Excerpt for Smart Ass Cripple's Little Chartreuse Book by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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I really hate when people say I have a disease. To me the diseased are people who have stuff like bubonic plague. That ain’t me. Please don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against people who have bubonic plague. I’m sure the vast majority of them are fine, hard-working, loyal, patriotic citizens. Like all the rest of us, they raise families, pay taxes and perform community service, when they’re not coughing up blood. But that ain’t me. If I had bubonic plague, I wouldn’t be ashamed to acknowledge it. But I don’t.

Condition? I don’t like when people say I have a condition either. Condition. That word’s too heavy. If you have a condition, it sounds like you are or should be hospitalized. “His condition is listed as serious.” My condition would have to be listed as absurd.

Syndrome? That word confuses me. I don’t know when a disease or condition becomes a syndrome. Cripples started having syndromes just within the last few decades or so. Remember the Mongoloids? They didn’t get cured. They’re all still here. But now they have Down syndrome.

Situation? Someone actually asked me that once. “So, what’s your uh… situation? “ I suppose that’s a better word than disease. “That poor guy has Lou Gehrig’s Situation.”

Quirk? Nobody has ever asked me what my quirk is. But I guess that word applies to me more than disease does. I’m crippled because of what could be called a genetic quirk. And a genetic quirk is way different from a disease, dammit! Nobody says, “Hey look at those two over there. They’ve got conjoined twins disease. “

Abnormality? Malady? Defect? Defecit?


Disorder? That’s the word I like. Disorder. Some cripples hate that word but not me. I think it best expresses what cripples are all about. Cripples are disorderly. We’re a great big monkey wrench. We gum up the works. We fuck up the grand plans. Just when rational humans  think they’ve  finally  got everything all figured out and everybody all neatly groomed and shaped and ordered and categorized, here come those surrealistic cripples to blow it all to hell with their condition and syndromes.

Being crippled makes you subversive, whether you like it or not. You don’t fit. The more crippled you are the more disorderly you are. Your perpetually discombobulated existence discombobulates the intricate combobulation. 

  And that’s what I love most about being crippled.

Someday I’ll probably be arrested, just for being crippled. I’ll be charged with disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace. Or maybe with possession of a disease.

My Extremely Belated Review of the Movie the Last of the Mohicans

I feel enough time has passed to where I can finally write a review of the movie The Last of the Mohicans. I’ve been burning to write a review ever since I saw that movie when it came out in 1992, but every time I tried I realized it was still too soon. The memory was just too painful.

But time and distance have given me perspective to where I can now openly discuss the emotions seeing this movie churned up in me. So here’s my review:

The Last of the Mohicans suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked! I never left a theater more angry and agitated than the night I saw it. I don’t remember much about the movie itself. Daniel Day Lewis was an Indian with an Irish accent or something like that. He kissed his girlfriend good bye and jumped off a cliff.

What I remember most was that the theatre had no accessible seating area so my wife and I sat in the rear aisle, which meant that every time some walkie went past us in the dark they tripped over our wheelchairs. I got so damn sick of this that I went out into the lobby and told a popcorn boy I wanted to see the manager. He pointed to the man tearing tickets at the door. The man was a sour-pussed old cuss clutching an unlit cigar with a white plastic tip in his teeth. I sped up to him and demanded my money back. He totally ignored me and kept tearing, which pissed me off to no end. So I repeated my demand louder and louder until this big mountain of an African American guy stepped between us. He wore a black suit. I figured he was theater security. He ordered me to back off.

“What’re you gonna do about it if I don’t back off?” I said.

“You better not run over my foot!” he said.

“You mean like this?” I said. Then I ran over his foot. I couldn’t help it. I was so pissed I couldn’t think straight.

So then the guy grabs the push handle of my chair, flashes a Chicago police badge and says I’m under arrest for assaulting a cop.

Holy crap! I tried to just quietly exit but he yanked back on my handle until my chair popped a wheelie if I tried to drive forward. He ordered me to sit still until the paddy wagon arrived to take me to the police station.

At that point I relaxed because I knew time was on my side. The official Chicago police procedure for hauling away arrestees in wheelchairs was to call for a paratransit cripple bus, the same cripple buses that required a 24-hour advance reservation. So I laughed to myself at this guy’s assumption that a cripple bus could be dispatched on demand, even for the cops. I figured that when we were still sitting here three hours from now waiting for the cripple bus, the magnitude of his naiveté would become painfully clear to him and he would let me go.

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