Monday, March 29, 2021

Side Effects and The Quality of Life

 (Trigger warning. This entry contains multiple references to diarrhea.)

I have a friend who’s crippled for the same reason I am. He’s also about the same age as me.

I’ve written before about how this friend is getting this new treatment that supposedly might make life marginally better for people who are crippled for the same reason we are. But the treatment required getting a monthly spinal injection. So I said no thanks. I’m just not into pursuing cripple treatments and cures that require any more effort than eating my spinach. Maybe I’m just lazy, but I tell myself it’s a quality of life thing. Rather than running back and forth to a doctor’s office or working out incessantly in a physical therapy gym for countless hours, I’d rather spend whatever time I have left doing things I find much more fulfilling, like staring at the wall.

But recently my friend told me that the treatment no longer requires spinal injections. Now he just takes an oral medication daily. This prompted me to consider reconsidering signing up for this treatment. That didn’t sound like much effort. My friend told me the name of the medication and I thought about asking my doctor about it.

But there’s been a dramatic new development that has made me reconsider any thought of reconsidering. My friend has informed me that a side effect of the medication is that it sometimes gives him diarrhea. Diarrhea is one of my worst nightmares because in order for me to take a dump, I need someone to lift me on and off the bowl. So it’s imperative that I have well–trained, cooperative, predictable, disciplined bowels that only rumble during the designated hours when I’ve scheduled someone to be around to lift me on and off of the bowl. An uprising at any other time of day is, obviously, a source of great stress for me.

Thus far in life, I’ve been blessed with a tremendous talent for holding it all in until such time as it's safe to let loose. This is such a gift that it’s almost enough to make me believe in God.

So I won’t be signing up for this cripple treatment, even if it is just a simple matter of taking a daily dose of oral medication. I dare not thumb my nose at fate like that.

It’s a quality of life thing.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Sex on a Trampoline or The End of Cripple Summer Camp as we Know it


 On the day I showed up for one of my annual weeks of cripple summer camp many years ago, I was settling into my cabin and the guy in the top bed of the next bunk came down and introduced himself to me. Since he wasn’t crippled, I figured he must be one of the attendants, which is what they called the volunteers who helped the campers, which is what they called the cripples.

The guy from the next bunk said this was his first time at cripple summer camp but nevertheless he felt confident this week was gonna be a real blast. For example, he said, last night, one of the female attendants and him had sex on a trampoline. (There were a couple of trampolines set up over by the camp’s parking lot.)

This was a life-changing moment for me. I immediately aspired to find a girl who would have sex on the camp trampoline with me. But at the same time, I knew I dared not dream such a dream because it was destined to be crushed.

Because who would sink so low as to have sex on a trampoline with a camper? I was over age 18 and all, just like the guy in the next bunk and the girl that had sex with him on the trampoline. But that didn’t matter. Having sex with a cripple of any age on a trampoline was at the top of the list of things that would get somebody kicked out of cripple summer camp. Hell, it might even get you arrested.

And that made me yearn to get laid on the camp trampoline even more. Because I figured if I got kicked out of cripple summer camp for having sex on the trampoline, I’d become a folk legend. And I’d be an inspiring new role model for campers of future. They’d figure that if I could get laid on a trampoline, maybe, just maybe, someday they might, too. And that could open up a whole new world of possibilities for them. No longer would the realm of cripples at summer camp be limited to arts and crafts. The life lesson offered by my legend would be that cripples should aim high and not be defined and constrained by society's low expectations 

It would be the end of cripple summer camp as we know it.

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Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Evolution of Cripple Charity Pitches



There are loads and loads of commercials where someone says something like, “Your generous gift of $19 a month will change lives.” Then they show a montage of those for whom the money is being raised, which is usually dogs or crippled children.

And I notice that the dogs in the montage are all desperately, heartbreakingly sad. But the crippled children are heartwarmingly upbeat, in spite of themselves.

I’m not sure what it all means. I’m not sure if this is an improvement over how things used to be. It used to be that crippled kids in charity ads also had to be desperately, heartbreakingly sad to pack the maximum sympathy punch. But somewhere along the line, someone decided that the most effective little spokescripples must be plucky and upbeat.

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. It’s okay to have commercials where crippled adults ask for $19 a month, as long as they’re war vets. The crippled war vets are allowed to be sad, but in an adult sort of way. They don’t have to be plucky and upbeat, but their spirits should be brightened at least a little bit by the prospect of you donating $19 a month.

It’s also okay for crippled kids in charity commercials to be just as sad as dogs, as long as those kids are from other countries and are preferably not white. A good example is that commercial that beseeches everyone to donate $19 a month so kids in Guatemala can get surgery to fix their cleft palates. The little brown kids in the "before” videos, who still have cleft palates, are sad as hell. But in the "after” videos, when they don’t have cleft palates anymore, they’re smiling big. In that commercial there’s a scene that takes place in a remote and desolate village where a boy with a cleft palate approaches some other kids but those kids shun him like he’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. And so the cleft palate kid slunks away, dejectedly. I always wonder how that scene was captured on camera. It must’ve been staged. There must have been a camera crew and lightning all set up and the director says “Action! Okay now enter cleft palate kid and go up to those other kids. And you other kids shun him hard, like he’s got cooties! That’s great! Now slunk away, cleft palate kid. Dejectedly! Outstanding! Cuuuut! It’s a wrap!”

I wonder if they made the poor cleft palate kid shoot that scene before they would give him his surgery.

Anyway, to get back to my point, I don’t know what all this means. I’ll leave that question to be contemplated by great scholars and philosophers, who have a lot of free time on their hands. 

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