As many of you know, I have been working very hard at being a bitter crip. I critique the hell out of everything. I write about inspiration porn. I analyze media stories about disability. I complain loudly at the merest hint of ableist rhetoric. I even write about people giving me grief at the post office and in the check-out line.
And yet, until yesterday, I’d never been called a bitter crip. Not once. Not ever. After working so hard at it for so long, I’d just never received the recognition I craved. It was all a trial and a tribulation.
I was beginning to lose hope. After all, I’m 55 years old and I’ve been in a state of
entirely justifiable outrage deep and abiding bitterness for a long time. I thought, holy crap, if I haven’t made it to bitter crip status at this point, maybe I should just give it up and post cat videos.
But then I wrote a piece about a beer commercial and… Wow! You should see the comments I got! Some of them actually made it out of moderation and onto my blog. Others were in such thorough violation of my simple and intuitive “Don’t be nasty to the blogger” policy that I didn’t let them through. But still! I thought I’d reached the golden pinnacle of bitter cripdom when I received the following comment on Thursday:
“Jesus, you are a fucking miserable person. That was a nice ad with a nice message. I think you’ve expressed your own insecurities far more than you’ve expressed any flaws in the advertisement.”
Being called a “fucking miserable person” is pretty close to being called a bitter crip, but it’s not quite the same. In my desperation, I kept trying to make it the same, but who was I fooling? I felt like such a wannabe.
But then on Friday, I finally made it. I was so excited! Here is the comment that put me over the top:
“OMG!! Are you for real??? Bitter, at all??? This was an incredible commercial. No, ‘regular guys’ wouldn’t be so agile in using wheelchairs to play basketball, but the thought that they might attempt it so that their friend, who depends on a wheelchair can play a legitimate game of basketball with them is the message!!!!!!! You don’t get that???
You must live a very sad, sorry, pitiful life… wheelchair or no wheelchair…”
DINGDINGDINGDINGDING! Bonus points for gratuitous use of exclamation points and question marks!!!!!!
Gosh! It’s such a moment! And so unexpected! I hardly know what to say. I could never have gotten here on my own, that’s for sure. It takes a village to raise a bitter crip, and thanks are due all around.
Thank you to all of my fellow bitter crips for being such INSPIRING role models. OMG! There are too many of you to list here, but you know who you are!
Thank you to all of the people who have left nasty comments on my blogs over the years. You have kept hope alive that, one day, I might enter the ranks of bitter cripdom!
Thank you to all of the people who have told me, throughout the course of my life, that I should just be grateful and shut the fuck up and stop thinking about things so much. Without you, I’d never have dreamed this big!
And finally, to the lovely lady who called me a bitter crip: Thank you! This is a moment that I will cherish forever.
Let the celebration begin!
(You can find the lyrics here.)
© 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg