Two Facebook conversations that occurred in late May 2016, covering two issues: sexual minority rights and the impoverished disabled. Names have been changed to protect me from Cornholio revenge.
Dialog #1: in which Mr. Arcauld, a gay Alaskan retiree, posted a video of some historic event that occurred several decades earlier. What that event was, I forget, but it’s not important to the context herein.
Zeke Krahlin: Historical moments can take on new, and even astounding, insights upon retrospect. I intend to keep that in mind while starving to death for the crime of being gay in a FEMA relocation camp.
Manny Arcauld: Get off the pity pot.
Zeke Krahlin: I’m too poor to even have a pity pot to piss in. Count your blessings that you’re not. In fact, I’m sure you’ve created some stunning stained glass pieces to embellish them…and sold them for a tidy profit.
Manny Arcauld: Sorry you’re so bitter.
Zeke Krahlin: I’m sorry you’re so humorless. Interpreting what is really just a joke (“black humor” in my case), as bitterness, says more about the critic, than the jester. I am definitely an anomaly here on FB, since most poor folks can’t afford to even participate online. And it does make a lot of people here very uncomfortable. Should I apologize for that? BTW, do you have any custom made pity pots on sale, right now…and do you take food stamps?
Zeke Krahlin: As a matter of fact, Manny, considering that I’ve been on Soc. Sec. Disability for most of my life, with inferior health care even during the best of times, and now that expanded Medicaid has arrived in CA, Medi-Cal wants to charge me a whopping $518 monthly share of cost (meaning I can’t afford /any/ health care whatsoever, my teeth are now falling out and I’m slowly going blind, and whatever else happens to me such as cancer, stroke, heart attack, etc., I must endure as if this were the 19th century)…I think I’m doing damned fantastic, what with keeping a robust sense of humor and all! And still writing incredible tales, many of them quite funny and dedicated to lightening the hearts of troubled LGBT’s around the world who shall /never/ taste of the comforts and luxuries you seem to take for granted, nor even what limited comforts I still have before the inevitable occurs: homelessness.
In fact, every gay person on the planet should celebrate my existence, for all the sacrifices I have made over several decades (a large part of which are my tales, poems and essays freely distributed across the planet), while you and other privileged queers suck on the teat of prosperity with little thought of your less fortunate gay brothers. I know you’re not a Log Cabin Republican, but you do seem to harbor some rather elitist and RW notions, as most recently displayed by your snarky remarks back to me, herein. So I say “shame on you” for not even lifting a single dollar to buy my book or broadcast my excellent activist writings to others. What have /you/ got to lose, my friend? Regardless of the /many/ gay people who mock me, put me down, and gossip ugly things about me, I continue to press forward with my tales and online and street activism for as long as I am capable. And you shall continue posting pics of your delectable feasts here and there across the Alaskan frontier, growing more and more plump along the way. And, eventually, we shall both die…one before the other, though I don’t know who’ll be first. Most likely myself, seeing as I don’t see /how/ I will possibly live more than two or three years from now, with virtually no preventative care whatsoever.
Regardless, one thing I’m certainly /not/ is “bitter.” And I resent your forcing such a notion about yours truly. I nonetheless remain an optimistic person, mostly happy. Obviously, most FB denizens are reasonably affluent, and would rather have poor folks like me stay outta this venue, or at least “stfu.” (One of my callings as an activist is, of course, to be a thorn in the side of those who are comfortable in their middle class bubble…in particular, those spoiled brats in our own LGBT family.) I don’t know many people could do that, under my ridiculously difficult circumstances. Instead of making false accusations about me, don’t you think it would reflect much better on your own nature, to congratulate my efforts under such duress? This is why I avoided seeing you when you visited San Francisco, as I sensed your snobbish elitism, which company I prefer to avoid. Hard enough to do in this uber affluent city, w/o another swooping down into my neighborhood to sip a little nectar before returning home once more. (You are like a little kid still trying to impress his mommy at what a success he’s turned out to be…only you project this to everyone around you now, every chance you get…like they are maternal surrogates.) Perhaps you are drunk right now, and will regret what you’ve posted by tomorrow morn. Whatever. If anyone deserves pity, it is you. (Oh yeah, and thanks for providing me with a perfect opportunity to vent…from which I gained tremendous satisfaction.)
Dialog #2: in which Mr. Arcauld posted a video of an armless young lady getting into her car, about to whiz away with her left knee guiding the steering wheel. Caption: “If your life is hard, watch this video!”
Zeke Krahlin: Only those with financial resources can benefit from prosthetics and other devices that make their disabled lives livable. Many such devices and therapeutic services needed can only be accessed by the affluent…either directly via their own bank account, or (more likely) via wealthy family and generous friends. For every one such lucky person, a hundred more go without. Need a high-tech wheelchair to get around? That’ll be $45,000, please. Need those artificial legs that allow you to run and hop like a rabbit, and even win marathons? That’ll be $70,000, please. If you are severely disabled and poor, you’re lucky if you can even afford a plain old wheelchair with an electric motor!
And let’s not even talk about all the high quality, VERY EXPENSIVE therapy so necessary to restore one’s life to a livable, fulfilling one. Months and months, or more likely, years and years of it, perhaps a lifetime. This tragic outcome is very much a variation on the Horatio Alger myth, which claims that no matter how disadvantaged you are, you can make it in America, if only you persist and never give up. Then just to /affirm/ this false (and CRUEL) notion, every now and then the media tosses out an example such as the one depicted above. Yet for every such glorious example, there are hundreds of seriously disabled people way too poor to afford the luxury of quality restoration and therapy. Venues like Facebook are flush with affluent people who love to broadcast just this sort of tripe, to assuage their conscience. Easy enough to do, since it is very rare that any low income person can even afford the luxury of social media participation. I am one such rare exception.
Rom Proust: Amazing !!!! Thanks for sharing Arcauld.
Zeke Krahlin: Yes, just fabulous, she has all these financial resources at her fingertips to recuperate fully and live a rich life. So wonderful that she is not one of the many poor with severe handicaps who do /not/ have the benefit of these amenities. What an inspiration, my mind is boggled.
Annie Bliss Moore: THANKS MANNY….WONDERFUL AND AMAZING!!
Zeke Krahlin Absolutely! Now if only our crude society can bring the very same, expensive therapy, quality medical care, prosthetics, accommodating transportation (such as a car adapted to their special needs) and medical/social support group to the poor who also suffer severe disabilities. Shocking, I know, to think that the low income are even /more/ vulnerable to debilitating disease and accidents, than even the unfortunate rich (or at least comfortably well-off). I know, life is not fair…and a lot /less/ fair to the poor. Unbelievable, eh? The only successful and inspiring stories I come across, are from those whose trials occur within an affluent environment.
I know many people living on the streets with AIDS, cancer, blindness, brain damage, missing limbs, etc. Here in decadently wealthy San Francisco! Some with rickety old wheelchairs, crutches or jalopies…while privileged IT workers whiz by on their way to or from work, or to or from whatever nighttime pleasures they pursue (maybe an opera, 5-star restaurant, the theater or a Swedish massage date). Totally oblivious to the outlandish suffering of the disadvantaged scattered about the streets and lavish neighborhoods. (But not /too/ lavish, as the uber-rich districts make sure /those/ types never have access to their turf, with a little help from the police and Mayor Ed Lee.) I wish such a boon of quality assistance for them, these straggling souls with no roof over their drooping, sad heads…and for myself, as well. Though my head isn’t drooping yet; and through some sort of miracle I still have a roof over it, albeit just a dumpy SRO.
Annie Bliss Moore: Zeke Krahlin I AGREE.
Zeke Krahlin: Thank you. Always good to know there /are/ some others on FB with a heart, who /do/ care about the poor, who remain invisible anywhere on the Internet. And who suffer disabilities as serious as the woman shown above, and even worse…and who can /not/ avail themselves of all the quality care and devices that she is so lucky to have. Just because of one single thing: money.