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Hail to The Cane

Editor's Note: Editor's Note: The following humourous article is Reprinted from The Blind Californian, Spring 1998

Those of you who are primarily guide dog users, my wife included, might as well skip this article.

These words are strictly for the legions of proud users of that stick known as the cane -- or the white cane, to use more precise jargon. Our grievances are many, and it is time we stood up for our rights. Do sighted people come up to us and ask to pet our canes and tell us how wonderful they are? We consider ourselves lucky if we can avoid being accosted by pedestrians who trip over our canes, and if passing cars don't run over them and leave us defenseless.

Do those of us who are SSI recipients get a maintenance allowance for our canes? It is true that guide dog users are occasionally discriminated against in restaurants, but just as frequently they are asked if their dogs need food or water. When do our canes receive such consideration? Moreover, extra room is often made for a guide dog, but someone with a long cane is viewed as a mere nuisance. We cane users often fail to accentuate the positive aspects of our partnership with our canes. They never complain, are usually clean, and don't even dream about taking a steak off a plate. When waiting impatiently for an hour at a bus stop, it is not politically correct to beat your guide dog in order to work off your aggressions, but you can pound your cane on the sidewalk without danger of criticism as a means of alleviating your frustrations. If you get lost in a department store, you can't wave your guide dog around to show you need help, but a few dexterous cane stunts will usually bring someone running .

I propose to take the first small step towards the commencement of a cane-user revolution by establishing a special- interest affiliate in the California Council of the Blind. The key to a great organization is its acronym, and I have a few suggestions: Californians Love Using Canes (CLUC), Canes Are Us (CAU), Cane Users of California Unite (CUCU), or, my favorite, We Are Cane Owners (WACO) . Just remember, if we hold those cane tips high enough, we can conquer the world!

Note: My wife, out of fairness to those of you who travel with a sighted guide, has suggested that you establish a special- interest affiliate called Highly Independent Californians Can Use People (HICCUP).