Monday, April 22, 2024

The Cripple School Color Guard

 Here’s another way you can tell if a crippled adult went to segregated high school for cripples only, like I did. If that crippled adult was in their high school marching band, or if the high school they went to even had a marching band, then it most likely wasn’t a segregated high school for cripples only. Because segregated high schools for cripples only don’t bother to have marching bands.

No, the closest thing to a marching band I ever saw was at the segregated elementary school for cripples only. We had a color guard there. And every school assembly began with the presentation of colors. Three of the crippled students marched up the aisle of the assembly hall. The first two carried the flags of the city and state and the last flag was the American flag. The color guard kids marched up onto the stage and mounted the colors. And then they all put their hands on their hearts and Ied everyone in reciting The Pledge of Allegiance.

I really wanted to be one of the color guard kids. I thought it was so cool. But I didn’t know how to go about signing up. There weren’t any auditions or anything that I knew of.  I knew that the gym teacher organized it all. But other than that it just seemed like certain kids were randomly selected to be on the color guard and they were sent to the gym teacher and he took it from there.

As I recall, all of the kids in the color guard were the cripples who could walk without crutches or anything, like the hemophiliacs (aka the bleeders). Maybe the gym teacher was afraid that a wheelchair cripple might drop a flag or something and that might start a big commotion. There were definitely no spastic cripples in the color guard.

But the color guard kid I was most envious of was the one who didn’t even join in the marching. He sat off to the side behind a snare drum and drummed out the solemn, steady beat to which the color guard marched. I thought it would be so cool to have that job. I bet it made the chicks swoon. That was the closest thing we had to a rock star at the cripple school.

But it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t get to be a drummer at the segregated elementary school for cripples only. Because after I graduated from there I went on to an even more segregated boarding school for cripples only that was operated by the state. I refer to it as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology  (SHIT). They didn’t even have a color guard at SHIT, let alone a marching band. So would have been sitting there all alone with my drumsticks, frustrated that I didn’t have a creative outlet.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us keep going. Just click below to contribute.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

An Essay Comparing and Contrasting Abandoned Dogs and Abandoned Cripples

I saw one of those television commercials where they try to convince everyone to donate $19 a month to an organization that saves the lives of abandoned dogs. And it occurred to me that abandoned dogs have a lot in common with abandoned cripples.

The abandoned dogs in this commercial ended up in some place that looked like a puppy mill. The sad voiceover of the narrator said these poor dogs had been dumped there. Indeed, it looked like the mustache-twirling villains that ran the place had vamoosed in a flash because they got a tip that a raid was coming

And it hit me that a lot of abandoned cripples are also dumped in sinister places that are very much like puppy mills. They’re called nursing homes but maybe we should call them cripple mills. Puppy mills profit off of their hostage puppies by selling them. Nursing homes profit off of their hostage cripples by taking away their Social Security and Medicaid money. The nursing homes send the bill to Medicaid for the room and board of the hostages and the hostages also have to sign away all but about $30 a month of their Social Security income to the nursing home.

The narrator in the television commercial spoke with urgency how the poor dogs are trapped in overcrowded conditions and get very little freedom of movement. The same is true of cripples trapped in  nursing homes. They might have three or four strangers as roommates and none of the hostages can leave the grounds without a doctor’s permission.

But there are some ways in which abandoned dogs and abandoned cripples don't have much in common. The narrator for the commercial said there is still hope for dogs like these. There was a video of several people coming to rescue the abandoned dogs. All the people wore windbreakers and on the back was the acronym of the organization that was trying to get everyone to donate $19 a month.

I’ve never seen a television commercial that tries to convince everyone to donate $19 a month to an organization that saves abandoned cripples. There must not be any organizations that raids nursing homes and frees all of the crippled hostages.

It looks like abandoned dogs have a whole lot more going for them than abandoned cripples do.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us keep going. Just click below to contribute.)

Sunday, March 31, 2024

What the Hell Were They Thinking?

 I have a friend named  Al Pacino (Smart Ass Cripple alias). He has a brother who has autism. Let’s call him Bill  Pacino. 

Both of their parents are dead so Al Pacino is Bill  Pacino’ legal guardian. That means Al Pacino makes Bill Pacino’s major life decisions for him and watches out for him. He keeps a sharp eye out but sometimes weird stuff happens to Bill Pacino anyway 

Bill Pacino lives in a group home with four other guys. One of Bill Pacino’s great passions in life is food. He gobbles it up. Al Pacino says this gets Bill Pacino in trouble sometimes at the group home because he eats other people’s food. He’s not trying to be a jerk. He just doesn’t understand the concept of food  belonging to certain people. He opens the fridge and sees something  he likes and he eats it.

And because he lives in a group home, Bill Pacino also participates in a day program. A lot of cripples who live in nursing homes and group homes are sent to day programs whether they like it or not. The idea is  to give them something to do besides sit around the nursing home or group home with their thumbs up their butts. A bunch of not-for-profit organizations have popped up to provide these programs. The website of one of those organizations, which operates in the area where Bill Pacino lives, says its day programs offer participants “the opportunity to engage in their community, develop support groups outside of the family, as well as provide an environment to cultivate personal interests and vocational skills.”

Some cripples who have taken part in day programs have told me that the problem is that instead of sitting around the nursing home or group home with your thumb up your ass, you’re taken to some facility where you sit around with your thumb up your ass. And one day, Al Pacino says, somebody at one of the facilities decided that the vocational skill Bill Pacino was going to cultivate was putting labels on bags of pot gummies that were to be sold in the state-certified dispensaries of recreational marijuana.

I suppose you can figure out how that turned out. Yep, they put a bag of marijuana gummies in front of Bill Pacino and he ate them all.

What the hell were they thinking?

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us keep going. Just click below to contribute.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Turning Down Free Food

 My late sister was crippled, like me. She also had a wheelchair accessible van, like me.

She often got carry-outs and deliveries from her local Chinese restaurant, which was located in a strip mall. One day my sister and her husband went to pick up their carry-out order. There was only one parking space reserved for cripples in the strip mall parking lot and the striped area next to the parking space was being occupied by the strip mall’s dumpster.

This pissed my sister off, like it always pisses me off when I see someone parked in or something cluttering up the striped area next to a parking space reserved for cripples. Because that striped area means NO PARKING, DAMMIT and it’s there because many cripples enter and exit our vehicles via a lift or ramp that comes out of the sliding side door. We need that extra space in order to get in and out of the vehicle so if it’s cluttered up it renders the parking space unless.

And that happens a lot. I’ve gone to shopping centers where the striped areas next to the reserved cripple parking spaces are occupied by metal corals for shopping carts.

My sister called some state agency that’s in charge of enforcing cripple parking laws and reported the strip mall. When she returned a few weeks later, the dumpster had been moved elsewhere and the striped area was clutter free, as God intended. Apparently her phone call actually worked!

Shortly thereafter, the Chinese man who owned the restaurant rang her doorbell.  He was carrying a brown paper bag. My sister and her husband were confused. Neither of them ordered a delivery. What was he doing here? 

When they opened the door the smiling man said he was also very upset that the dumpster had been moved to right in front of his business because he hired feng shui experts to remodel his place so as to attract more customers. But he was afraid that having that dumpster there would  fuck up the vibe they created. So he wanted to give them this free food to express his appreciation for doing whatever she did that made them move the dumpster.

And the next night, the man returned with another bag of free food. And he did the same the night after that and the night after that and the night after that until finally my sister and her husband kept the lights off and pretended like nobody was home every night when the Chinese man rang the doorbell until, eventually, he stopped coming. They didn’t mean to be rude but they didn’t know what else to do. Their refrigerator was overflowing with leftovers from all the deliveries of the previous nights.

Being crippled will take you on many adventures. But I’ve never been on one that made me turn down free food

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us keep going. Just click below to contribute.)

Friday, March 8, 2024

The Patriarchy in Crippledom

 Far be it from me to do anything  to affirm the patriarchy. But since I always have been and always will be a cripple, I’m glad I’m a man. Having been born with a penis definitely gives you a good head start when you’re a cripple.

There is a distinct patriarchy in crippledom that grants advantages and privileges  to those of us that just so happen to have a penis. And I know I’ve benefited greatly from that. But hey, don’t yell at me about it. I didn’t make it that way. God did. It’s just the natural order of things.

Because one of the biggest challenges you face when you’re crippled is taking a piss. Some cripples have to catheterize themselves when they have to take a piss but it’s still daunting even for those of us who piss the regular way because we can’t just step up to the bowl or sit on it and let ‘er rip.Thus, taking a piss can be a major undertaking for me  but I’m still far more fortunate than many others because I have a penis that still functions in all of the ways the good Lord intended it to so I can just whip it out and piss into a jar or something, from the comfort of my wheelchair. It would be ten times more daunting if I had to transfer from my wheelchair onto a toilet several times a day just to take a piss, especially if I needed someone to help me do that. I’d probably be much more inclined than I already am to look for ways to help me hold it. I’d probably take up yoga or meditation or something. But one can only hold it for so long.

And I’m also really glad that I’m okay with always remaining a man. If I was one of those men who wants to become a woman, I would have a hard time going through with accomplishing that goal completely. Because I’m a cripple, I’d be very hesitant to part ways with my penis. It’s the source of my greatest privilege. 

I’m not about to transfer to the toilet every time I have to take a piss just to be in solidarity with cripples who are less fortunate than I am.  I might consider doing that if I thought it would do some good, but I don’t see where it could.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us keep going. Just click below to contribute.)

Monday, February 26, 2024

Benji the Smuggler

 The meal I got from the rib shack included a slice of that cheap, white Wonder bread,  which was as dry as eating cotton. But the  meal wouldn’t have been complete without it.

Taking a bite of that bread made me think of Benji the Smuggler and that made me feel regret. Because Beni the Smuggler was the evening janitor at the state-operated boarding school for cripples I attended as a teenager. I call it the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT).

I graduated from SHIT 50 years ago so I imagine Benji the Smuggler is dead by now. And that's why the piece of Wonder bread made me feel regret because I suddenly realized that I probably never told Benji how he helped me get through my days at SHIT and how much I appreciate it. 

Because the food at SHIT was usually shit. And even if it wasn't, they served us dinner, the last meal of the day, at 4:30 in the fucking afternoon! So by 7:30 or so you were ready to gnaw your foot off.

Benji went to a place he called the Chicken Shack all the time on his lunch break. So quite often one the inmates would come up to him on the sly and say,
“Hey Benji. Can you go get me something from the Chicken Shack?”

Benji would grumble and say, “You all are gonna get me fired.”

Benji was right to be worried about that. Some inmates, like me, were put on diets the day we began serving time at SHIT. Being perceived as an accomplice to us in blowing our calorie counts for the day might be grounds enough for Benji to be fired. But even bringing in food for those of us that weren’t on diets might have been considered to be inappropriate fraternization with the inmates,

But for some reason, Benji always took the risk. After he grumbled, he’d come up to us on the sly and take our orders. And he’d return from his lunch break with our food shoved up under his zipped coat, like a smuggler.

The fried chicken came in a small, rectangular box made of thin cardboard, just like my meal from the rib shack. And always accompanying it was a slice of that cheap, white Wonder bread, that was as dry as eating cotton. But it was all quite delicious to me at the time. Benji the Smuggler really helped me survive adolescence and become what I became, because otherwise I might have starved to death at SHIT.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us keep going. Just click below to contribute.)

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Cripples as Good Luck Charms

 I never wanted to be one of those mascot cripples.

You know what those are. They hang around some kind of team, usually a sports team. And the players and coaches let them hang around like they’re part of the team except they’re not really part of the team. The coach would never put them in a real game because, well, they're not athletes. If a coach puts a cripple in a real game that cripple would probably get killed and that would be a public relations nightmare.

I always thought that mascot cripples sent a bad message about being crippled to verts (which is what I call people who walk because it’s short for vertical). But I wasn’t exactly sure what that bad message was. Maybe the problem was that mascot cripples were supposed to “inspire” the players by reminding them that they should be grateful that they’re not crippled.

But I felt like there must be more to it than that so I looked up the word mascot in the dictionary and it said, “A person, animal, or object adopted by a group as a symbolic figure especially to bring them good luck.

I think it was the good luck part that never sat well with me. Because sometimes verts see cripples as a good luck charm, like a rabbit's foot. I don’t know what sort of good luck we’re supposed to bring. Maybe it all goes back to that stuff about us making them feel lucky that they’re not crippled.

Whatever it is, I don’t want anybody rubbing my head for good luck.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us keep going. Just click below to contribute.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Dating While Crippled

 Nowadays there are online dating sites for cripples, where cripples can go to meet other cripples. Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. I don’t reckon there’s any enforcement mechanism in place to prevent interloping by verts (which is what I call people who walk because it’s short for vertical). I don’t reckon you need to furnish a doctor’s note or anything like that to be able to join.

I can see the appeal of a site like this to some cripples. Trying to date verts can be inviting a lot of rejection because a lot of verts don't think  cripples can be sexy.

There were no sites like this around back in the days when I was dating. (There weren’t that many dating websites at all back then because it was before the internet was omnipresent.) But even if there had been, I don’t think I would have signed up. My approach to dating was to cast a broad net because you never know. I was open to considering any woman who was a consenting adult and not a republican.

I probably would have thought that limiting myself to cripples offered no guarantee that dating wouldn’t turn painful. A lot of cripples seem like they don’t think cripples can be sexy either. A lot of cripples seem like they’ll only date verts. I find that to be rather sad. I feel like they’re trying to prove something to themselves and\or the rest of the world by demonstrating that they can snag a vert.

 But then again, a cripple like that would never sign up for a cripples-only dating site so maybe if I'm cruising that website at least I can feel confident that I’m in a place where everybody thinks cripples can be sexy.

It’s true that both women I’ve married have been crippled. But that’s not why I married them, nor do I think my being crippled was why they married me back.

I believe they were both the type of women who would think cripples can be sexy, even if they had been verts. There are some verts who are like that. And if I was exclusively cruising a cripples-only dating site, I’d be worried that I might be missing out on something.

I’m just glad I don’t have to worry about stuff like that anymore.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us keep going. Just click below to contribute.)

Friday, January 19, 2024

The Battle of Cripple Creek

 It took some doing. The people of Cripple Creek did not want to change. But in the face of relentless protests, they finally capitulated.

The protesters were a pack of wheelchair people, blind people and people who walked using crutches, with some Down Syndrome people and epileptics mixed in. They called themselves  The Campaign to Abolish the “C” Word. And they descended upon Cripple Creek with but one goal in mind: to get them to change their offensive name.

Their opening salvo was a press conference which was held outside City Hall in Cripple Creek. Several protesters spoke of how they were teased as children by other children who called them the “c” word. They demanded that the name Cripple Creek be changed to something more dignified.

But the mayor of Cripple Creek balked. He said the name Cripple Creek was bestowed upon the beloved and nurturing creek by the first settlers who came to the area generations ago and that it endures as a symbol of the proud heritage of the citizens who have built the namesake town that sprang up around the creek. He accused the protesters of all being “outside agitators.” The Cripple  Creek Chamber of Commerce also balked. The chairman said it would “wreak havoc” upon the local economy to have to change the name of Cripple Creek Boulevard, Cripple  Creek  High School, Cripple Creek Savings and Loan, the Cripple Creek Diner and the Cripple Creek Nursing Home, just to name a few examples..

Public opinion was decidedly against the protesters. Townspeople spat upon them and called them terrorists.

So the protesters adopted more aggressive tactics. They put into play their "kamikaze” strategy, in which they jumped one by one off of the Cripple  Creek bridge into Cripple  Creek itself. Those that couldn’t swim drown.

This drew media attention around the world and forced the town council to hold an  emergency meeting. A resolution was put forth to “modernize” the name of the town and the creek itself to something “not offensive and dignified “ The resolution passed, even though the townspeople who packed the gallery jeered and someone held up a sign that said Over My Dead Body.

And that’s why Cripple Creek is now called Person Who is Differently Abled Creek.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us keep going. Just click below to contribute.)

Monday, January 8, 2024

Big Cripple on Campus

 John the paraplegic was the big cripple on campus at the state operated boarding school for cripples that I attended in the 1970s (which I refer to as the  Sam Houston Institute of  Technology or SHIT).

Actually, John was more like the vice big cripple on campus. The actual big cripple on campus was Ron the paraplegic. Paras usually have muscular upper bodies because they push a wheelchair all day. You had to be that kind of cripple in order to be the big cripple on campus at SHIT. There was no election to obtain this most prestigious status. An unspoken consensus developed among the SHIT inmates as to who was the big cripple on campus, based on which cripple we all felt could beat the other cripples asses. (It was pretty much the same way a wolf pack determines its hierarchy.) And since Ron was even more muscular than John, everyone figured that he could beat John’s crippled ass, too.

But this cataclysmic clash of the titans was never likely to occur because Ron was a much more peaceful guy who didn’t seem too interested in fighting. If John was to challenge him to a duel, Ron would probably just chuckle, yield the title and roll away.

John, on the other hand, was much more of a boisterous bully. He acted like he was looking for a good excuse to beat everybody’s ass. One day I saw him with a silver ring on his finger and I feared that meant that he was setting me up for an ass beating. Because it looked exactly like my ring that had recently come up missing.

So I went up to John's table in the mess hall, very sheepishly, and told him that appeared to be my missing ring.

John said, “Man, I didn’t steal no ring! This is my ring!” He continued eating, acting like I wasn’t even there. I interpreted that as his way of telling me to either go away or get my ass beat. So I went away.

When I told my mother about all of this, she was livid. She told me to point out to her which cripple was John the next time she went to SHIT and she would rip the ring off of his finger.

But I never did that because the only fate worse than an ass beating was being shunned by the other SHIT  inmates for being a snitch,

I haven’t seen John since I graduated from SHIT nearly 50 years ago. But he didn’t end up with much in terms of spoils. It was a cheap ring. It probably turned his finger green. The red jewel atop the ring was probably a hunk of  plastic.

If I ever run into a crippled old man with  one arm, I’ll figure that must be John. I’ll figure my ring must’ve turned his whole arm green and he had to have it amputated.

(Please support Smart Ass Cripple and help us keep going. Just click below to contribute.)