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. 

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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. 

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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.   

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