You know what the media usually has to say about us disabled folk. We use up your tax dollars riding around in our expensive mini buses, for which we enjoy obscene prices and crummy service. We “overcome” a lot, sell a lot of Kleenex, and inspire others by doing inspiring things like drinking chocolate milkshakes and waking up in the morning. We serve our purpose for those kind of segments, but it never makes the news when we really do something worth hooting about, like fight for our rights or make noise about socially constructed obstacles. Increasing the employment rate? Boring. Making our neighborhoods accessible? So dry. Don’t they build ramps for that? No such achievements make the news, and our usual spokesperson is a celebrity that hurt her hip for like, two weeks, and “totally knows how hard it is.”
But friends, America is getting bored with those feel-good wheelies. People, after all, are so commonplace. Ladies and gentleman, cripplekind has a new ambassador, who will surely convey the message of our community’s most pressing issues… the ever popular cute and cuddly disabled animal. Chris P. Bacon, a pig with two legs, who currently uses a wheelchair, went viral on the net, garnering media attention, fans, and support from everywhere. Now, before you all jump on me for poking fun at our little friend, know this. I like animals. I really do. I’m all for looking at pictures of cute piggies. And pigs with medical equipment? Oh be still my beating heart! We were made for each other! But all kidding aside, consider this. The last time a disabled person did something newsworthy, really newsworthy, beyond the realm of “inspiration porn”, how many people looked up from their morning coffee? A person in a wheelchair getting services they’ve been fighting for stirs few in the press. People in wheelchairs getting justice proves uninteresting to most. Didn’t they feel happy when we let them go to school? But those cute animals… an adorable pig in a wheelchair? Call Oprah! Call Piers Morgan! Call the President! Friends, I hope you’re ready for my startling conclusion. America has spoken! Our needs would attract more attention if we were four legged farm animals with wheels attached to our butts. Yes, yes, the truth hurts. America loves disabled animals! They’re so inspirational, at a fraction of the economic cost! So, I began my research. Surely, as a real live person with a POWER wheelchair, I could gather such fame! But how? It just took a few keystrokes on Google to hear it straight from Chris P.’s vet. Dr. Lucero attributes the pig’s popularity to “a combination of the handicap, the toy wheelchair, and the adorable noises he makes while scooting around on the carpet.” Hm. I possess all three popularity- inducing qualities, if you consider groaning floorboards to be an adorable noise. Things weren’t adding up. Why don’t I have 450,000 YouTube fans. Aha! I know! His old-fashioned wheelchair made from toy K’nex. Sheesh, when did overpriced plastic and foam become old news. It’s not my fault the insurance company doesn’t cover K’nex! As I research further, my horror intensifies. Chris P. Bacon has a thriving Twitter account, a Facebook fan page, a blog! I truly have been squandering my life as a cripple. Part of the reason I started this blog is so I could measure up to Chris P. Next thing I know, I stumble upon another enviable truth. Chris P. has a line of tee shirts, and an original song written for him called “Pig on Wheels” by a good-looking stranger. The last time I attempted to have a fine gentleman write a song about me, he muttered “Bless her heart” and told me to Google “Climb Every Mountain” from the Sound of Music. I thought “Woman on Wheels” had a nice ring to it, but no one seemed interested. Just when I thought this little oinking wonder pig couldn’t lower my self-esteem much more, he does. I’m cute, cuddly, I like being with people. For Pete’s sake, I’m even toilet trained, and still, this pig outshines me. While the employment rate for disabled people is around twenty percent due to various institutional barriers, Mr. Bacon has landed a three book deal! Perhaps he’d be willing to consider a fourth book, featuring say… me? A girl in a wheelchair with a pig in a wheelchair? Your grandma is cooing just thinking about it. Mr. Bacon has also established a gig “bringing smiles and hope to the disabled.” Thank god, we may never smile otherwise! While I’m waiting to achieve comparable fame, feel free to inquire about shirts with my face on them. I’ll even scoot on your carpet, if you’re nice.