Last night, I was part of a play reading festival, where I heard a really funny, touching piece about a girl struggling to live with two older, mentally disabled brothers. The play was called “Retardo” and it was just fantastic. It wasn’t patronizing, stupid, or sappy, it was just really good, and portrayed the mentally disabled as being just as emotionally congniscent as anyone else, just having troubles expressing it.

So this morning, I saw two people on my walk to work who really qualified to be called “Retardo” even though by regular standards, they wouldn’t be considered such. Average people behaving in stupid and selfish manners is just unforgivable, yet they don’t get treated as poorly as those with more visible disabilities do.

The first offender I saw was riding his bike down Columbus Avenue with his small son in tow. “Awwww” I thought “How sweet.” Then I realized that the man was wearing a safety helmet, and the boy (who could not have been older than 5) was not!! Are you fucking stupid?!? Selfish bastard! There are children’s helmets!! So if the bike loses control or gets sideswiped by a cab (as does happen here in Manhattan) your chances of survival are significantly greater than your kid’s?!?!

The second, and less shocking, offender was the woman in front of me in the coffee shop this morning, who in all her designer-jeans (I saw the label) glory, demanded a “skim sugar free, non fat latte.” (Why bother getting coffee at all? Just order hot water…) The guy called over the order, saying “Skim sugar free latte” and she quickly snapped “Non fat. Don’t forget non fat.” before storming over to the waiting area. It took all the reserve in my body to not say “Skim means non fat, you fucking retard.”

So let’s not judge those who were born with mental disabilities. They’re cool. Let’s judge the people who were born with fully developed intellects, yet don’t use them. They’re lame.

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