Saturday, November 18, 2023

Name that Cripple


I always thought that there ought to be a game show called Name that Cripple. It would surely become a craze that would sweep the nation.

All we’d have to do is line up three wheelchair cripples right next to each other on a street corner somewhere. The three cripples would be of the same age and race and gender and all so they’d all look pretty much alike. But one of the cripples would have something like muscular dystrophy and  the second would have something completely different like cerebral palsy and the third one would be your standard quadriplegic from a spinal cord injury.

The emcee would stop random passersby who are verts (which is what I call people who walk because it’s short for vertical). And if a vert agrees to play Name that Cripple, the emcee gives them three blank cardboard placards and a marking pen. And each placard would be attached to a string and the vert contestant would write something like muscular dystrophy on the placard and hang it around the neck of whichever one they thought to be the corresponding cripple.

And if a vert contestant gets all three right, they win a valuable  prize, such as a lovely new dining room set from Broyhill. But nobody will ever get all three right because it never fails that the average vert on the street can’t tell the difference between a c.p. cripple and an m.d. cripple and a quad. They can’t tell the cripples apart without a scorecard.

This always baffles me because if I played Name that Cripple I’d be the grand champion. I can identify a cripple’s genre from a mile away. If I was looking down from a helicopter on a field of cripples, I could rattle off in no time which one was which.  I think the differences between us are bloody obvious.

But that’s probably because I’ve spent so many years hanging around with such a wide variety of cripples that I’ve developed a keen eye. I don’t think I can say the same about anything else. If I was looking down from a helicopter on a field of cows, for example, they would all just look like a bunch of cows to me.

But when it comes to cripples, I can look at a parking lot full of empty cars and tell you which car belongs to a cripple and which one doesn’t. Like for instance, if it’s a fancy sports car, it’s probably not a cripple car. I never see cripples driving or even riding around in fancy sports cars, probably because doing so is too much of a pain in the ass, what with the bucket seats and all. Or maybe it’s because fancy sports cars are too expensive for most cripples.

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