Thursday, March 31, 2022



If you’ve noticed, I don’t like to call it ableism when cripples freak out verts (which is what I call people who walk because it’s short for vertical).

It’s not that I don’t believe a lot of verts are freaked out by cripples. Lord knows they are. But ableism doesn’t seem like the right word for it to me. It just sounds too gratingly wimpy. I prefer to call it something like crippophobia because that’s what it is. It’s fear of cripples.

And the best word I can come up with for that is crippophobia. Because I  looked it up and I couldn’t find a word for fear of cripples. There are a zillion weird phobias including fear of balloons and fear of chickens. But there is no word as far as I can tell for fear of cripples, which means that the people who come up with names for all the weird phobias must think there’s no such thing, which means none of them are crippled.

Because when verts are freaked out by cripples, it’s because they’re scared of us. It’s not the same type of fear some white people have of black people. They’re not afraid we’re going to move in next door and try to date their daughters. And they’re not afraid of us the same way people are afraid of the IRS. We can’t garnish their paychecks.

And it’s not like we’re all contagious. It’s not like if you’re in the same room with someone with cerebral palsy, you’ll suddenly become all spastic. If you breathe the same air as a little person, you won’t shrink.

Maybe people are scared of us for the same reason they’re scared of spiders—because they think we’re ugly. Most spiders can’t hurt anybody but they scare the hell out of people because they’re ugly.

But I think it’s probably more of an existential fear. The verts who don’t want cripples around them are scared because we remind them of the endless possibilities of life, and not in a good way. We remind them that anybody can be or become one of us, which we often find humorous because being one of us freaks them out way more than it does us.

 We remind them how tenuous everything is. They resent our existence because we’re a buzzkill.

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Thursday, March 17, 2022

Rollercoaster Therapy


 I’m surprised nobody has invented rollercoaster therapy for cripples yet.

I mean, somebody came up with horse therapy, right? You know what I ‘m talking about. Some people bring around a saddled-up horse and their mission is to take cripples horseback riding. And they’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen. Even if three other people have to ride the horse with you to keep your limp and floppy crippled body from falling off, they’ll gladly do it. If they have to rig up a saddle contraption that looks like a giant child’s car seat encased in steel girders to hold you upright when you ride, they’ll gladly do that, too.

And it seems like the more crippled you are, and thus the more uncomfortable and terrifying it is for you to ride a horse, the more the horse therapy people seem bent on trying to sign you up. I guess they think the things cripples miss most are the things we are least able to do. They must think that if we find that we really can do those things, sort of, then maybe we’ll believe that we can do anything.

Well, thanks but no thanks, at least not for me. I let myself be talked into riding horses back when I was a kid at cripple summer camp and all it did for me was scare the shit out of me. I was glad when it was over and I could get back in my wheelchair.  I still carry that fear to this day and I don’t wish to expend any energy endeavoring to conquer it. It’s a healthy fear. If not being able to ride a horse is part of what it means to be a cripple like me, I’m fine with that part of what it means to be a cripple like me.

 When riding a horse, I felt like a rag doll tethered to a bucking bronco. There is no fun in that. And that’s how riding a rollercoaster has made me feel, too, the time or two that I’ve tried it. The way it whips my wet noodle body around, I feel like a crash test dummy in a car that’s tumbling down a cliff. That’s not my idea of a good time.

So I’m surprised that no one has concluded that since riding a rollercoaster is probably the thing cripples like me are least equipped to do, it must be the thing we’re most longing to do. And so they’d make it their mission to arrange cripple field trips to amusement parks where they would do whatever it takes to get us all to ride rollercoasters.

Well, the good news is Medicaid probably wouldn’t pay for this kind of therapy. So we’ll have a good excuse to get out of it.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Sharing my Crippledness


I’ve met tons of cripples  of every shape and size in my day. Yessir if you name a variety of cripple, no matter how obscure, I’ve probably met one.

 But the one type of cripple I've never met are those fake cripples that are allegedly going around pretending to be crippled just so they can tap into stuff like Social Security and Medicaid. If there are any people like that, there can’t be very many of them and they aren’t too smart because you won’t get rich pretending to be crippled. It violates the first rule of successful gold digging, which is to  always dig where there is gold.

Actually, I have to take that back because you can get rich by pretending to be crippled. But first you have to be a famous actor. If you’re somebody like Tom Hanks or Al Pacino or Daniel Day Lewis you can play a crippled protagonist  in a movie and everyone will say what a marvelous actor you are and there’ll be all kinds of Oscar buzz.

 But if you’re not one of those guys, trying to mooch your way onto easy street by pretending to be crippled is a stupid idea. So I don’t worry about it. It’s like worrying you’ll be gored by a unicorn.

Maybe that’s why I don’t feel all selfish about sharing my crippledness, like some cripples I know. Whenever these cripples hear about someone with something like schizophrenia proclaiming to be crippled, they scoff and call them a fraud. They don’t want to admit them into the cripple club because they think it will cheapen their own crippled stature, I guess.

I think these cripples are listening too much to the republican and neoliberal types. When they want to cut the hell out of stuff like Medicaid, they try to tell all the panicky cripples who rely on stuff like Medicaid to stay alive not to worry because it won’t hurt them one bit. Even though they’re cutting millions, the cripples who are truly deserving won’t notice any difference. Only those make a mockery of what it means to be crippled will be cut loose.

I guess they want to start a cripple civil war. They want us to believe that there’s only so much pie to go around so the more cripples there are, the less pie there’ll be for us genuine cripples who have paid our cripple dues.

But I don’t know about all that. I’ve always felt like the more people who fit the definition of crippled, the merrier. I figure the more of us there are, the more we’ll be taken seriously.

If there’s not enough pie, then make more pie. 

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