Charlie Burroughs could not have anticipated the mayhem that surrounded him in downtown Fort Wayne.
“I was trying to get onto an uneven sidewalk after crossing the street during a short walk with my crutches, but I misjudged a step and fell. I thought I swore under my breath, but I guess it was a little louder than usual. That’s when the problems really began.”
Bystanders heard the F-bomb from a disabled person and chaos ensued. One distracted driver crashed into a telephone pole and brought down some wires. Errant sparks set a farmers market stand on fire; some customers suffered moderate burns. Nearby store windows shattered spontaneously, leaving two people with glass shards in their arms. A church bell fell from its tower and smashed a car.
Phyllis Beaton, a witness to the destruction, had this to say: “I prefer not to think about people with disabilities. If I do see them, they’re always happy, bless their souls. God gave them a bigger cross to bear and that’s why they’re so inspirational. I nearly had a heart attack because this man chose to use profane language to express his frustration. Think of the children!”
Burroughs provided this defense: “Folks prefer to not see or hear us but have this impossible image of us as these little sweet disability angels who can do no wrong. That, if I can be frank, is f*cked up. Disabled people have a right to swear if they choose, just like anyone else. I’m allowed to be mad as hell and I have plenty to be mad about, like this sidewalk. The next city council meeting will definitely hear from me.”
We would publish Burroughs’ full statement on inaccessible infrastructure, but it was not fit to print because of, well, you know. It made Uncut Gems look like an episode of The Andy Griffith Show. When we told him we couldn’t print his entire statement, he replied with a simple, “F*ck that noise.”