After an amazing preliminary week two (where I took top spot for the week) in the Seattle International Comedy Contest. I’ve returned to Seattle, WA to compete with the top 10 from both weeks and again I’m off to a slow start. I took 7th (third from last) in the first performance at the famous Seattle Comedy Underground.
Here is the interesting part. I drew the basic same position in the lineup as I did last week. In the first round and on the first night, I went up 9th. This was right after the secret piss break intermission for the judges. In last night’s show I drew 6th but we only have ten comedians now. I was again going up right after the piss break for the judges. Not that it matters and I don’t feel it was why I placed in the position where I did. I don’t think it had anything to do with in fact. Coincidentally, I also placed in the same spot as last week’s first show. In my first round, I took 13th, three from the last spot. As long as I have time to break down the coincidences; I tripped going up on stage last week which became a bit of a scene. I safely made it to the stage last night but after my show I had an incident with a woman who followed me back to our private green room, and it is this particular incident I wish to discuss in today’s post.
The woman who followed me back, she tried to find the right words and with watery eyes. Now I’m thinking maybe she was about to tell me I was an inspiration. This was not the case. She explained she works with children who have special needs—ah fuck! Here we go. I was informed that because she works with special needs children, she felt passionate about advocating for them. To make it easier on me, for the rest of this blog entry, I’ll refer to this woman as, “God’s special helper.” Anyway, G.S.H tells me she enjoyed the bulk of my material but she felt obligated to let me know we don’t use the word retard any longer and I should remove it from act forever. Mind you, this was in the green room with four other comedians sitting in the back with me and watching this slow moving train wreck heading right towards me.
You may be asking yourselves right now, how I would react to such an awkward confrontation? Well I calmly let her speak. I did not interrupt, and in fact as she complained to me about how this is a word which has been abolished from the English language, I took a sip of my beer.
After what seemed like five long and painful minutes. After paying her respect by listening to her struggle for the right words just to explain her position and her disdain for the word used in my act, it was my time to speak.
Calmly I explained, I understood why she might be offended and I respected her for making such a difficult career choice but that I have a right to dictate how I tell my story because I am disabled and I am the one who lives with my challenges. I continued to argue my position. “While you may be upset, you also do not have a right to speak on any of your client’s behalf because you are not disabled.” I told her, she simply couldn’t tell me what offended them and only they had the right to speak with me about it. “You have the right to be offended but NOT offended for them.”
GSH then got more worked up. “I have been working as a care taker for 40 years and I do have a right to be upset for them.”
My rebuttal, “I am actually disabled and have been for 42 years of my life. I do not get paid for my struggles in life and neither do any of your patients. They live it, I live it. It is offensive to me you would speak on their behalf and then try to tell me what I should and shouldn’t say and we are obviously not going to agree on this issue. So if you feel this passionate, you could complain to management.”
The moment ended with agreeing with this option and then she left. The comedians seemed stunned and I just kept thinking, I hope she isn’t a judge.
Here what bothers me: It is inevitability ALWAYS someone who works with the disabled or a family member of the disabled that get offended. It is ALWAYS something they must declare too. It isn’t the work of the lord if you have to tell us what you do. Sacrificing comes without bragging rights. So you clean their asses, and feed them. Now all of a sudden you think you should speak for them and think for them. THEY’RE NOT FUCKING RETARDS! Isn’t this your argument?
These labels are NOT abolished from our language. Neither is nigger or fagot. So as long as I am alive and have an opportunity to tell my side of the story, I’ll remind you all that you were the ones that first came up with these words. In fact, it was the medical industry who started using this offensive term. I didn’t come up with the word retard, I didn’t come up with the word crippled but I sure in the fuck have a right to use them to make my point. Did you know lady, when I was a child and being helped by one of your colleague GSH’s, it was at a hospital called, “Crippled Children’s Hospital”? Yes. It was on the top of the fucking building in big brass lettering.
People just can’t wrap their mind around the fact that just 33 years ago, the medical community was extremely misinformed about the disabled. They were frightfully ignorant and these were dark times. My parents were told I would always be sickly and I might die. I was put in a hospital bed as a small 5 year old child in lightless hallway. I was left alone, covered in wires and strobes and left to cry and scream at the top of my fucking lungs while they observed me behind a glass window to see if stress would induce seizures. That’s RETARDED! And to this day, I vividly remember the mid-evil practice.
Oh, and the bit I do, I mention “retard strength” in an argument with a bully. Why, because that is how children actually talk.
I think the most disgusting fact in this entire ordeal I went through is that she had to point out how offended she was with the word retard but completely ignored at one point in my last bit, I also used the word “Fagot”. I guess the word fagot is fine though because fagots aren’t, “One of God’s specially chosen children.” Just in case you are still confused, I was often described as “special”. If we are going to discuss offensive and derogatory terms, I’ll start with that word and will continue using the words crippled and retard until all you retards are dead.