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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For all the confidence you put in me only the smallest part I could accomplish, I would stand before you now dumbfounded. I have negotiated with irrational people before as you know well you were my refuge after such an occurrence. But the level of irrationality now well it sets us back right to the point of the matter which is what you were getting at I think. We got to start rebuilding with shit bricks if necessary. I think I finally got the concept but as usual I really don't know how to handle it. Truly great organizers are better at that kind of stuff starting completely over if necessary. In this context it would be appropriate to say I'm naked or nearly naked. No local film at 11:00 I promise :-)ReplyDelete
And for what it's worth my advice to the younglings out there be cautious of careerists at Independent living centers. There's a difference between affirmative action and a suit who snags a cripple spot. I can't get a damn thing done here and I got to be honest that's the issue. Plus I'm not known for playing at night exactly but only if I'm forced into that position and I'm too exhausted to get mad from the beginning of anything now even if I wanted to. Going underground has its value but still trying to figure out what that means and how to do itReplyDelete