Friday, February 25, 2022

Those Amazing Telepathic Service Dogs

I’ve heard about those amazing service dogs that somehow communicate telepathically with the crippled humans they serve. The dog senses that the human is about to have an epileptic seizure and it jumps up and knocks the human to the ground and  lies on top of them until they stop lurching around so they don’t hurt themselves , or something like that. That truly is amazing. Even Lassie couldn’t do shit like that.

I wish there were service dogs that communicated telepathically with other types of cripples who don’t have epilepsy. There were times when I sure could have used one.

Like for instance, when I was a kid, I had a terrible addiction problem. I was hopelessly hooked on those claw machines where there’s a bunch of stuffed animals in a big glass box along with a crane that looks like a claw.  You drop money in the machine which buys you about a minute to operate the claw with joysticks and try to grab a stuffed animal and drop it in the slot so you could reach in and grab it and take it home.

Whenever I passed one of those machines, I couldn’t resist indulging and I’d blow all my money. It would’ve been great to have a service dog that sensed telepathically that I was about to do something stupid and stopped me by knocking me out of my wheelchair and lying on top of me on the ground until the impulse passed, or something like that.

Or as an adult, I’ve been in that situation everyone ends up in sooner or later, where you’ve broken up with someone but in a  moment of weakness you get back together. But then it doesn’t take long to remember why you broke up in the first place. It sure would’ve saved me a lot of grief had one of those amazing telepathic service dogs been around when I was about to make that drunken phone call at 3 a.m. to knock me out of my wheelchair and lie on top of me on the ground until the impulse passed, or something like that.

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Saturday, February 19, 2022

I Think I Got Away With it

 I was talking to a smart young woman who is a high school senior. She told me she's  applied to 12 colleges and is waiting to hear back from them so she can choose which one to attend. She asked me how many colleges I applied to when I was a high school senior. I said I applied to one.

People said I was a smart kid when I was a senior but my college options were limited nonetheless because I was crippled and that was 1974. That was the year after the passage of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the federal law that said entities receiving federal money couldn’t discriminate against cripples. The Rehab Act hadn’t had time to take root yet so there weren’t a lot of cripple-accessible college campuses. About the only college that was accessible enough for me to attend was Southern Illinois University so that’s where I applied and luckily enough I got in or I’d have been screwed.

I laugh hard when I hear those scandalous stories about people who are rich and/or famous doing stuff like paying bribes and cheating to get their kids into some hot-shit college, like Stanford. I laugh hard because I think about how ridiculous it would be for anybody to pay bribes and cheat to get into Southern Illinois University.

But actually, I’m lucky I didn’t have to cheat or bribe my way into Southern Illinois University. The high school I attended was a state-operated boarding school for cripples, which I refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology, because it forms an acronym that conveys the quality of the education I received there (SHIT). But the real name of the place was the Illinois Children’s Hospital School, which is even worse. That’s the name of the school on my high school diploma. It hardly sounds like an elite college prep academy. And my grades were mediocre, because I was a teenager and I didn’t give a shit. And my score on my college entrance exam was mediocre, too, because I was a teenager and I didn’t give a shit.

So I’m still amazed that the person at Southern Illinois University who reviewed my college application didn’t stick it right into the shredder, after sharing it with all of their coworkers for a good laugh. But for some reason they accepted me. And it’s too late for them to take it back. I think I got away with it.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2022

When the Bottom Isn't the Bottom

According to the dictionary, there is such a word as subminimum.

I wish the dictionary was wrong about that, but, sadly, it is not. Subminimum should be enough of an oxymoron to invalidate itself as a word. Minimum means bottom and sub means beneath. So how can you go beneath the bottom? Is the bottom the bottom or isn’t it?

 I hear the word subminimum a lot, but only in reference to the wages some crippled workers are paid. There’s a provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 that allow employers to pay some of their crippled employees less than they’re allowed to pay their uncrippled employees. That’s why I’ve heard a lot of stories of crippled workers being paid pennies per hour.

And so when it comes to paying crippled workers, the bottom isn’t the bottom. The example sentence in the dictionary that uses the word subminimum ought to be,  The cripples starved because their wages were subminimum.

Some people in Congress have tried to change the law to get rid of that stupid provision. But their legislative efforts have died of neglect in committee. Believe it or not, there are some heavyweight political forces that make it their business to ensure that the law doesn’t change, (I suppose that’s not that hard to believe.) I won’t share with you the altruistic rationale they present for paying cripples shit. That would be like dumping a bucket of horseshit over your head and I know you get enough of that as it is. I like to think of Smart Ass Cripple as a safe space for people seeking refuge from horseshit—a horseshit-free zone, if you will.

Suffice it to say that there are a lot of greedy-pig “nonprofit” organizations that could lose big money if they have to pay cripples no less than minimum wage. Maybe the example sentence in the dictionary that uses the word subminimum ought to be, Bosses who pay cripples pennies per hour have moral and ethical standards that are subminimum.

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