Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Bingo is Something About us Without us


 There’s a saying some cripples use a lot: Nothing About Us Without Us. It means, “The person who decides what I need and want should be me, dammit!”

That saying resonates with cripples because we're used to uncrippled people, like doctors and social workers and the heads of giant-ass charities, deciding what we need and what we’ll get because they think it’s too dangerous for us to decide for ourselves.  And so we end up with a lot of useless stuff bestowed upon us in the name of helping us out. It’s a lot of something about us without us.

A good example of something about us without us is bingo. A lot of cripples end up in nursing homes. And when they do they end up playing a lot of bingo. That's because there are people whose job it is to plan and conduct activities for people who reside in nursing homes. And the people who decide what these activities will be are not the ones who are expected to take part in them. And if they don’t ask the people they are planning the activities for what they want to do, all they can do is guess, based on their notion of the kinds of things cripples want to do.

But I’ve never met a cripple who has playing bingo at the top of their agenda. I’m sure there are some, because there are bingo addicts in every population and the crippled population is no exception. But it’s probably not being crippled that has made them bingo addicts. They’d probably be bingo addicts whether they were crippled or not. That's how bingo addicts are.

The reason why nursing home activity planners don’t ask cripples what they really want to do is probably because they’re afraid of what the answer will be. They know it probably will involve stuff like vodka and/or sex and having that kind of fun is off limits in a nursing home. And by the time you rule out all the fun stuff that’s off limits in a nursing home, there’s not much left except bingo and maybe square dancing.

That’s why I hate bingo. I’ve got nothing against the game per se. I just hate what it represents. Bingo is a symbol of cripple oppression and our lack of self-determination. I have to admit that I’ve even sometimes had fun playing bingo. The most fun I had was when I played drag queen bingo. It was like regular bingo except the caller was a drag queen. And the drag queen was hilarious, which made playing the game campy fun.

If I’m ever stuck in a nursing home and all they have to offer me is bingo, I hope it will at least  be drag queen bingo. But having that kind of fun will probably be off limits.

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Monday, November 21, 2022

That Coveted Captive Cripple Demographic


I’ve never seen a television commercial for a nursing home. I’ve seen commercials for everything from kitchen gadgets to boner pills. And I’ve seen plenty of commercials for those retirement communities for old people. They make them seem like blissful stud pastures where all the residents do all day is eat gourmet food and dance. But you never see any cripples in commercials like that because they don’t send cripples to places like that. Cripples go to nursing homes, unless they have bottomless buckets full of money.

The only television commercials I’ve seen that mention nursing homes are for those lawyers who sue nursing homes for abuse and neglect. I’ve seen a lot of highway billboards for those guys too. But I’ve never seen a billboard advertising for a nursing home either.

 I’d sure hate to be an advertising executive charged with coming up with television commercials and/or billboards that make a certain nursing home look like a great place to live. That would be a thankless job, even for a seasoned bull shit artist like an advertising executive, because everybody knows nursing homes are dumping grounds. You don’t just check into one for fun like it’s a resort. You surrender yourself over to one because you have no choice.

That’s probably why nursing homes don’t bother advertising on broadcast media and billboards. They know it’s a waste of money. Fortunately for them, they don’t have to go to such lengths to recruit because they know the chute is greased enough to keep a steady flow of potential customers (a.k.a abandoned cripples with nowhere else to go) falling into their laps-. The nursing home marketers only reach out to those who have been defeated to the point of surrender. They save all their highly-polished bull shit for those colorful brochures they hand out that say, in essence, since you gotta go live in a nursing home, you might as well live in ours.

Maybe if I someday see a television commercial or a billboard for a nursing home it’ll be a good thing. Maybe it’ll mean they’re getting desperate.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2022

At the Mercy of the Court


I was trying get out of paying a parking ticket. So I went to the city facility where hearings about parking tickets are held.

First I had to pass through a metal detector. Except wheelchairs are too wide to fit through those things and even if they could all the metal makes the alarms go berserk. So the security guy waved me around to his side and passed over me with his wand, like he was setting some sort of spell on me or trying to rid me of evil spirits.

Then I entered a small courtroom. The only person in there was a man sitting behind a large desk on high. His vantage point was such that he could look down upon anyone else in the room, like a  priest presiding over a Mass. So I figured this guy must be the judge, even though he wasn’t wearing a robe or a powdered wig or anything like that. He wasn’t even wearing a tie.

I sat before the judge and he told me to raise my right hand. I told him I was physically unable to do that. He smiled a warm, awkward smile of dispensation and moved on to the next step in the proceedings.

I wondered if this might be one of those times when my  crippledness works in my favor. Because I ‘ve noticed that playing up the cripple angle seems to be a popular strategy for celebrity defendants. When Bill Cosby got in trouble with the law, he tapped around the courthouse with a white cane and made it real clear how blind he was. Harvey Weinstein walked with a walker.  And former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert showed up in a wheelchair.

Maybe these guys were all playing the cripple card and throwing themselves at the mercy of the court. I don’t know. But it must not have worked very well because they all got convicted.

The judge dismissed my parking ticket so maybe my crippledness worked for me. Or maybe I just presented a good case. I don't know and I didn’t ask. I just thanked him and got the hell out of there.

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