Thursday, May 28, 2020

It’s as if People Who Have no Limbs Don’t Exist

There is now a Barbie doll that has a partially amputated leg and among her accessories is a removable prosthesis. 

Some people think this is a big deal for cripples. Now that the Mattel company has officially acknowledged our existence, that means that we, as a crippled people, have arrived at the Promised Land.
Well far be it from me to be a buzzkill, but I’m not satisfied. I don’t think this paltry gesture is nearly good enough. Our journey as cripples is not complete. We have not arrived. As long as Barbie is missing just one limb, we are, at best, one fourth of the way there.

I’ll admit that a 1.5 legged Barbie is small step forward. But we can’t let it stop there. I can’t help but think about the all the cripples I’ve known who are missing more than one limb. Hell, I’ve known many cripples who have no limbs at all and they’re all fine upstanding people. Well, they’re all fine people, anyway. But what about them? Aren’t they our brethren? They deserve their chance to stand up and be counted. Well, they deserve their chance to be counted, anyway.
We live in a society where it’s as if people who have no limbs don’t exist. And I for one am sick of it! And Barbie, whether she wants to admit or not, is a powerful agent for change. She makes a fashion statement and millions of people follow. Her status as a global celebrity gives her a unique platform and she cannot shirk her responsibility to use it to lift up the marginalized. And who’s more marginalized than people with no limbs?

So we have to demand that Barbie lead the way. If Barbie wants to truly call herself a cripple ally, she must do more. And the beautiful thing about it is, there’s no need to manufacture a special, limited edition, limbless Barbie. There just needs to be a corporate decree that henceforth, all Barbie’s shall be manufactured with limbs that can be easily jettisoned. That way, whoever is playing with a given Barbie on a given day can just mix and match.

Then Barbie will have done her part.

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Former Crippled Poster Kids

Athletes are tragic figures because they’re washed up by age 40. Models are even more tragic because they’re washed up by age 25. Olympic gymnasts and members of boy bands are more tragic still because they’re washed up by age 18. But crippled poster children are the most tragic of all because they’re washed up by age eight.

That’s why I say mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be former crippled poster kids. And the way to do that is to do whatever it takes to not let them become crippled poster kids in the first place. But I know even the greatest parent can’t protect their kids from all the pitfalls of life, so your kid may end up being a crippled poster kid in spite of your best efforts. If that happens to you, the best thing you can do is try to keep them from taking it seriously.

I know what I’m talking about here, because I was once a crippled poster child. With all of the spotlight you get, it’s real easy to get full of yourself. I see this kid who’s currently a poster kid for the Shriners and I fear that what’s happening to him. He puffs out his chest and makes his plea for donations with such dramatic conviction and confidence, as if he was delivering a Shakespearean soliloquy. It’s clear that he has visions of grandeur dancing in his head. He pictures himself 10 or 20 years from now hosting his own television talk show.

Fortunately, I never took my reign as a poster kid seriously. I was never very comfortable with the role so when it was over I was happy to let it go. I spared my mother the trouble of deflating my big head, though I‘m sure she would have if she had to. She was good at that.

I hope this kid has someone to keep him sober like that. Because otherwise he’s bound to end up like a bitter and abandoned child star whose once-hot sitcom got cancelled. Except the fall of a crippled  poster child is more tragic because it isn’t a tale of rags to riches and back to rags. Crippled poster kids don’t get paid squat so there are no riches. It’s just rags.

I hope somebody will give this kid some tough love and remind him that crippled poster kid is a dead-end role. You’re irreversibly type cast.

Otherwise I fear that 10 to 20 years from now we’ll see this kid sitting alone on a subway train, slugging from a bottle in a paper bag and shouting, “And I got all the attention! When I made my pitch for donations, the switchboard lit up like a Christmas tree! So fuck all y’all!”

Poor kid! Someone needs to save him! He’s on a collision course with puberty! 

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Sunday, May 10, 2020

Why I Feel Sorry for Arthritis People

I’m sure glad there isn’t a pill or injection that’s an easy treatment for that which makes me crippled. Because if there was there would probably be a happy-ass commercial about it and I’d really hate that.

That’s why I feel sorry for arthritis people. Apparently there are a lot of pills or injections that are easy treatments for arthritis because I see a lot of happy-ass commercials about that. In the latest commercial there’s a woman remodeling her home by swinging a sledgehammer and knocking holes in walls and there's another woman out in a field taking pictures of a galloping pack of wild horses. Both women are all happy-assed. I guess they are supposed to be people with arthritis who are now feeling so good that they can finally do stuff like swing sledgehammers and photograph wild horses. But none of the arthritis people in these commercials look like they have arthritis any more than the guy next door does. So I guess the implication is that this treatment is so amazing that if you take it, not only will you suddenly feel like you don’t have arthritis but you suddenly won’t look like it either.

Those commercials must make arthritis people feel like if they’re not out there swinging sledgehammers or photographing wild horses they must be some kind of big time loser. I’m sure I’d feel the same way if it was a commercial for a treatment for what makes me crippled. The happy-ass actors probably wouldn’t look any more crippled than the guy next door does and they’d probably be doing stuff like riding wild bulls at a rodeo or rock climbing. And that would drastically change society’s view of who cripples like me are and what we’re capable of doing, which would really suck. Because I’d be under enormous pressure to keep up or get left behind. Cripples like me who weren’t riding wild rodeo bulls or rock climbing would look like lazy freeloaders. That would probably be used as an excuse to cut us off of our public cripple benefits. But if we were out there riding wild rodeo bulls or rock climbing that would probably be used as an excuse to cut us off our public cripple benefits too because if we can do stuff like that then why the hell do we still need public cripple benefits?

It’s a terrible no-win situation and I fear arthritis people will find themselves in it all too soon. I’m sure glad it ain’t me, yet.

(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.)