Talking Wheelchair Blues (Fred Small)

“Talking Wheelchair Blues” Sheet Music (pdf).
“Talking Wheelchair Blues” Karaoke (midi with lyrics).

Lyrics: Fred Small.
Tune: “Talking Blues.”


I went for a job in the city air.
I met a woman in a wheelchair.
I said, “I’m sorry to see you’re handicapped.”
She said, “What makes you think a thing like that?”
And she looks at me real steady.
And she says, “Do you want to drag?”

So, she starts to roll, and I start to run.
And she beats the pants off my aching buns.
You know, going uphill, I’d hit my stride.
But coming down, she’d sail on by!
When I finally caught up with her,
She says, “Not bad for somebody able-bodied.
You know, with adequate care and supervision,
You could be taught simple tasks.
So, how about something to eat?”

I said, “That’d suit me fine.
We’re near a favorite place of mine.”
So, we moseyed on over there.
But the only way in was up a flight of stairs.
“Gee, I never noticed that,” says I.
“No problem,” the maître d’ replies.
“There’s a service elevator around the back.”

So, we made it upstairs on the elevator
With the garbage, flies, and last week’s potatoes.
I said, “I’d like a table for my friend and me.”
He says, “I’ll try to find one out of the way.”
Then, he whispers, “Uh, is she gonna be sick?
I mean, pee on the floor or throw some kind of fit?”
I said, “No, I don’t think so.
I think she once had polio.
But that was twenty years ago.
You see, the fact of the matter is,
If the truth be told,
She can’t walk.”

So, he points to a table. She wheels her chair.
Some people look down, and others stare.
And a mother grabs her little girl,
Says, “Keep away, honey, that woman’s ill.”
We felt right welcome.
Then, a fella walks up and starts to babble
About the devil and the holy Bible,
Says, “Woman, though marked with flesh’s sin,
Pray to Jesus, you’ll walk again.”

Then, the waiter says, “What can I get for you?”
I said, “I’ll have your best imported brew.”
And he says, “What about her?”
I say, “Who?” He says, “Her.”
“Oh, you mean my friend here.”
He says, “Yeah.” I say, “What about her?”
“Well, what does she want?”
“Well, why don’t you ask her?”
Then, he apologizes.
Says he never waited on a cripple before.

Well, she talks to the manager when we were through.
She says, “There’s something you could do
To make it easier for folks in wheelchairs.”
He says, “Oh, it’s not necessary.
Handicapped never come here anyway.”

Well, I said goodnight to my newfound friend.
I said, “I’m beginning to understand
A little bit of how it feels
To roll through life on a set of wheels.”

She says, “Don’t feel sorry. Don’t feel sad.
I take the good along with the bad.
I was arrested once at a protest demo,
And the police had to let me go.
See, we were protesting the fact
That public buildings weren’t wheelchair accessible.
Turned out the jail was the same way.
Anyway, I look at it this way:
In fifty years, you’ll be in worse shape than I am now.
See, we’re all the same, this human race.
Some of us are called disabled. And the rest….
Well, the rest of you are just temporarily able-bodied.”


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