Saturday, October 30, 2021

Helping a Crippled Old Man Get High


 I was very heartened when I recently learned that it’s a whole lot easier than it used to be for a crippled old man to get high. I can’t deny that at least one aspect of life has improved for the better.

I made this discovery when I frequented for the first time one of the many legal marijuana dispensaries here in Illinois. My mission was to purchase some gummies to help me enjoy an upcoming camping trip. I fully expected to be given a hard time because I’ve been denied service in bars before. They wouldn’t serve me alcohol because I’m crippled. Just about every cripple I know has had this problem. I guess some people’s idea of a typical cripple is Tiny Tim and they figure that surely he didn’t drink so we shouldn’t either.

But the first thing they do when you enter the dispensary is check your i.d. to make sure you’re of age. And after they did that the security guard opened the door to the inner sanctum and said to me, “Come right this way, sir. We have a special window just for you.” The dispensary was counter service, like a bank. And the security  guard escorted me to a corner of the counter that was lowered to wheelchair height. It was a heartwarming sight to see. It was a shining example of the Americans with Disabilities Act in action. Some stupid libertarian types might argue that it was a shining example of the glorious free market in action—maybe some shrewd businessman recognized that cripples like to get high as much as regular humans so it makes sense to make us feel welcome, too. But I sincerely doubt it. Most businessmen aren’t that smart when it comes to cripples.

Well the people who checked my i.d. must’ve entered my birthdate into the computer because after I made my purchase my salesman informed me that I was entitled to a discount. He said, “We call it the wisdom discount.”

So I got 10 percent off. Wow! Old folks like me get a lot of discounts, but this was the first time I cashed one in that felt like it meant something. Our discounts are usually something like $2 off of the lunch special on Wednesday between 2 and 4.

Anyway, it's good to know the world has become a more humane and equitable place. I'll remember that the next time I'm feeling blue.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Bravest Dog in the World



Everybody’s seen that annual thing called the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. People parade their absolutely perfect dogs around and the most absolutely perfect dog of all wins a blue ribbon for Best in Show.

So of course there are no crippled dog allowed. A three-legged dog or a deaf dog or blind dog wouldn’t stand a chance since the winning dog has to be absolutely perfect.

But how come there isn’t a Westminster show for crippled dogs? Somebody really ought to put one together. I think it would be a big hit. People love crippled dogs. It would be like the doggie Special Olympics. And every dog would get a ribbon just for showing up and trying.

Only crippled dogs allowed. An absolutely perfect dog wouldn’t stand a chance because that which is a crippled dog’s primary liability in the regular Westminster show would be their primary asset in the show for crippled dogs. The more pitiful a dog, the more formidable a contender it would be.

And so the top dog to beat would be that spinal cord injured dog who gets around with that two-wheeled contraption attached to its hind quarters. It’s the dog that looks like it comes with training wheels.

And for the grand finale, this dog and all the other crippled dogs are lined up at the starting line on a running track. And at the finish line at the end each lane is a bowlful of hamburger or something. All the crippled dogs race for their bowl but the winning dog isn’t necessarily the one that gets there first. No, the winning dog is the one that exhibits the most pluck and determination in getting to their bowl. The greater the struggle, the better. It’s not the destination that matters most. It’s the journey.

The judges hold up their cards. And that dog is awarded the blue ribbon and the coveted title of  The Bravest Dog in the World.

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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Fooling the Verts



Your average Joe or Jane Pedestrian can’t tell cripples apart without a scorecard. If you sit me next to a guy in a wheelchair who has cerebral palsy and another guy in a wheelchair who’s a quad, there’s no way most people will be able to tell which cripple is which. We all look the same to the verts (which is what I call people who walk because it's short for vertical).

Some people seem to think this is always a bad thing for cripples. Thus, they dedicate themselves to setting the record straight by undertaking awareness campaigns designed explode myths about certain types of crippledness.

But I often wish these people would mind their own damn business. I’m afraid their tenacious meddling will eventually blow my cover and my gig. It’s quite comforting for me to know that, if necessary, I can exploit these myths to my advantage.

Like for instance, suppose I knock over somebody or something by running into it or them with my wheelchair, either accidentally or on purpose.  I can  say, “Ooops, sorry I had a spasm.” And that pretty much gets me off the hook. But if too many people know that  the cerebral palsy guys, and not cripples like me, are the ones who have spasms, that cheap and easy excuse won’t fly for me anymore.

Or suppose I get mad and loudly cuss somebody out. If that person thinks all cripples have something like Tourette’s, where we have uncontrollable outbursts, that  person will be a lot less likely to cuss back at me or slug me. And actually, it’s not even true that Tourette’s people go around randomly cussing people out, so we’ve also got to be careful not to explode that myth.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

So you see, the general ignorance about crippledom which I’ve learned how to deftly cash in on is a delicate house of cards. It doesn’t take much to mess it all up and mess me up, too.

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