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Handicapped man “not handicapped”

While riding to work on the International Express today I was scanning one of the five-hundred articles in this morning’s New York Metro when I heard a doin’s a-transpirin’. I looked up and a dirty-looking, hunched over man of about … Read More

By / November 3, 2006

While riding to work on the International Express today I was scanning one of the five-hundred articles in this morning’s New York Metro when I heard a doin’s a-transpirin’. I looked up and a dirty-looking, hunched over man of about 50 years or so was leaning down to address the woman across the aisle. He held a floppy, collapsible blindman’s cane in one hand and his sagging gut in the other. One of his eyes was completely white, and the other one just didn’t seem to open. “I’m not handi-“ he started to say, in his offended, handicapped voice. The woman began to apologize for questioning his capability. “I’M NOT HANDICAPPED,” he cut her off, marking the blatant lie of the day. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. Three minutes later, she got off the train and, sensing her absence, the handicapped man shimmied into the seat, politely yelling, “EXCUSE ME, EXCUSE ME. I’M SORRY!” He sat there for a few minutes, occasionally swinging his hand violently toward his nose and then stopping, as if swatting at imaginary flies. “I’M SORRY!” he said, drilling his pinky finger into his ear and then sucking off the schmutz like Joanna Angel working toward a moneyshot. I happened to follow him onto the A train, when we got to Times Square, where there was more than ample seating throughout the car. He remained standing, however, prompting another friendly woman to offer, “Can I help you find a seat?” “Ma’am,” he said, “I’m not handicapped.” “Oh!” she said, and peered around wildly, making the universal, “What the fuck? Yes you are!” gesture. I wanted to keep watching, but suddenly these Hispanic people with guitars starting singing in Spanish and I forgot all about him. That’s all I can say about that, however, because my editors inform me that, unlike the blind, many Hispanics can read. And that could create a liability.

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