Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Cripple Legacy of Rudolph the Red- Nosed Reindeer


Whenever I hear the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I feel very conflicted. I never know what to make of Rudolph’s legacy as a cripple

Afterall, as the story goes, RRR was ostracized because he was considered to be a defective freak. All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games. Every cripple certainly knows how that feels.

But RRR refused to assimilate. He continued being the freak that he was and eventually he got the last laugh on that foggy Christmas Eve when Santa called upon him to save the day.

So  should I hold RRR up as a role model for little criplets? Is he an example of a proud cripple who took the risk of letting their freak flag fly? Or was he just another Tiny Tim?

This is the problem with the song. It doesn’t go into how RRR felt about being laughed at and called names and banished from the reindeer games. Maybe he said to the other reindeer, “Fuck you guys and your stupid reindeer games!” But maybe he sulked in his stall and watched longingly through the window, desperately wishing he wasn’t a freak so the other reindeer would accept him as their peer.

 The song needs another stanza that delves into RRR’s psyche. But the songwriter leaves all this stuff open to interpretation.

My guess is that if RRR could have assimilated, he definitely would have. If someone had offered him a chance to have his red nose surgically removed, he would have jumped all over it .

That would have drastically altered the trajectory of the song. On that foggy Christmas Eve, Santa would have been screwed and the sleigh would have been grounded . Either that or that or it would have crashed into a  mountainside near Buenos Aires. Either way, Christmas would be cancelled.

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Monday, August 22, 2022

On the Wussy Trail


I’ve seen motorized wheelchairs with tank tracks for tires. Apparently, somebody is manufacturing and marketing such a device.

This makes me think of two things:

1.      These wheelchair/tank hybrids  don’t seem very practical in the real world.  I’ve only seen cripples actually riding around in these things in sales promotional videos. Never in daily life. The tank tracks turn a wheelchair into a rugged, all-terrain vehicle. But hell, they also make it so wide that I couldn’t even get it through the front door of my home.

It’s intended for use only in the great outdoors. It gives cripples access to areas they can’t get to in an ordinary wheelchair. It empowers them to do stuff like go deer hunting

Now I like the great outdoors as much as any cripple. And I ‘m aware (sometimes painfully so) that my participation is often limited to the wussy trails, which are those trails in state parks and places like that which are wheelchair accessible. That means that they are probably paved and flat and short. The degree of difficulty is zero. Walking hikers look at them and guffaw.

But even if this indignation inspired me to get a wheelchair with tank tracks, I don’t know how I would transport it. It sure as hell won’t fit in my cripple van. So, I’d have to rent a U-Haul or something to take it anywhere.

2.     Have fun getting Medicaid to pay for it.   The wheelchair I’m riding around in cost more than $20,000. And it has regular tires. So, you figure a wheelchair with tank tracks must cost at least that much. And Medicaid makes you fight like hell if you want them to pay for a plain old wheelchair. First, they’ll approve you for a unicycle and then you have to get your doctor to write a long Dear Medicaid letter detailing why the other three wheels are “medically necessary.” And then Medicaid still turns you down again and again and makes you file about 15 appeals.

So, Medicaid sure as hell isn’t going to pay a cent for a wheelchair with tank tracks, even if you can find a doctor who will write a long Dear Medicaid letter detailing why tank tracks are “medically necessary."

So, anyone who buys one of those wheelchairs with tank tracks has to want to go deer hunting bad enough to cough up about $20,000 of their own money

I’ll stick to the wussy trail.  

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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Professional Masochist

 I never hail Uber or those rideshare services. Because I know what’s gonna happen. Chances are great that I won’t be able to get a ride because there aren’t any cripple accessible vehicles on the street. And that’s because Uber drivers use their own private vehicles and most people’s own private vehicles aren’t cripple accessible.

And I don’t know about you but for me, hailing a ride isn’t a theoretical exercise. When I decide I need to go someplace, it’s because I need to go someplace. Why would I hail a ride to get me there if I didn’t care whether or not they show up?

And so I don’t bother to even consider Uber because it seems masochistic. I feel it’s as pointless as sitting on a buzzsaw. I know what gonna happen so why not just spare myself the pain?

But now I’m thinking maybe I should rethink that strategy. It seems there actually are some cripples who actually hailed Uber and actually got picked up. I know such people exist because the U.S.  Department of Justice sued Uber on behalf of these cripples. DoJ sued Uber because after these cripples got picked up they were charged extra because they took more than two minutes to get loaded into the vehicle. DoJ said that was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Apparently Uber hits riders with an extra fee if they keep a driver waiting more than two minutes. If so, if I ever managed to somehow land Uber rides then I’d probably get hit with that fee every time. I don’t just open the car door and hop in like your average vert (which is what I call people who walk because it’s short for vertical.) If it’s a cripple accessible van, the driver has to get out and come around and deploy the wheelchair ramp. Then I roll in and maneuver into place. Then the driver has to strap down my wheelchair so I don’t ricochet around the van like a pinball when they hit the brakes. It’s gonna take at least two minutes to do all that, if we’re lucky.

Well, DoJ recently announced a settlement of the lawsuit, in which Uber agreed to pay $1.8 million to more than a thousand cripples who reported being stung by those fees.

I’m jealous. If I’d have just gone out there an taken my lumps instead of avoiding Uber altogether, some of that cash could’ve been mine. But that’s what I get for not trying to go places where I'm not welcome.

But maybe it’s not too late for me. Maybe I can become a professional masochist.  I’ll take my shot, even when I know damn well I’ll be rebuffed, and then I'll sue the hell out of people. It’s probably a painful way to make a living, but what isn’t?

Maybe I should start today by trying to hail an Uber. But I’m afraid that, just my luck, everything will go smooth and I’ll get to where I’m going. 

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