Sunday, May 29, 2022

Government Overreach


 I went into one of those cripple accessible “ family” bathrooms. And because it was coed there was a tampon dispenser mounted on the wall across from the toilet.

 The dispenser was a white, metal box and on the front it said, “meets the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act”.

I wondered what the hell that meant. Are there ADA accessibility standards for tampons? Are they required to have a sticker on them that says in Braille THIS END UP?

Or maybe it was the dispenser itself that was in full compliance. But that didn’t seem to be the case. There was no Braille anywhere on the dispenser. So, if a blind person was in the bathroom in need of a tampon, they would have no idea that relief was so nearby.

The only other thing I could think of was that maybe the ADA reference pertained to the height at which the tampon dispenser was mounted on the wall. But how would the manufacturers of the dispenser know that indeed it was installed at a compliant height unless they installed it themselves? And that didn’t seem likely. 

Thus, I circled back to my original hypothesis that perhaps there are access standards for the tampons themselves. I looked it up online, because the internet never lies. And I found out that earlier this year tampon guidelines that included quantitative measures for absorbency, etc. were released by ANSI. I’ve always known that acronym to stand for the American National Standards Institute. But in this case, ANSI stood for the Australian National Standards Institute.

So I must hereby concede that there appear to be no ADA access standards for tampons. (Somebody out there please correct me if I’m wrong.) I figured that would the case because if there were such standards, I’m sure by now I would’ve heard some be bitter libertarian holding this up as yet another egregious example of government overreach. They’d be frothing on and on about how soon we’ll all be living in  a socialist hellscape, like Australia. 

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Friday, May 20, 2022

Typecast as a Genius


I bumped into one of my crippled friends who’s an actor. It seems he’s been typecast.

It used to be when an actor who really was crippled (and not just an uncrippled person playing the role of a cripple ) got typecast, the only roles they could get were as a smarmy little Tiny Tim or a sideshow freak or something like that.  But the last big role my actor friend had was on a short-lived television show where he played a computer genius. Now he has a role in another television show where he plays another kind of genius. They just gave him a different profession, but he's still a genius.

This is all the fault of that damn Stephen Hawking. I know he’s dead, but I won’t let that intimidate me into silence.

Because of him, now when people think about cripples, they don’t just picture smarmy little Tiny Tims and sideshow freaks anymore. They also picture geniuses.

But that still worries me. Because first off, I wonder if people are able to see us as geniuses because they think we don’t have anything better to do but sit around and become geniuses. Maybe they think our days consist of someone rolling our wheelchairs up to the window, a plaid blanket wrapped around our legs, and we sit there all day gazing forlornly at the stars.

And second off, I don’t want people to expect me to be a genius all the time in real life just because I’m crippled. I can’t even begin to humor them by pretending to be that smart, even if I wanted to. My friend can probably pull that off because he’s a good actor. But not me. If everyone's expecting a genius, I'm bound to let them down.

I suppose it’s better that people expect cripples to be geniuses instead of smarmy little Tiny Tims and sideshow freaks. But not much

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Sunday, May 8, 2022

Blind Pedestrians Versus Birds


Sometimes you can tell something is fake because it looks too real. Fake flowers are a good example. You can tell they’re fake right away because they look too perfect. They have no brown spots or any other flaws. Or how about wax fruit? You can tell it’s not fruit because it looks way too much like fruit.

There’s a street corner in Chicago where you can hear birds chirping all day and night, even in the dead of winter. But if you listen long enough you realize it’s bird sound effects because every time they chirp it’s the same number of chirps at the same cadence and the interval between flurries of chirps is always exactly the same.

On that same street corner there’s also a facility where blind people learn to walk the streets using white canes. So that makes sense. The bird sound effects come on whenever the WALK sign comes on at the traffic light so the blind people know it’s okay to cross the street.

But I wonder what happens if real birds chirp when the DON’T WALK sign is on. Blind people might wander out into traffic. Maybe whoever came up with the bird chirp idea is counting on blind people knowing the fake birds are fake because they sound too real.

But I wonder what happens if a parrot gets loose. A parrot could do a dead-on impression of the fake birds while the DON’T WALK sign is on, just so blind people will wander out into traffic. You know what smart asses parrots are.

Maybe,  just to be on the safe side, the signal that tells blind people it’s okay to cross the street ought to be something you never hear in the city, which rules out gun shots. How about a lion’s roar? If a real  lion gets loose, the blind people are screwed anyway.

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