The Handicapped Are People Of A Sort

Dear Ron,

Something has got my goat. You know those reserved parking spaces for the handicapped? Okay. So I was at my favourite mall the other day and I parked in one of them because I had a very heavy package to get from a store close to it and there was no other open spot in the parking lot. Well, what do you think happened?

Here I am with my huge bundle, and I get to my car, and there is a woman standing next to it carrying a cane, and she gave me a very dirty look. She didn’t say anything, but her face told the whole story: “You are a louse for taking this space and I hope one day you will have a reserved seat in a wheelchair and someone will take your parking space.”

At least that is what I thought she said.  I would like to know if I did anything wrong? What would you have done in the same circumstances?

Maude

Dear Maude,

Don’t let it bother you.  People love to give each other dirty looks. When someone gives me a dirty look I always smile right back at them. I am saying that even if you don’t like me I like you.  You would be surprised at the number of people who want to be liked, and I am making them feel good.

As far as this handicapped business is concerned. It used to be that these people would stay home with their cats and watch television. Now they’re everywhere. I even see them in their chairs in the middle of the street. I admire that, but do we really need reserved spaces for them? It might do them good to have a roll around the parking lot, it might improve their complexions.

We also have special toilet stalls for them that are larger than the others and include a railing. I must admit when one is available I always use it. I don’t feel bad about doing this because what are the chances of a handicapped guy coming in at just that time?  But even if one did show up, he could wait a moment or two for me to pull up my jeans, couldn’t he? I  like to think that they are patient people.

What I always do is to make it a point to limp when I leave one of these stalls so that nobody will call security. This is something you might have tried in the parking lot, Maude.

Dear Ron,

I read what you wrote to Maude and I want to respond to it. I have been confined to a wheelchair for ten years and I want to tell you it is no walk in the park. (no walk at all, actually) It is no easy life to roll everywhere you go.  We have to shop like everybody else, so we go to the mall. I don’t think it is too much to ask to provide us with reserved parking spaces.

Besides, there are no more than three or four available at each mall. We don’t need to improve our complexions either, by the way, by rolling around the parking lot. Not to boast, but to be honest, people come up to me all the time to compliment me on my skin tone.

If you want to take our spaces, well, that just isn’t right, but if you do it, at least be honest about it. Please stop limping away from your cars all the time. We know you are faking it and we all have a good laugh at your expense. This smiling thing, you can afford to lose, Ron. We know that you are faking that too.  People feel they have to smile at the disabled. I don’t happen to like being smiled at by strangers, especially ones who have just stolen my parking space. Sober up!

I want to comment on what you said about taking up a handicapped person’s toilet stall. How low can you go! I am expected to sit outside patiently while you are leisurely having a dump?  We do have bladders and intestines just like you able bodies, you know? Get with the program!

I want to conclude by stating that your attitude toward those in our society who are not as fortunate as you and others is indecent. I would say you were not brought up correctly, but I don’t want to blame your parents. Have a nice day!

Mindy

Dear Mindy,

Thank you for your letter. I want to tell you that it has indeed sobered me up. I have begun to realize how callous I can be. I would like to publicly apologize to anyone in a wheelchair or who carries a cane. It is just that I did not know that the disabled read my column or I never would have made those statements.

I have resolved to become a better person. In fact, I don’t think I will ever limp or smile at anyone again.  I have learned my lesson. I am ashamed. Have a nice day as well – but you were wrong about my parents not being to blame.

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