Receiving disability was another gold ticket ambition of many of the men in my neighborhood. Years ago, my father had lucked into this fortune by hurting his back while working and had been able to parlay that into a ceaseless flow of disability checks. The men craved disability.
I heard one old-timer refer to this as Riding the Disability Rails. Being of out of work meant living life on their own terms. It meant a free pass from the realities of jobs that, at best, they tolerated, and at worst, despised. They no longer had to slave away at grunt jobs for money. They could go to O.T.B. or go to Aqueduct or Belmont and gamble, watch sports—at home, at a bar, take in a live game—loiter in front of bodegas or on streetcorners and breeze away the hours with small-talk. It seemed like a good life to me and I was happy for them when they were excused from reality.
These were blue-collar men who didn’t want to bust their asses day in and day out to make ends meet, but they did it because they had to, because that was life and sometimes you lucked into a disability claim or a lawsuit and reality went away for a while, but sometimes that didn’t happen and it remained a hope-fluttering flag on a distant ship that may or may not come.

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at johnbiscello.blogspot.com. Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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