a German citizen should be and he would be busted. But then Maurice apologized in English and said his German was rusty since he hadn’t lived there in 17 years. Alexander the Great said he’d happily converse in English from now on. He could use the practice.

Every time Alexander the Great came back to the store for more liquor, Maurice followed him around and engaged him in conversation, meaning Alexander the Great had to listen to him complain about everything. Americans are terrible drivers. The mayor is useless. But the thing he complained about with the most frequency and vigor was Muslims. They’re all evil, without exception. They’re ruining so many countries with their immigration.

Alexander the Great didn’t know how to respond to that one without getting on Maurice’s bad side. So he said, “Yes well it’s true immigration is a problem in Germany.”

And then Alexander the Great turned 21, which meant he was able to shop at all the liquor stores in his own neighborhood without pretending to be German. So he never went back to Maurice’s store, leaving Maurice and Faheed to wonder what became of their German friend.   

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Purple Haze Blasting From the Playroom

When I was a teenaged inmate in the early 1970s at the state-operated boarding school for cripples, which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT), I resided on the Alpha Beta unit. A unit consisted of two adjacent corridors with rooms that each contained two hospital beds. Each corridor bore the name of a letter of the Greek alphabet. Adjoining the corridors were community bathrooms and the houseparents’ station. The people that did stuff like help us inmates get dressed and out of bed were called our houseparents.

At the far end of each unit was a playroom. The playrooms were large community rooms with a television mounted on the wall, board games and puzzles and crayons in the closet and stuff like that.

Well one day I heard the song Purple Haze blasting from the Alpha Beta playroom. And it was loud as hell, too, as if Hendrix and his band were playing it live. But what it really was was John Robbie, one of the inmates, got his hands on the record Purple Haze and played it full blast on the playroom stereo. I figured one of the houseparents would d go down there and put a stop to it right quick, but none of them ever did.

So John Robbie blasted Purple Haze over and over, sometimes playing it 20 or 30 times in a row it seemed like. And it also seemed like this went on every day for about a month but the houseparents just ignored it and went about their business as if they were all deaf. Rumor had it that everybody was afraid-- even the houseparents—to disturb John Robbie when he was immersed in Purple Haze because he was wild-eyed like a crazy man and he’d throw something at you, like a lamp. People said John Robbie was all hopped upon acid when he was blasting Purple Haze.

I doubted that any of this was true because I never saw any evidence to back it up, such as a shattered lamp in the playroom.  And otherwise John Robbie was a pretty cordial and easygoing guy.

But all this plunged me into a whirlwind of adolescent self-reflection. Maybe that’s what happens to a guy when he gets all hopped up on acid, I thought. So maybe I should get all hopped up on acid, too, because it was so cool how John Robbie got away with blasting Purple Haze. There was no way I could get away with anything like that. If I blasted any of my records, a houseparent would immediately rush down to the playroom and put me on restriction, which was like being on house arrest in my room for a week or so.

Now of course the records I had at the time were infinitely more annoying than Purple Haze, like The Carpenters. (Ouch! I can’t believe I just admitted that!) But that was a moot point because I would never have the guts to blast my records because I was terrified of being restricted.

But John Robbie didn’t seem to give a damn about being restricted while he was blasting Purple Haze. When he blasted Purple Haze, he was taunting the houseparents, daring them to restrict him. Maybe if I got all hopped up on acid I’d overcome my paralyzing fear of being restricted and free myself up to become so cool that even the houseparents would be afraid to mess with me.

But then John Robbie suddenly stopped blasting Purple Haze. My guess is he wore a hole in the record from playing it so much. And the houseparents quietly removed the stereo from the playroom.

Consequently, I never got hopped up on acid, nor did I ever overcome my fear of being restricted. But at least I stopped listening to the Carpenters. 

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Those Fancy-Ass Indy Car Drivers



How about those fancy-ass Indy car drivers?

I have two things to say about them. First, can we even refer to those things they drive as cars? I suppose they’re cars in the sense that they have four wheels and a steering wheel and an engine. By that loose definition, a go-kart is also a car. So are some lawnmowers. But those Indy cars are more like wheeled rockets than cars. I feel the same way about those wheelchairs that wheelchair racers use. It’s hard for me to think of those things wheelchairs. Yeah, they’re chairs with wheels, but hell, the frame is triangular and when you sit in one your ass is about an inch above the ground. Nobody rides around in one of those unless they’re trying to go 500 miles an hours and win a race. No sane cripple would use a chair like that for a normal activity, like going to a drug store, unless they were some kind of super pretentious show-off.

And here’s the other thing I have to say about those fancy-ass Indy car drivers.  Put them in a motorized wheelchair and then let's see how fancy they drive! They’ll end up capsized in a ditch straight off! It’s especially true if it’s a sip-and-puff chair, where you drive the wheelchair by blowing into a tube. I have one of those sip-and-puff attachments on my chair. I call it my blower. And when I was first trying to figure out how the hell to drive with it, oh man, I wildly zigzagged all over the place like somebody trying not to be shot by a sniper. You should have seen all the gashes and scrapes I put in the walls of the hallway outside my apartment.

 And so I picture a fancy-ass Indy car driver trying to drive my wheelchair using the blower and I laugh my ass off. I wish there was an Indianapolis 500 for blower wheelchairs.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Monday, November 9, 2020

There's More Than One Way to Get Your Shoes Tied


Here I am 64 years old and I don’t know how to tie a shoe. I never learned. It’s not that I never had the opportunity to learn. I remember some occupational therapist trying hard to teach me how to tie a shoe back when I was a teenager. But I never learned.

 It wasn’t that tying shoes was too complex of a concept for me to grasp. I just resisted learning. While the OT was demonstrating the proper shoe-tying technique, I remember saying to myself, “Fuck it, I’ll just get slip-ons.”

I think the reason I refused to learn was that the OT told me that learning to tie my own shoe was an essential component of my “rehabilitation.” In other words, if I was going to have any chance of making it in the big bad world as an adult, I’d have to physically do as many things as possible for myself, such as tying my shoes.

But I guess back then, even though I was just a dumb kid, something inside me didn’t like the idea of independent shoe tying ability being considered a legitimate predictor of my future success. I’d gotten this far without tying my own shoes, with my mother and other people doing it for me. And it seemed a lot more efficient that way. It would probably take about 10 minutes or more for me to put on my own shoes because of my crippledness, whereas it took only about a minute for someone else to do it for me. That would leave me about nine minutes more time and energy each day to spend doing more important things. That’s nearly 55 hours a year. It really adds up.

So I probably decided subconsciously to roll the dice and gamble that I could get by without ever putting on my own shoes. And here I am 50 years later, not having wasted at least 2,750 hours trying to put on my own shoes, which is more than seven years. My shoes are put on my feet by the members of my pit crew, which is what I call the people I hire to come to my home and do stuff like that for me. Their wages are paid through public funds like Medicaid.

I suppose I’m supposed to be embarrassed that I don’t know how to tie a shoe. But actually, I’m kind of proud of it. It makes me a role model, in way. I show future cripplets that there’s more than one way to get your shoes tied, so to speak.

I’m content to go to my grave never knowing how to tie my shoes. In fact, that’s my goal.  

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Friday, October 30, 2020

Beating the System



I waited alone in the eye doctor’s treatment room. There was an eye chart on a lit-up screen. I figured that the when the eye doctor arrived, she would use that chart to test my vision so I pulled up close enough to it to see all the lines. And then I tried to memorize all the lines, especially the tiny lines at the bottom that I couldn’t read from across the room. That way, when the doctor tested my vision, I’d outsmart her and ace the test!

Pretty stupid, eh? I mean, what’s the point of seeing the doctor if you’re going to pretend like there’s nothing wrong?

But I couldn’t help myself. When I see an opportunity to beat the system, it’s hard for me to resist, even if doing so means shooting myself in the foot. It’s reflex. It’s a cripple thing.

It’s a cripple survival mechanism. If you’re going to live a decent life as a cripple and you’re not rich,  you’re on the lookout constantly for ways to beat the system . Because if you’re a cripple trying to live a decent life and you’re not rich, a lot of systems are rigged against you.  

Take, for example, Medicaid. If you’re a cripple trying to live a decent life and you’re not rich, you often can't get a lot of important stuff you need (like healthcare and wheelchairs and people to come to your home and help you get in and out of bed) unless you’re on Medicaid. But in order to be on Medicaid you have to be really really broke ass. So you’re always trying to hustle up ways to get paid under the table and shit like that.

The eye doctor entered. She flipped a switch and the eye chart on the lit-up screen was replaced by another chart with different letters in a different sequence. It’s a good thing she saved me from myself.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Love Speech



Anybody who’s thinking about saying something hateful about cripples on Twitter better think twice. The very first sentence of Twitter’s hateful conduct policy says,  You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”

Violating this policy can get you banned from Twitter.

It’s good that Twitter is cracking down on hate speech against cripples. Why not? But now Twitter needs to stop cripples from being brutalized by the opposite of hate speech, which I guess I’ll call love speech. I think cripples have been victimized by love speech a lot more than by hate speech. Like for instance, when cripples are locked up with no possibility of parole in places like nursing homes and state institutions, those responsible for locking us up never try to justify it by saying , “We need to lock these cripples up because they’re all a bunch of predators and thugs!” Nope, instead they say stuff like, “We need to protect these poor, fragile, most vulnerable citizens from harm because we love them so much.”

 Twitter’s hateful conduct policy also says, “We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category…We also prohibit the dehumanization of a group of people based on their religion, age, disability, or serious disease.”

So that’s all the more reason Twitter needs to also crack down on love speech because that exactly how love speech works. It dehumanizes. How about all that inspiration porn? Those are those stories in the media where they gush about how courageous a cripple is for doing a simple thing like going to the grocery store. Those stories are feel-good because they make lots of people feel blessed that they’re not crippled. And then there are those stories we see all the fucking time where some cripple rises from their wheelchair and triumphantly walks across the stage to receive their diploma or down the aisle to get married. These stories congratulate cripples for putting so much of their heart and soul into proving to themselves and everyone else that they’re not so abnormal, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

That’s why inspirational cripple stories inspire me to puke. I fear getting mugged by them most of all. But if you engage in cripple love speech on Twitter, you’ll probably be all right.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Sunday, October 4, 2020

The Crippled Guy in the Burger King Commercial


I saw a crippled guy in a Burger King television commercial.

It was in a montage of people who are supposed to look like ordinary folks off the street. They were probably actors who auditioned for the role of ordinary person off the street but the point is one of them was crippled. And each of those in the ordinary folks off the street montage said something about what makes a Whopper burger taste so great. The first one sang the praises of the beef patty. The next one gushed about the lettuce, tomato and onion and the third one was a crippled guy who rubbed his hands together enthusiastically and said “and ketchup!”

The crippled guy was only on screen for about two seconds. But it was clear that he was in a wheelchair because he was sitting and you could see the push handle of a wheelchair behind his shoulder.

I’m not sure what this all means but whatever it means I guess it’s good, all things considered. Cripples are always bitching about how we never see authentic cripples on stage and screen. When there are stories about cripples, we’re usually played by uncrippled actors. And a lot of those actors win Oscars for playing a cripple.

But the cripple in the Burger King commercial looked like an actual cripple to me. But then again, who knows. It all went by so fast. I suppose if those were actors playing ordinary folks off the street, whomever cast the commercial could’ve cast an uncrippled guy in the role of crippled ordinary guy off the street and sat him down in a wheelchair. That would suck but in a way it would still be good that Burger King thought it was important that a commercial designed to show how everybody loves the Whopper must include a cripple.

And even if those really were ordinary folks off the street, it’s good that Burger King sought out a crippled ordinary person off the street to contribute to the montage. Or even if they weren’t specifically seeking out a cripple, maybe they couldn’t help but include this cripple in the montage because he said “and ketchup” with such unbridled joy. That’s good, too.

I certainly hope it wasn’t a case where they took an uncrippled ordinary person off the street and had him sit in a wheelchair and say “and ketchup” while rubbing his hands together. But even so, again it would go back to Burger King feeling compelled for whatever reason to make the point that ordinary folks off the street includes cripples.

So at the end of the day, when that cripple said “and ketchup” on a Burger King commercials that millions of people will see, I guess he made the world a little better place for cripples. 

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

No Thanks , I'll Sleep in


 Apparently there is some kind of injection that’s a treatment for that which makes me and other people like me crippled. It’s not like the Hollywood version of cripple treatments and cures. It doesn’t make us leap up out of wheelchairs and go waterskiing or anything. From what I hear, about all this treatment does is somewhat slow the progression of that which makes us crippled.

I don’t know much about this treatment because I haven’t looked into it much. And I don’t think I’m going to look into it because I have a couple of friends who are trying it out and it doesn’t sound like much fun to me. First of all, this injection must cost a zillion dollars because my friends say they had to fight like hell with their insurance companies to get them to pay for it. And I don’t know about you, but for me there is no endeavor that’s more soul-crushing and makes me feel more like I’ve had precious hours of life stolen from me than fighting like hell with my insurance company. That’s why everybody hates insurance companies.

My friends also tell me that the injection goes directly into their spinal cords. Whaaaaat? Need I say more about that?

But to me, the most intolerable deal-breaking aspect of it all is that my friends have to be at their doctor’s office bright and early to receive their injection, like about 8 a.m. So that means that on Injection Day, they have to get up around 4 a.m. I don’t know why it has to be that way. Why can’t they get injected in the middle of the afternoon? It’s almost like the medical professionals have to make sure that getting treated and/or cured entails some element of suffering for us. Otherwise they’re letting us off the hook too easy.

So, to recap, if I want to get the treatment I’d have to fight like hell with my Insurance company in order to receive an injection directly into my spine. And worst of all, I’d have to get up at 4 a.m!

I know what will happen. I’ll hear the alarm at 4 a.m. and I’ll say fuck it. I don’t even think I’d be motivated enough to get up even if the treatment might make me leap up out of my wheelchair and go waterskiing. I’ve lived this long without waterskiing. At this point in my life, I’d rather sleep in. That’s about all that’s left on my bucket list. I don't know if that's good or bad, but that's what it is.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Friday, September 11, 2020

Ask Smart Ass Cripple: Volume 5, Opus 42 in D-Flat Minor



Dear Smart Ass Cripple,

Why do blind people wear sunglasses?

Eternally yours,

Always Questioning


Dear Always Questioning,

I think blind people always wearing sunglasses is just some made-up Hollywood bull shit. Because I’ve known a shitload of blind people throughout my long and prosperous life and none of them ever wear sunglasses—not even when it’s sunny.

And all that stuff about blind people feeling your face so they can get an idea what you look like is some Hollywood bull shit, too. No blind person has ever asked me if they could feel my face. I know that doesn’t necessarily prove my point. There could be a variety of reasons why blind people wouldn’t want to feel my particular face. Maybe they think they’re better off with a don’t-ask-don’t-tell approach when it comes to my face.  Or maybe they’ve been warned by sighted people that exploring my face wouldn’t be a pleasant journey.  But like I said, I’ve been around a lot of blind people and some of them have been quite drunk. So you’d think the odds are that at least one of them would’ve been drunk enough to ask to feel my face by now. And I’ve never seen a blind person feeling up anybody else’s face either. Maybe that’s not the kind of thing they do in public. I don’t know.

Another thing I can tell you is that I’ve never met one blind person who admits to taking acid. Every once in a while I get to know a blind person well enough to where I feel comfortable asking them if they ever took acid. I ask them that because I heard that the jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who was blind as hell, claimed he could see when he took acid. I imagine he saw things, though probably what he saw weren’t the things that were actually in front of him at the time. So that’s why I’ve asked a few blind people if they ever took acid because I want to know if they saw things and what they saw. But so far none have fessed up that they took acid.

Actually, I take back what I said about sunglasses. I sort of know one blind person who wears sunglasses a lot. But I don’t feel like I know him well enough to ask him why. I really ought to make the effort to get to know him better, because he seems like the type of guy who probably took acid.


Dear Smart Ass Cripple,

If you could say one thing to your younger self, what would it be?


The Great Contemplator


Dear Contemplator,

If I could say one thing to my younger self, it would definitely be, “What in the hell possessed you to organize that cripple square dancing event?”

Way back when, I used to organize social events for cripples. And for some reason, I put together a square dance once. I don’t know what the hell came over me! I know there’s nothing more cornball than square dancing. It’s the kind of activity they’d have in a fucking nursing home.

I have this fear that someday I’m going to be up for a seat on the Supreme Court or something and somebody will come forward and reveal that I once organized a  cripple square dance event and then everybody will think I must secretly be cornball as hell and I'll be sunk. All I can do is hope and pray that everyone who showed up for my cripple square dance is dead.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Am I a "High-Functioning" Cripple?


Ever since I was a kid I’ve heard certain cripples referred to as “high-functioning.”

Every cripple wants to be thought of as high-functioning, even though nobody knows exactly what it means. But it sure sounds nice, doesn’t it? People take you a lot more seriously when they think you’re high-functioning. It separates you from the lowly cripples. It puts you among the cripple elite.

So I’ve thought a lot over the years about whether or not I can rightfully call myself high-functioning. But I still don’t know. I guess the problem is I don’t know the calculation for determining which cripples are high-functioning. It seems to me that the way this is done by comparing one cripple to another.

But even when I do that, I still don’t know where I stand. Because what if you compare me to some brawny cripple who’s won a zillion gold medals in the Paralympics? In that case, I always come out looking like Tiny fucking Tim.

Is that fair? It’s like comparing apples to cerebral palsies. Maybe the only fair way to determine if a cripple is high-functioning is to compare them just to cripples of the same genre. But is that fair? It might distort the concept of high-functioning all to hell. I mean, if you compare two cripples who have Lou Gehrig’s disease, then the one who blinks is high-functioning.

It looks to me like there is no officially recognized standard for determining which cripples deserve to be deemed high-functioning. It’s all subjective. So I’ll stick to comparing myself only to cripples within my own genre. Because according to a lot of dumbass doctors, cripples of my genre are supposed to die before we get very far into adulthood. And I’m still alive, so I guess that makes me high-functioning.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Solidarity with the Homeless Guy Eating Chicken



I was rolling down the sidewalk. A homeless guy was camped out for the night in front of the entrance of a closed store.

He sat on a dirty blanket that was spread out on the ground, eating a hunk of chicken. When he looked up and saw me rolling by he held out his food, as if to offer it to me, and he said, “You hungry?”

There was a time when I would’ve been disturbed by that. Homeless people are almost always very nice to me, even though I never give them money. It’s too much of a pain in the ass for me to dig cash out of the leather pouch attached to the side of my wheelchair so if they ask for money I just lie and say I don’t have any.

For some reason, a lot of homeless people call me “big guy” when I pass them. “How ya doing, big guy?” They’re almost always eager to help me. One time a homeless guy ran out in the street when he saw me coming, stopped traffic and waved me across like a crossing guard, even though I didn’t need him to. All I had to do was wait for the light to change.

Sometimes homeless people ask everyone else who passes them for money but they don't ask me. I used to be insulted by that. It used make me feel like demanding that they ask me for money too, even though I’d lie and say I didn’t have any if they did. Or it made me feel like I should flash two hundred bucks at them, just to teach that presumptuous homeless person that not all cripples are even more broke ass than they are.

But that was stupid of me to feel that way. Why should I assume that if a homeless guy tries to give me his food, it’s because he thinks I’m pathetic? I guess it’s because that’s what cripples are used to. We can become jaded because we’re bombarded by the fake generosity of charity, where people give because they see a cripple and think, “There but for the grace of God go I!” In other words, pity.

That’s probably why I assumed that when a homeless person tries to help me, it’s because they think I’m pathetic. But when I try to help them, it’s not because I think they’re pathetic. The people I think are pathetic are the Young Republicans.

So maybe when the homeless guy offered me his chicken, what he felt was empathy. Maybe he saw me as a brother who’s left out, too. What’s his is mine.

So when the homeless guy offered me his chicken, I decided to take it as a gesture of solidarity. I just said, “Thanks, man. I’m good.”

He resumed eating. He looked relieved.   

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Monday, August 17, 2020

Cause of Death: Ass Wiping




Holy shit! You know those television shows about people who do really dangerous jobs? Like the one where guys drive trucks in Alaska through mountains in a blizzard?

Well guess what’s rapidly becoming the most dangerous profession?  Working as an aide in a goddam nursing home! I know it sounds like I’m trying to be funny here but I’m not. Well actually, I am trying to be funny, but I’m not lying.

I read it in the Washington Post. It said because the virus is rampaging through nursing homes, so many people who work in them as certified nursing assistants are dying that if the pace keeps up it will be even more deadly than jobs like logging and commercials fishing. And being a CNA in a nursing home pays for shit, too. That Post story said that the average pay is $590 a week.

But I’m not surprised by any of this. People who work in nursing homes aren’t the only ones who are sitting ducks for the virus. The last I heard, 33 percent of those who have been killed by the virus have been people who are stuck living in nursing homes.

Nursing homes show how much cripples are the disposable rejects of society, especially broke ass cripples. Nursing homes are where we are dumped for committing the offense of needing someone to wipe our asses for us. How rude can we be to expect such pampering?  And if you need Medicaid to pay someone to wipe your ass because you don’t have money to pay someone out of your own pocket to do it, you’ll probably have no choice but to surrender yourself over to a nursing home. And usually there’s a greedy pig who owns a chain of nursing homes making a million bucks off of our captivity.

So it logically follows that those who wipe our asses would be considered disposable rejects, too. They’re sullied by association. It’s the dirtiest of the dirty work. They’re touching the untouchables.

Maybe soon they’ll make a television show where they follow nursing home CNAs through their perilous and harrowing workdays. And there they are risking their lives by wiping the asses of cripples. It’s high drama! 

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Friday, August 7, 2020

The ADA Armadillo


Sometimes the only way to get an idea to penetrate the thick skulls of some humans is to enlist the help of a fictitious furry animal.

A great example is Smokey Bear. You could have the head of the U.S. Forrest Service stand up there and say all the stuff Smokey says about fire prevention all day long and nobody would hear a word. But when a cartoon bear wearing a ranger hat says the same damn thing, it gets people’s attention.

Smokey even gets people to accept a little personal responsibility for contributing to the common good, which is really hard to do. Smokey says that only they can prevent fires and they realize that it’s a collective effort. It takes all of us pitching in to make it happen. If the head of the U.S. Forrest Service said that, a lot of people would bristle because they’d say it’s big brother government trying to tell them what to do. But when Smokey says to do it, it sounds downright patriotic.

So maybe it’s time to have some sort of furry mascot promoting cripple access and rights. Yeah, there are fancy laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act, but big deal. It may take a furry mascot to completely drive home what it’s all about.

Like for instance, there’s this pizza place down the block from me that has steps on front. I could sue them, I suppose. But I think it would be much more effective if a talking bear pointed at them like Uncle Sam and admonished them to do their part and build a ramp. How can anybody say no to a talking bear? You’d have to be some kind of communist or something.

So if the federal government was really serious about making the ADA work, somebody in some agency somewhere would conjure up something like the ADA Bear. It could be a bear in a wheelchair or a blind bear with a white cane and sunglasses or a one-legged bear or a Down Syndrome bear or whatever. And somebody in a bear suit could make public appearances, like at strip mall grand openings and school assemblies, and rev people up about the ADA.

Maybe it shouldn't be a bear, since that might be criticized as derivative. How about a talking iguana? An armadillo? The ADA Armadillo has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? Whatever it is, the animal must be strategically chosen. It has to have a certain cuddliness, but it also must command some authority without being authoritarian about it. People don’t do what Smokey says because they fear he’ll attack them if they don’t. They do it because he’s so damn irresistible. And when the ADA Armadillo tells people to do their part, it can’t come off as a guilt trip or people will balk. It has to be more like a rah-rah rallying cry.

So come on, federal government! It’s time to put up or shut up! No more talk! It’s time for real action! We demand a furry mascot! Oh wait! Armadillos aren’t furry, are they? Oh well, whatever.  

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Living la Vida Cripple

Being crippled can be a tremendous gift for some people because, if you play your cards right, it can give you an ironclad excuse for sitting on your ass and doing nothing. And that’s all some people want out of life.

You know the type of people I’m talking about. I’m talking about the slackers. I’m talking about the stoner types, both literally and figuratively. They’d just as soon lie around on the couch all day and watch TV  and/or play video games and eat chips. Some people love having an excuse for not doing anything because they’re terrified of failing so if they don’t try to do anything they won’t fail at anything. So if they have an excuse for not doing anything then they can feel content and satisfied because they can tell themselves and others that they would’ve succeeded at a lot of stuff if they could’ve but they couldn’t so it’s not their fault.

And if you’re crippled, you can use it as an excuse for not doing just about anything if you want to. You can probably collect Social Security and not work. If you hustle enough, you might even score a space in public housing for yourself with super discount rent. Of course you won’t have much money left for anything else but hell, who’s counting? Some things are more important than money, eh?

And it’s not really accurate to say that cripples situated thusly do nothing. It takes effort to acquire such a lifestyle. Stuff like Social Security and public housing don’t just falleth from the sky. You have to jump through the flaming hoops of applying for them and then duke it out with the bureaucracies when they initially turn you down. That can be a full time job. It’s a lot easier to become a slacker cripple if you’re rich because you've already got stuff like money and housing. You can skip all the bull shit and go directly to the slacker promised land. No lines, no waiting.

But regardless of the path you take to get there, once you receive that golden excuse, you’re in! You’re living la vida cripple, baby! You can slack in peace. You can even make slacking sound cool, bold and/or lofty. You can say you’re living “off-the grid” or “underground” as a revolutionary act of rebellion against government and corporate surveillance. You can say you’re in “self-exile.” You can call yourself an “expatriate” from the land of the verts (which is short for vertical, which is what I call people who can walk).

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Monday, July 20, 2020

What if Shaq was Crippled?

Whenever I see an extraordinarily large human being, like a lot of football or basketball players, the first thing I say to myself is, “Damn, I sure hope that guy never becomes crippled.”
I can’t help but wonder what it would take to haul some guy who’s seven-feet tall and upwards of 300 pounds in and out of bed if he became as crippled as Christopher Reeve. I mean, it’s hard enough for me to find people to haul my crippled ass in and out of bed. And I’m just an average-size guy.
What about Shaq? I see that massive guy doing all the commercials he does and I can only shake my head and hope like hell for his sake that he never becomes crippled. He’d have to round up a crew of people just to lift one of his monster-ass feet into bed. Hauling his entire carcass in and out of bed would be a job for the Army Corps of Engineers. Because I don’t think that you could budge him one inch using one of those crank lifts with a sling hanging on it like a lot of cripples use. That thing would blow a gasket. He’d have to have something custom made. He probably has to have a lot of things custom made, like his shoes, furniture and condoms. To get lifted, he’d have to rig up some kind of crane system with heavy-duty pulleys and all that. And what kind of place would Shaq have to live in in order to have room for a device like that? He’d have to move into an airplane hangar.
But at least Shaq is rich. He can buy an airplane hangar if he wants to. And he can afford to have stuff custom made. It’s a helluva lot easier being crippled when you’re rich. What if there was a guy as big as Shaq who was both crippled and broke ass? He’d really be screwed.
And what about sumo wrestlers? What if one of them became as crippled as Christopher Reeve? How would you haul a crippled sumo wrestler in and out of bed? It would take a whole bunch of other sumo wrestlers.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on. Just click below to contribute.)

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Separation of Church and State at the Sam Houston Institute of Technology or the All- Crippled Nativity Scene

When I look back on the years I spent in the 1970s as an inmate at a state-operated boarding school for cripples, which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT), I realize there must’ve been a time when one of those litigious atheists sued the place.
Because on Sunday afternoons a priest came in and held Catholic mass upstairs in one of the classrooms. And yes, I attended. But I was only about 14 at the time so gimme a break. I hadn’t quite shaken off the shackles of Catholic guilt.
But then suddenly the priest stopped coming and we were told there wouldn’t be any more masses. Rather than being pissed, I felt relieved. Now I know that I felt that way because the only reason I attended the classroom mass was because I didn’t have an excuse not to. If I was at home on a Sunday, I had a good excuse not to go to mass or Sunday school or any of that stuff because the church had stairs so God forgave me for not going. But at SHIT, all I had to do to attend mass was take an elevator upstairs so Catholic guilt kicked in.
Now it seems clear to me that the only thing that could’ve stopped the priest from coming was an assertion of the separation of church and state. I never went to mass again. So I’m grateful to the litigious atheist for restoring my precious get-out-of-going-to- mass-for-free card and thus hastening my break from Catholicism. I’m confident that break would have happened eventually anyway, but the sooner the better.
However, I also have to say that I’m glad the atheist didn’t strike any sooner than they did because if they did I never would have had a religious experience I had at SHIT that I still cherish. We all gathered in the gym for an assembly. It must’ve been around Christmas because the curtain on the stage opened and revealed various other inmates forming an all-crippled nativity scene. There was Joseph in a wheelchair, a blind Mary, a one-armed angel, etc. There were various crippled barnyard animals. This deaf kid named Teel had on a brown coat with a long brown tail pinned on it so I guess he was supposed to be a donkey. And this polio kid named Randall Harvey who was sitting next to me in the audience leaned over and said, “Look at Teel up there on stage making an ass out of himself.”
I got to see an all-crippled nativity scene without taking heavy drugs. Very few people can say that. It makes me feel special.
It was so wonderfully bizarre. If the litigious atheist had prevailed sooner it would never have happened. Or maybe the cops would’ve raided the gym and shut the nativity scene down. In that case, I would’ve been pissed. 

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on.)

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

As Tough as a Cooped-Up Cripple

I see all these people running off to Disneyland and water parks and shit or cramming themselves into crowded bars even though it might make them get sick and die and part of me wants to laugh. I shake my head and say to myself, “Man, these poor saps sure would make lousy cripples.”
Those people aren’t nearly tough enough to succeed at being a cripple. I mean, after just three months of living the cooped up life they’re so desperate to bust out that they can’t even think straight. But hell, a lot of cripples live the cooped up life for years on end. It might be that they’re cooped up because they’re too crippled to go very far but it could be for a lot of other reasons, too, like maybe they’re too broke ass to go very far.  A lot of cripples are really broke ass and being broke ass will sure as hell keep you cooped up, even if you’re not crippled.
And Lord, some cripples are not just housebound but bedbound. Staying in bed all day may not sound so bad. That’s how some people spend their vacations. It’s the kind of life to which a lot of people think they aspire. But it gets old fast. Staying in bed all day is not for people with a weak constitution. Those bedbound cripples are the toughest cripples of all. They have to be. They have to figure out how to stay engaged and entertained while staying in bed (alone). Not all of them succeed. Some get sucked up into the undertows of addiction that drain dry the mind and spirit, such as watching  porn, dumb sitcom reruns, game shows and/or Christian  and right wing TV. But a lot of bedbound cripples persevere through boredom and with enough trial and error practice, they get the hang of staying in bed all day and still feeling sharp.
They’re the best equipped to win the cooped up marathon. They’ve been training for it for a long time. When they see on TV all those people at Disneyland and water parks and in bars they probably shake their heads and laugh about what wimps those people are.
It’s survival of the toughest.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on.)

Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Right to be a Masochist

I saw an ad for a gym that says they roll out the red carpet for cripples. They say their staff will pay special attention to any cripple that asks. They will help cripples who sign up with their gym develop a regular workout routine which will in turn help the cripple overcome feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation.

Well I guess it’s mighty nice of whoever runs that gym to try to make cripples feel welcome like that. But no thanks. In fact, I’m sorry to say it has the opposite effect on me. If I was looking to sign up with a gym, after seeing that ad I would definitely avoid that one.

First off, it’s pretty much a moot point because am not now nor have I ever been a “workout” type of guy. I don’t get it. It seems masochistic to get a big rush out of doing a bunch of pushups. I thought doing pushups was supposed to be punishment. If you piss off your drill sergeant he tells you to go do a thousand pushups. Maybe doing pushups makes you feel good about yourself in the same way you feel good about yourself when you eat fresh fruit for breakfast instead of cold pizza. What you really feel is the satisfaction of not feeling guilty. Maybe for some people pleasure is defined as the absence of guilt.

And if I was looking for an antidote for anxiety, depression and isolation, I sure wouldn’t go to a gym. I’d probably go to an orgy or something.

But let’s say, just for the sake of giving me something to write about, that there was a massive explosion somewhere in a distant galaxy that rearranged all matter in the universe so radically that I might conceivably develop a vague inkling to sign up with a gym. I would still stay away from that gym that’s so eagerly courting cripples for fear of feeling too welcome. I’d be afraid that the minute I rolled in I’d be swarmed over by unctuous trainers bent on helping me overcome my feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation. I mean of course I feel anxious, depressed and isolated sometimes. Who the hell doesn’t? But it’s not just because I’m crippled. It’s not like if I was suddenly cured I wouldn’t feel any of those things anymore. Every single uncrippled person finds plenty that makes them feel anxious, depressed and isolated. But when they come into a gym, nobody thinks they're duty-bound to help them overcome all that.

I would want to just get in, quietly torture myself in peace and get out, just like everybody else at the gym. Cripples can be masochists, too, you know.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on.)

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Special Needs?

Recently, I felt compelled to look myself straight in the eye and ask myself a sobering question: Am I a person with special needs?

It grates on me when people refer to cripples that way. I guess what I don’t like about special needs is it sounds too much like an apology. It makes us sound like we’re suffocatingly needy. On the other hand, it grates on me just as much when people do the opposite and say that cripples are just like other people. But the vast majority of other people don’t pee and or eat through a tube, like a lot of cripples do. So why should cripples try to pretend that we’re not different, unless being different is something to be ashamed of?

So maybe the fact that I ride around in a motorized wheelchair and pay other people to wipe my butt really does mean I am indeed a person with special needs. Maybe I ought to just admit and embrace it.

But upon further reflection, I determined that special needs doesn’t apply to me. Because first, it’s usually only used when talking about children. Nobody talks about special needs adults, unless it’s someone with something like Down syndrome, where it’s still considered okay to look upon them as a child. Children can be forgiven for having special needs. It’s not their fault. They’re innocent. But when you’re as old and hairy as I am and you still have special needs, it’s about time you got over it. Needy has become greedy.

I also determined why that special needs term grates on me. It’s because in order for something to be considered special, it must be compared to some norm. So what are normal human needs? They would be the needs that humans have. And some humans need to do things like pee and or breathe through a tube or pay other people to wipe their butts. So if that’s what they need and they’re human, then it’s a normal human need. It only becomes special if having this need somehow calls your status as human into question. To need beyond a certain standard allotment is to be extraordinarily needy.

Humans are a needy bunch. What’s wrong with that?

So I don’t want to call anybody a person with special needs. I just want to call everybody a person with needs. But that would be redundant.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us carry on.)