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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