“I Am Gonna Write You Up”

Standard

Peter Leidy is a case manager (I think that’s what it said, anyway) who writes song parodies about the disability service system, from several perspectives. I think he also writes political songs, but I haven’t heard them before and haven’t been too interested because they’re all about Wisconsin. So far I have his first two “human serviceland” CDs, but not his third. The first one is very good, the second one varies from very good to almost painfully naive-sounding (I can’t tell if it’s ironic or if he really feels that way about those topics), and the third I haven’t heard yet.

Anyway, I found out he’s got some free MP3s out there on the same page he’s got some of his CDs for sale on. And one of them “I Am Gonna Write You Up,” I don’t know what perspective it’s intended to be written from, but it reminds me of the worst kind of power-tripping staff (many of whom are probably blissfully unaware that they are power-tripping at the time, and who think they do an excellent job, and may even be thought by others to do an excellent job and be “good with Those People” and so forth).

It reminds me of the time I, for instance, got written up simultaneously as violent (without having actually touched anyone), AWOL (while being an adult allowed to leave any place any time I wanted to), and trespassing (for being physically unable to stop walking until I literally walked straight into someone’s fence, which was not at all trespassing under the law of the area I was in at the time). I was finally decided not to be punishable for those things, after other witnesses (as well as physical evidence) made it clear that I hadn’t done what those words said I’d done (although there were attempts to slander one of them as well, she was described by the writing-up person as a “renegade staff” o_O — presumably because she, at the time, told the person to stop getting in my face and screaming at me, and listen to what I was saying).

And it’s a great song, so you might want to try downloading it.

Lyrics behind the “more”, for anyone who can’t hear it or can’t make out the words.

I Am Gonna Write You Up
Peter Leidy (parody of “What a Wonderful World”), Free Download Here

I see you under me
Me over you
I love to tell you
What to do

And I think to myself
“I’m gonna write you up…”

Each little thing I don’t like
I’m happy to cite
Exert control
All the day and night

And I say to myself
“I’m gonna write you up…”

You looked at me funny
You were two minutes late
You wear ugly shoes
That I can’t tolerate

The way I show you
How important I can be
Is to constantly remind you
You’re subordinate to me

I made up my mind
Don’t give me no lip
The boss of you is on a
Power trip

So I say to your face
“I am writing you up…”

I scream in your face
“I am writing you up…”
Oh yeah

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods. Crochet or otherwise create constantly and compulsively. Write poetry and paint when I can. Physically and cognitively disabled. Anything you hear in the media or gossip is likely to be oversimplified at best and wildly inaccurate at worst, the only way to get to know me is to actually know me. I'm not really part of any online faction or another, even ones that claim me as a member. The thing in the world most important to me is having love and compassion for other people, although I don't always measure up to my own standards there by a longshot. And individual specific actions and situations and contexts matter a lot more to me than broadly-spoken abstract words and ideas about a topic. My father died a couple years ago and that has changed my life a lot in ways that are still evolving, but I wear a lot of his clothes and hats every day since he died and have shown no sign of stopping soon.

14 responses »

  1. I too have been for years at the mercy of people, that to my eyes, are mad. Personality disorder-mad. Evil little monkeys. I don’t have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder; I have Autistic Spectrum Humanity.

  2. I prefer just ‘evil’, given that I know a lot of mad people who aren’t evil at all (or, well, no more than anyone else, which can be quite a lot).

    Of course… a lot of evil is invisible to those perpetrating it, which makes it even harder to get rid of.

  3. This is cool. It reminds me of some of Johnny Crescendo’s stuff – he is a disability rights activist and folk/blues singer-songwriter, originally from the UK but now living in the US (and involved with ADAPT, i believe he is/was at the DUH City action), and quite a few of his songs are versions of folk/blues/country “standards” with the lyrics adapted to make them about disability rights and de-institutionalisation – eg. “Don’t Lock Me In”, a version of Woody Guthrie’s “Don’t Fence Me In”.

    He has a website (which hasn’t been updated in ages) and a Myspace page, which is much more up-to-date:

    http://www.johnnycrescendo.com/
    http://www.myspace.com/johnnycrescendo

  4. Ooh, so familiar. Every little thing about you gets pathologized… I got in trouble for staying in my room and writing in my journal, presumably because everybody else was in the dayroom frying their brains on daytime TV. (I guess I just wasn’t drugged enough to appreciate Jerry Springer!) And there wasn’t any rule against being in your room, either.

  5. Callista — if writing in one’s journal instead of watching (uck!) Jerry Springer is such a bad thing, then I would’ve been in trouble too.

    I wonder if part of the problem (aside from the whole “pathologization of neurological differences” thing, which probably does play a bigger role) might be that some people just have trouble grasping the concept that not everyone has identical interests. For example, when I was a teenager at summer camp once, I happened to mention to someone (an adult) that I had been reading a book earlier. And the reaction was really strong pity and sympathy that I had been so “bored.”

    This left me entirely confused until I found out that the person apparently saw reading as something to do only when you were so thoroughly bored and entirely lacking in more interesting to do that you had no choice but to read. They simply couldn’t conceive of reading as an activity that a person would WANT to do and actually SET ASIDE TIME FOR and even greatly MISS if we were deprived of the option to pursue it. The person was flabbergasted to learn that I *enjoyed* reading. I was flabergasted to see how flabergasted they were that some people in the world do actually enjoy it!

    The difference here, of course, is that there is not as much pathologization in an ordinary summer camp as there is inside certain institutions. The latter setting allows more room for the people in charge to pathologize any behavior that they don’t understand. So if they can’t understand how a person (any person, inside or outside the institution, with or without a diagnostic label) can actually enjoy writing in a journal or reading a book, or ignore the television when it is on, and if they’re already primed to see the people around them in pathologizing ways, then maybe that’s a contributing factor to how some people end up pathologizing ordinary behaviors.

  6. This is quite funny. Thanks for a positive example of a “renegade staff” member– at least for me, it instills hope to be reminded that there are neurotypical allies working from within the system.

  7. Something similar happened to me when I was being treated for an eating disorder. I’ve never been an inpatient and I had minimal outpatient input, as my weight wasn’t considered low enough to be life-threatening. I went to a therapeutic group once a week. At first it was dire. The lady who ran it had preconceived ideas about the reasons why somebody would choose to starve herself, binge, or purge, and she tried to slot us all into categories depending on what our precise diagnosis was.

    As I was anorexic (restricting type), she decided that I must be rigidly perfectionistic. Once, before the group started, I began to rearrange the books on the shelf so that their spines were all an equal distance away from the edge. I was doing it without really thinking about it – I was caught up in a daydream. The group facilitator saw this as evidence of my obsessive streak. If something like that happened to me today, I would just point out that plenty of people play with things or fidget when they’re lost in thought. I was too perplexed at the time to point that out. I didn’t know what she was talking about.

  8. This sort of reminded me of Randy Newman, the master of songs in the voice of brutal people who don’t realize they’re brutal. Seems to me Newman should take this subject on; he’s ripe for it. Of course, it would be so dripping with irony that everybody would miss the point and take it literally. As that “short people” incident demonstrated.

  9. I have worked in places where the “I’m right, you’re crazy/wrong” ethos is strong, though the residents were not “disabled.” They were adolescent girls who had the misfortune of being born into dysfunctional families and were essentially being punished for their maladaptive coping mechanisms. I repeatedly observed gigantic humanity deficits in that setting.

    But I have to tell about a school (non-residential) I visited last week. The class I was observing had one teacher and 2 aides. The students were 18 – 22 years old — a transitional class. I was feeling so comfortable there and I realized it was because everyone was treated with respect. I didn’t even realize how much I was dreading the visit until I noticed that I was relaxed and enjoying myself with these interesting people, who were all (staff and students) being themselves without repercussion.

    Sadly, I guess my unexpected feelings there underline the rarity of such settings. It was such a pleasure for me, and a good reminder of how things can be.

  10. I’ve had that. When I was severely depressed, had attempted suicide, was self-harming and had an eating disorder, I spoke to a therapist who told me that I was “unwilling to accept help” because I didn’t make eye contact.

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