Saturday, July 31, 2021

Cripples Talking Cripple Talk



I can certainly understand how being around packs of cripples can be intimidating, what with all the acronyms and initialisms and other inside references flying around. It’s enough to make your brain explode if you’re a vert (which is what I call people who walk because it’s short for vertical).

Like for instance, I am crippled because of MD and so is one of my friends. But his MD isn’t anything like my MD. My MD is muscular dystrophy but his MD is macular degeneration, which means he’s legally blind. People always refer to my type of MD as MD but I never heard anyone call macular degeneration MD. I don’t know who decides these things.

And then there’s multiple sclerosis, which is called MS, which is why people always get it mixed up with MD.

And what about TBI, which stands for traumatic brain injury? Don’t confuse that with UTI, which stands for urinary tract infection. But there’s no such thing as a UBI or untraumatic brain injury. Maybe it’s because every brain injury is traumatic. But again, I don’t know who decides these things.

Perhaps the most popular initialism in cripple circles is SSI because it stands for Supplemental Security Income and that’s the Social Security fund through which a lot of cripples get the money they live off of.  SSI isn’t the same as SCI, which stands for spinal cord injury, although a lot of people who are crippled because of an SCI live off of SSI.

Just about every cripple uses some sort of DME, which stands for durable medical equipment, which is stuff like wheelchairs. And there’s a lot of talk about ADLs, which stands for activities of daily living, which is the stuff everybody (crippled or not ) does every day, like the putting on pants and brushing teeth. Cripples are often evaluated to see how much we suck at performing our ADLs so we can prove that we are crippled enough to receive stuff like DME and SSI.

So if you hang around cripple circles long enough, you’ll hear such dizzying banter as, “That guy with the TBI has a UTI.” Or, “That guy with the SCI really needs DME but he can’t afford it because he’s on SSI.”

And that’s just the beginning of it all. There are tons and tons more acronyms and initialisms in cripple circles. But rather than drive the poor verts nuts trying to keep it all straight, if we just lock all the cripples up in institutions then no one else has to worry about it. 

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Cripples, Worms and Insects


There’s a professional hockey team called the Nashville Predators. Thinking about that name has helped me figure out a lot about the status of cripples in society.

Because like I’ve said before, at least one thing cripples don’t have to complain about is sports teams named after stereotypes of us. We're not like the poor tribes, being hounded by stuff like the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians. There hasn’t been a team that I know of with a name like the Indiana Invalids. Hell, there hasn’t even been a team with one of those cutesy cripple names, like the Houston Handicapables or the Philadelphia Physically Challenged.

But is this completely a good thing? Why would a team owner want to associate their team with predators but not cripples?

I then I thought I figured out the answer. Maybe it’s because cripples are perceived to be the opposite of predators. We’re prey. And the world of sports is all about predators and prey. There’s a clash and one side wins and one side loses. Period. So if you have to choose sides, you might as well choose the winning side, which is the predators.

But then I reminded myself that not all teams are named after beasts. Some are named after birds. They’re often predatory birds, like hawks and eagles. But there are also cute little tweety birds, like cardinals and blue jays.

These birds are hardly predators. But then again, aren’t concepts of predator and prey relative, depending on the point of view of a given species? Aren’t cardinals and blue jays vicious predators, if you’re a worm or an insect? To them, tweety birds must look like pterodactyls.

But when viewed through a human centric lens, which is what we do when naming sports teams, tweety birds are strictly prey. So that must mean that it’s acceptable to name your sports team afar some creatures that aren’t predators first and foremost, but not many others.

Then this, it seems to me, must be why you don’t see sports teams named after worms, insects or cripples. We’re all too far down the food chain. Well I suppose there might be some sports teams named after spiders. At least spiders are scary to humans. Cripples are scary to humans, too, but not in a way that has any marketing appeal.

So maybe nobody names sports teams after cripples because we are viewed as among the lowest, most vulnerable prey. The only thing we are a threat to feast upon wantonly and voraciously is the public treasury. And that’s not the dignified kind of predator. 

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Saturday, July 10, 2021

Things I Wouldn't Know if I Lived in a Stinkin' Nursing Home


Bohol is an island province of the Philippines. It consists of the island itself plus 75 surrounding islands. Its capital is Tagbilaran. Its most popular tourist attraction is the Chocolate Hills, which are called that because they sort of look like a range of giant chocolate chips. If they really were made of chocolate, you know some corporation like Hershey’s would have seized the land and strip mined the hills a long time ago.

I wouldn’t know anything about Bohol if I lived in a stinkin’ nursing home. The only reason I know Bohol even exists is thanks to one of the members of my pit crew. That’s what I call the crew of people I’ve hired to come into my home and do miscellaneous stuff for me like get me dressed and out of bed. One of them came in recently wearing a yellow t-shirt that said Spirit of Bohol. I asked him what Bohol was and he said he thought it was part of the Philippines. He said he got the t-shirt from a resale store. So that prompted me to look up stuff about Bohol, which I never would’ve done otherwise because I don’t spend a lot of time wondering about things like Philippine provinces. I’m not especially proud of that trait. I wish I was more the naturally curious type of person who embarks upon research adventures without prompting. But, sadly, I am not.

But if I lived in a stinkin’ nursing home, the people helping me get dressed and out of bed would all be required to wear boring-ass scrubs, which are all a stern solid color like grey or dark blue. Sometimes they’re adorned with stuff like Smurfs or rainbows or unicorns, but nothing interesting.

Another thing I also learned about from a resale t-shirt of one of my pit crew guys is the spread of communism in the 20th Century. On the front of his shirt was Lenin, Stalin and Mao and it said The Three Terrors. It was a parody of a concert tour t-shirt of The Three Tenors and on the back, instead of listing all the cities and dates of the stops along the tour, it listed, chronologically, countries that turned communist. The first date was Russia in 1917, followed by dozens of countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Poland, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary and China.

Whenever this pit crew guy worked with his back to me, like washing dishes, I learned more about the spread of communism in the 20th Century. But if I lived in a stikin’ nursing home, all I’d see when someone had their back to me would be a solid wall of a stern color.

I have another pit crew guy who has a wide array of soccer jerseys he bought at resale shops. They’re not educational, but they’re entertaining. 

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