Over the course of fall and early winter of the year two thousand and six, I turned half of the second bedroom office into a small wood and craft shop. No longer physically able to maintain control over every arm movement I turned to a stationary saw blade (band saw) and away from the hand held jig saw I once used to cut out shapes in plywood. Except for Tuesdays and Thursdays when I volunteered at the adult day care program, a fraction of the day was spent on the office side of the room and another part on the work shop half.
Toward the end of December I was on the cusp of having everything I had long believed it took to be happy. I had the love and support of a God loving woman, my mom, two daughters, a step son and nephew I could love no more if I had fathered them, eight grand children, and a sister with who I shared an off and on relationship with for as far back as I can remember.
I had regained the popularity I enjoyed in my teens and early twenties. Thanks in part to the Becker Muscular Dystrophy, an old friend from the hippie days (now hydro marijuana grower), I never had to worry about running out of weed again. My pockets always had some extra cash left after paying bills. No longer being able to walk didn’t have the impact I believed it would. The Dystrophy I once saw as a curse had actually been a blessing on several occasions. Thanks to play station I realized that I could still use a steering wheel, press the gas pedal and apply brakes. So after seven years of not driving, thanks to mom purchasing me a thirty-eight thousand dollar wheelchair-van, I got a license and was back on the road.
The sixty-five novelty reindeer, I was in the process of making held the promise of earning me seven hundred and eighty smackaroos at neighborhood street corner Christmas tree lots.
The adult home I volunteered as a craft instructor gave me the chance to live out a long time fantasy. As part of their holiday show, they let me perform a standup comedy bit. The success (laughter and applause) of that inspired me to do another bit at “Comics Café”. On the afternoon of open-mic-night which Rain Pryor was to perform and I planned to test the water with my act I was involved in a motor vehicle accident.
The following day, having broken a toe, straining my hip flexor muscles and a bump on the noggin, after my release from the hospital I phoned into the Brother Wease morning drive radio show to give a shout out (thank you) to the two Metro Ambulance drivers who masterfully removed me from the vehicle and turned a stressful incident in a joke fest. The phone screener asked the reason for my call and my name. It seemed to me that if you wanted to be a stand-up comedian there was no better place to begin, so I introduced myself as CripsterDan The sit-down standup comic.
The local movie reviewer Jack Garner strongly recommended that I remove the word Cripster to avoid offending people. Wease defending my choice, saying: “If a person in a wheelchair wants to use the term he, of all people has every right to.” That first call resulted in my phoning in almost daily. Grudgingly I changed my title to “Sit Down Danny the standup comic”. For all practical purposes I took on the persona and introduced myself as that where ever I went. Many to my surprise said they heard me. And if they failed to say it I eagerly mentioned my “appearances” on the Brother Wease show along with the radio stations’ call letters. Speaking both figuratively and literally, despite and because of the accident I was riding high, and would continue to do so for another ten days.
To Be Continued
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