Friday, March 31, 2023

A Certified Role Model


People sometimes tell me I’m a good role model for criplets. But I have a hard time seeing myself as a role model because I don’t really know what a role model is. There are no standards or anything.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d like to go around being a role model. If nothing else, it might be a way to make a few bucks.

But what qualifications do I have to call myself a role model? Just because I’m an adult cripple who’s managed to accomplish a few things in life, big deal. Is that all it takes to be an official crippled role model? I sure hope not.

And I ‘ve always been suspicious of cripples who brazenly go around acting like they’re everybody's big-time role model. You know what I ‘m talking about. It’s those motivational speaker types. They make me not want to be a role model for sure. To quote the great 20th Century philosopher Groucho Marx, I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.

I’d feel a lot more confident if there was some kind of state licensing test I had to pass to be allowed to call myself a role model.The first question would be, “What the hell makes you think you’re a role model?” I’d be too intimidated to answer that question so I’d give up taking the test right then and there and I‘d never get certified. But at least I’d know for sure that I’m not a role model.

I’d also feel more confident being a role model if role models were required to have malpractice insurance. One of the things that holds me back from declaring myself a role model is I’m afraid of being sued. What if some criplet decides he wants to be like me and finds out the hard way that was a bad idea? It's bound to happen. And there’s bound to be some ambulance-chasing lawyer out there who will gladly take the case.

I guess that’s why I resist being  a role model so hard. It’s too much responsibility.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Please Don't Jump into a Freezing Lake on My Account

I, Smart Ass Cripple, do hereby solemnly swear that I will never be the type of cripple who makes uncrippled people dive into a freezing cold body of water in the dead of winter just to raise money for them.

It seems like every week in winter I see a local news report about a group of uncrippled people who, presumably, are otherwise sane and rational, going to the beach on a frigid day, stripping down to their bathing suits and jumping in the lake. To get people to do stuff like this you’d better have a damn good reason. And what better reason is there than raising money for cripples?

In Chicago, they jump in the lake in winter to raise money for the Special Olympics. There’s something sadistic and tyrannical about that, making people freeze their asses off for you. It sounds like something a spoiled little 10-year-old king would do to the peasants for laughs.

I know nobody is holding a  gun to anybody’s head and making them jump into a frigid lake. But if those people were raising money for me, I’d be horrified. I’d feel obliged to go down to the beach with a bullhorn and shout, “What the hell are you people doing? Are you nuts?  Go home and get warm!” If I was in the Special Olympics, I'd mess up their whole gig.

No offense, but I would never jump in a freezing lake for you. There would have to be a helluva lot at stake for me to make me do that. Someone would have to be holding my family hostage and threatening to kill them, or something like that.

So if anybody out there ever feels so sorry for or inspired by me that you’re ready to raise money for me by taking a flying leap into a freezing lake, please don’t. You can just write me a check instead.

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Friday, March 10, 2023

More Smart Ass Cripple Tips for Young Criplets

 Like I said last time, I always love giving tips to young criplets about ways I’ve found to navigate through the world as a cripple.

Here are some more: Never wear underwear or pajamas but always wear slip-on shoes.

I learned these valuable lessons because the high school I attended was a state-operated boarding school for cripples, which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT).

The great existential question every inmate faced was, "Is there life beyond SHIT?” SHIT was a bubble. There were staff to meet our needs. The people who helped us get in and out of bed were the houseparents. There were therapists aplenty.

But what happened if an inmate graduated or reached age 21 and couldn’t live at SHIT anymore? Without the houseparents around, who was going to help us get in and out of bed?

The therapists thought their job was to help me figure out how to do as much of that kind of stuff as I could for myself. They devised elaborate, makeshift technology, like long sticks with hooks and snaps and pulleys on them, to help me do stuff like pull up my socks. It didn’t matter if it took me all day to pull up my socks. The important thing was that I did it myself.

And so I came up with all kinds of shortcuts. I wouldn’t have to worry about putting my pajamas on without any houseparents around if I slept naked. I wouldn’t have to figure out a way to wiggle my underwear on and off if I didn’t wear any. I wouldn’t have to waste any time tying my shoes if I wore slip-ons.

These are the things I did to ensure my survival beyond SHIT. I still don’t wear pajamas or underwear because, well, what’s the point? And not buying those things saves money, too. I sometimes wear shoes that have laces, but regardless of what kind of shoes I wear, I have someone else put them on me. There’s a crew of people that I’ve hired to do all that kind of stuff for me. I call them my pit crew. They’re all paid an hourly wage but it doesn’t cost me anything, except when I pay my taxes. The state government covers it all.

 I hope these tips aren’t as relevant as they once were. Fortunately, there are a whole lot more of these programs around, so today’s cripples don’t have to stress about doing everything yourself or going broke paying someone to help. But there aren’t nearly enough of these programs and a lot of cripples can’t get the help they need. So my tips may prove to be helpful  after all.

Oh crap! I just remembered that a few years back, I was invited to be the commencement speaker at SHIT. I’m one of their prize alumni. (Do you see why I call it SHIT?) I talked all kinds of shit to the graduating criplets, but I didn’t share these tips with them. Sorry about that, criplets. Maybe the SHIT people will invite me to speak again.

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