I am not a good cripple. I am bad, a bad cripple. I have a boat load of angry emails telling me exactly how bad and bitter I am. I also am subjected to nasty comments on a regular basis when I assert my civil rights. You see I am not a doormat. I do not like it when people think I am physically and cognitively disabled. I can read a menu thank you very much. I can get in and out of my car all by myself. This is not "amazing" and I dislike being stared at when I doing I am in the process of transferring in and out of the car (kids who watch me get a free pass--they are just curious). I am insulted when a stranger accosts me and tells me "I would rather be dead than paralyzed". Gee thanks for sharing. I resent when I go out to eat that I am seated in the back at the worst possible table. I refer to this as the cripple table. I get angry when bus lifts and elevators are broken for weeks at a time. I have no hesitation asserting my rights when airline employees are determined are point blank rude.
I am not alone. We bad cripples are multiplying at an astonishing rate. Why we bad cripples even marry, divorce, and have children. And yes, I have brain washed my son into thinking I share the same civil rights as the bipedal hordes that populate the country. Don't call child protective services. It is too late he is an adult. Be forewarned there are others like me. Mike Ervin who writes at Smart Ass Cripple is one sarcastic son of a bitch who makes me laugh on a regular basis. And I discovered another bad cripple today. Good God it is an epidemic! Lock up the children. Check in on Grandma and Grandpa. Lock down the schools. We are breeding! Sex? Oh no, you bad cripples are not just bad but sexual beings. Yuck, that's gross. For the record I have had sex once. I did so because I wanted a son. I promise I did not enjoy it. All sexual thoughts have been expunged from my mind.
So who is this bad person I discovered? She is Andrea Chandler. A crippled Quaker. Try saying that fast ten times. She is married too. And she has pets! Wow, she is amazing! Pets, yikes she can do it all. Chandler wrote a gust post at Feminist Sonar hosted by Elas E. Sjunneson-Henry. And yes Sjunneson-Henry is bad too. She might even be badder than me! She is a disability studies scholar and activist and burlesque historian. Come on break out the strippers. And to think I thought my interest in body art and modification was different. Back to Chandler. She wrote a great post in April titled "The Dog & Cripple Show is NOT Open for Business". See http://feministsonar.com/2013/04/the-dog-cripple-show-is-not-open-for-business/ In part this is what Chandler wrote:
Gentle readers, I was not a cheery and inspiring ray of sunshine before I became disabled. Why would I become one now? Not that I have any particular animus for the Good Cripples among us merely for being Good Cripples. You do you, brothers and sisters. What raises my blood pressure every time is when people try to lecture me (or another angry cripple) about why we, too, should be Good Cripples.
These evangelists never, ever suggest that maybe non-disabled people should get a fucking grip on their curiosity, exercise some self control, and not ask for in-depth details on how crippled bodies work. The evangelists never point out that any non-disabled human being over the age of 5 has learned that sometimes you don’t get your curiosity satisfied, you don’t get to touch something just because you want to, and that some questions are rude. No, these people just make constant demands for people with disabilities to turn themselves into traveling teachable moments, as if we have no right to boundaries, to privacy. As if we have no right to decide who can touch us when, or what information we want to share with total strangers.This is, not to put too fine a point on it, bullshit. When it’s another crip telling me to stop being a bad cripple, it’s depressing bullshit. There are millions of people with disabilities in the world, which means there are millions of ways of being disabled, all of them valid. What works for me, or for you, does not necessarily work for anyone else. Our bodies and lives are too different. If you want to be a Good Cripple, knock yourself out. We all have the right to decide when, where, and who we will educate, and how much information we will share while doing so. Being disabled does not magically negate my basic human right to decide these things. Being crippled does not put anyone under an obligation to lay themselves bare for the idle curiosity of strangers.
Asserting your right to boundaries, to be addressed politely, to not answer questions about your body, demanding that others treat you with basic respect for your humanity, none of these things makes you a bad person or a bad cripple. Being happy to stop and educate every single person who wants to quiz you doesn’t make you a bad person, either. But when you evangelize, when you lecture me and wag your finger about how awful I am that I just want to run my errands and get home without it becoming a two hour dog-and-cripple show, well. That, gentle readers, makes you an asshole.
I want to make it clear here and now I have never called anyone an asshole on this blog. I will confess the thought has crossed my mind more than once but I have refrained from putting this in writing. These are heady days for me since I asserted that I am not a bitter man. Why some kind readers even felt compelled to tell me it is okay to be bitter. I cannot and will not embrace the mantle of bitterness. I am content to be angry. I am content to assert my civil rights even if most bipedal people have no clue civil rights and disability rights are one in the same. I am not bothered when I am angrily told I have a chip on my shoulder. I will confess though I do not like it when I am called a "fucking asshole". I guess not everyone loves me. This week it was amply demonstrated I am not alone. In the future hordes of bad and bitter cripples will create a social revolution. Ramps and accessible buses will abound. Every house from coast to coast will be modified. We will out law steps and require every American to learn and become fluent in ASL (American Sign Language). Obviously this makes bad bitter cripples communists--bi-lingual education is communistic; J. Edgar Hoover said so. We will also revolutionize health care and, gasp, endorse a nationalized health care system. This puts us on double super probation with the FBI. We will even require taxis to be accessible much to the horror of Mayor Bloomberg. We will advocate pot be made legal too in a nod to our hippie past. Why there is no end to the evil will create. You bipedal people have been warned!
Andrea tweets a lot, and her tweets are not to be missed! She's also a farmer and a veteran.
Her account is @civilwarbore, and she has an additional account for her farm.
Nothing wrong with righteous anger - its what gets things done - I am bi pedal (for now) my attitude is that I could fall down the stairs tomorrow and then... thats the only difference. But being with my husband all those years as we pulled our lives together in spite of others has left the girls and I with eyes wide open to many other things as well - my daughter's husband is sometimes in a wheelchair and even she is surprised at the hardening attitudes of people - and the different way they are treated on the days her husband can walk.Her dad was paralysed from the time she was 7 and she says things are getting harder.
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