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.   

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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! 

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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.  

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