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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