Saturday, July 29, 2023

Who the Hell are These Cripples, Anyway?


There are times when I just shake my head and say to myself. “Who the hell are these cripples, anyway?”

I especially feel that way when I read cripple magazines. There are people who put out magazines where cripples are the target audience. The ads are for cripple stuff like wheelchairs and catheters. These magazines tend to be glossy and full of stories about adventurous cripples who do stuff like go on safaris. There are never stories about cripples living off Social Security and hustling hard to get by, trying to figure out how the hell they’re going to be able to afford to buy cripple stuff like wheelchairs and catheters.

And it’s inevitable that sooner or later the magazines will run a story about a cripple who couldn’t find a wheelchair accessible place to live so they built a wheelchair accessible house from scratch. The story recounts the whole process, from the cripple finding and acquiring just the right plot of land to drawing up blueprints with the architects to supervising the contractor during construction.

And that’s when I say to myself, “Who the hell are these cripples, anyway?” I mean, finding a wheelchair accessible place to live is a trying quest that every cripple must eventually embark upon. But of the zillions of cripples I’ve known, I don’t believe I’ve met one who conquered this obstacle by building their own wheelchair accessible house.

Who can afford to do that? Cripples in search of a wheelchair accessible place to live usually settle for moving into some tiny hole that’s vaguely accessible and then they try to stay there for the rest of their lives because finding an affordable place to live is a huge pain in the ass when you don’t have to worry about wheelchair access. But when you do have to worry about wheelchair access, that eliminates about 90 percent of the available tiny holes from consideration.

At lot of cripples move into places that are accidentally accessible. Like maybe there’s a building with a tiny hole of a “garden” apartment back by the dumpster area in the alley. And the entrance is flat not for the benefit of cripples but so that the dumpsters can be rolled in and out. So the cripple enters and exits through the dumpster gate. The view from their windows is of the alley.

But that’s good enough! To the cripple it’s paradise. The cripple will stay there for the rest of their life if they can  because it sure beats the hell out of searching for a wheelchair accessible place to live.

I never see stories like that in those cripple magazines.

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Sunday, July 16, 2023

My Cold Feet Won't Kill Me


The television commercial was designed to make me immediately want to run out and get a neuropathy risk assessment. But it didn’t work on me.

I must admit that at first the commercial caught my ear. The all-knowing voiceover explained that neuropathy is nerve damage and then it rattled off symptoms. “Do you suffer from numbness or tingling in your fingers and or toes?” it said. “Do you have cold feet?”

Cold feet? I always have cold feet. If the temperature is below 80 degrees, I get cold feet. I even get cold feet if the temperature is above 80 degrees if there’s too much air conditioning, like in a hotel. When its hot outside, hotels crank up the air conditioning and it feels like you’re in a meat locker.

So maybe this means I have neuropathy. And maybe my cold feet might kill so maybe I shouldn’t be so cavalier about them! Maybe I should get a neuropathy risk assessment right away, as the all-knowing voiceover urged me to do.

But I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it even though the all-knowing voiceover warned of all the scary things that can happen if neuropathy goes untreated. A person can end up in a wheelchair!

That didn’t scare me.

Untreated neuropathy can even lead to amputation!

That didn’t scare me either. When I was a kid, I got some sort of bad infection in my foot. As I was sitting with my foot hanging over the bathtub so my mother could scrub it, she said to me, “You better be careful, or you might have to have your foot cut off!”

And I said, “So what. I don’t use it anyway.”

That’s how I felt about it, even as a kid. About half of my body didn’t work anyway. I just dragged it around for cosmetic purposes. It might be a relief not to have to do that anymore. So maybe the cure for perpetually cold feet is not to have any feet.

The all-knowing voiceover never said untreated neuropathy can be lethal. So it couldn’t scare me. I guess I wasn’t the right demographic.

But seeing that commercial did bring me a certain peace of mind. At least I now know that my cold feet won’t kill me.

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Sunday, July 9, 2023

Getting Good and Blasted on a Cripple Field Trip


The sessions of Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Summer Camp were one week long. The YMCA campgrounds where the sessions were held wasn’t far away from a shopping mall.

So one year the people who organized the cripple activities at the camp decided to arrange a Wednesday field trip to the shopping mall. At first only the crippled older women went. The guys my age were too cool to go on a crippled old lady’s field trip like that.

But by the second or third year we all signed up to go. In fact, just about the whole camp emptied out as everyone boarded one of the cripple buses and went to the shopping mall. That’s because word got around that there was a bar in the shopping mall called Beer & Brat. And so everyone except the crippled old ladies who enjoyed going to the stores went straight to Beer & Brat and spent the afternoon getting good and blasted. Apparently Beer & Brat didn’t card us very hard because I don’t think a lot of us were quite old enough to get good and blasted legally.

At Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Summer Camp, every cripple had to be accompanied at all times by our specially assigned vert (which is what I call people who walk because it’s short for vertical). And so many of the verts that were with us also got good and blasted. I remember one of them climbing on top of the juke box and mooning everybody.

I wonder what the owners of Beer & Brat made of the annual cripple invasion. They were probably at least a little freaked out because getting a bunch of cripples good and blasted surely had to be against the law or something, right? But they should’ve been happy as hell to see us packing the place because no doubt they made a shitload of money off of us. And on a Wednesday to boot!

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