Monday, January 31, 2022

Stripped of My Courage Award

  If you are crippled by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease, you could win a Courage Award.  It seems there are two organizations that give out an annual Courage Award to somebody with Lou Gehrig’s .

But as far as I can tell, no organization  gives out a Courage Award to people who have that which makes me crippled. And even if there was such an award, I sincerely doubt they would give it to me. And if they did give it to  me, I’d wonder about them. Like Groucho Marx said, I wouldn’t join any club that would have me for a member.

And I’d probably be all stressed out if I won a Courage Award because I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. Because I’d figure it would then be my responsibility to go around being the symbol of cripple courage all the time and that’s sounds like a lot of work. But then again maybe it wouldn’t be much work because it seems like cripples don’t have to do much for some people  to think we’re courageous except sit there and be crippled. That automatically makes us courageous.

That’s the problem. I don’t know what it takes to be the symbol of cripple courage. I’m not sure anybody does, not even the people who give out and receive Courage Awards. I imagine that cripple Courage Awards don’t come with an expiration date or anything like that. It’s not like you’re the symbol of cripple courage for a year or so and then you’re off the hook. No, you’re probably expected to be the symbol of  cripple courage for the rest of your life. And so I’d be constantly worried that I would inevitably say or do something that would be considered to be decidedly uncourageous. And then I might be stripped of my Courage Award. How embarrassing would that be? I bet that’s never happened to any cripple ever. 

What a disgrace.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Brain is Weird



There are a lot of things that you can’t make easy jokes about anymore.

Like for instance, some old television shows and movies and comedians used to get a lot of joke mileage out of getting drunk. But since then, much has been made of the pain drunk people have caused others, like drunk drivers, so you can’t be so quick to make jokes about drunkenness or it might seem like you’re making light of that pain.

And blows to the head aren’t considered to be as funny as they once were. The Three Stooges constantly played blows to the head for laughs. Bowling balls would roll off the edge of a shelf high on a wall and bounce off the head of some poor sap below. Or Moe would get mad at Larry or Curly and hit them over the head with a pickax or sledgehammer.

But comedians don’t do that kind of slapstick these days. Maybe it’s because we all know that in real life blows to the head can cause brain injuries and brain injuries cause people to say and do weird shit and it might seem like you’re making light of people who are crippled because of brain injuries.

I suppose that’s a good thing to be mindful of, but I still tell funny stories about people with brain injuries. One of my favorites is about when  I was involved in a sexuality workshop for cripples decades ago. For the first session, the facilitator wrote names of body parts on the board and told us all to say slang names for these body parts. This was an ice-breaker exercise. The facilitator’s goal was to make everyone feel comfortable discussing sexuality openly and frankly.

But two of the participants were guys who were crippled by brain injuries. I guess they had the kind of brain injuries that dull one’s inhibitions and impulse control.

Because the facilitator began by writing on the board the word breasts.

And the two brain-injured guys enthusiastically responded with, “Casaba melons! Golden bozos!”


“Spasm chasm! Love canal!”



I’m sorry, but I think that’s funny stuff. What’s funny about it to me is that it shows how weird the human brain is. It’s so elaborately balanced and interconnected that if you mess with one part even a little bit, there’s no telling how much it’ll throw the rest of the brain out of whack.

And it’s also funny because it shows how much we mighty humans are slaves to our brains. If our brain  tells us to say or do something, we’re pretty much powerless to resist. But it sure as hell doesn’t work the other way around. Those brain-injured guys in the sexuality workshop both walked gimpy, too. That shows what a stubborn sonuvabitch the brain can be sometimes. If it doesn’t want to do something, like tell the legs to quit screwing around and walk normal, there’s not much we can do about it.

Let's be honest, there’s plenty funny about the brain.

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Thursday, January 6, 2022

Dissuading a Dumbass

 If I'm ever with some dumbass who's about to do something stupid that could render them crippled, like diving into shallow water or doing a handstand on a speeding motorcycle, maybe I ought to just sit back and let them do it.

I've never been in that situation, but what if I am? It's good to role play these things through my head in advance so if it ever does happen I'll be able to react fast.

Most people wouldn't have to think about it for very long. They'd determine right away that the proper thing to do would be to say to the person who's about to do something stupid, "What the hell's the matter with you? Do you want to end up crippled?"

And they're right. Of course the proper response is to do whatever one can to dissuade the dumbass. But I don't think that would be that easy for me to do.

Because I’d feel like it would be like me saying, “Hey, you don’t wanna end up like me, do ya?” And I hate when cripples are made into boogie men like that. That’s why cripple cure campaigns give me the willies because I feel like the idea behind them is to make everybody feel like it’s terrible being crippled and the best thing we can all do about it is to not create anymore cripples.

And I just don’t feel like that about myself or other cripples I know. Being like us isn’t such a terrible thing. There are plenty of reasons why no one would want to be like me, but none of them have to do with being crippled. Those reasons would exist whether I was crippled or not.

I also can’t buy in to the idea that being a cripple is always inferior in every way to being a vert (which is what I call people who walk, because it’s short for vertical). I have a couple of friends who are quads who like to point out that one of the things they like about being a quad is that their friends never ask them to help them move.

So I would have to say to the dumbass who was about to do something stupid, "Hey dumbass, before you do anything stupid, you need to weigh the pros and cons of becoming crippled. On the one hand, your friends won’t ask you help them move and you’ll get much better parking spaces. But on the other hand, being crippled is really expensive because you gotta buy a lot of pricey stuff like wheelchairs and everybody thinks being a cripple is always inferior in every way to being a vert and---"

By that time, the dumbass will have gone and done whatever stupid thing they were going to do.

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