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National Editorials & Columns

Eat to Live, Live to Eat

Pointing out handicap parking space etiquette to a man unhindered with disability and clearly abusing that privilege could have turned ugly. And had it gone further I am positive it would have resulted with my own paralyzation.

It was just your average day down at the local dirt movie theatre. Christine and I were hunkered down in her Chevrolet Cobalt eating soon-to-be-smuggled candy and discussing the finer things in life as we waited for the start time of the matinee.

All of the sudden a rusted pick-up sputtered next to us and parked — right in a handicap zone.

Clearly, I thought, an individual of some disabled quality would surely exit from the cab, perhaps on a cane, crutch, chair, walker, or even a peg leg. That’s not much to ask, is it? It’s sorta like when I go to the barber I expect the man holding the scissors to be a barber, and not some lunatic holding a pair of bloody scissors.

But alas only the man’s dignity, intelligence and common decency were disabled that day, my friends. For this man of incredible genius produced from his breast pocket a handicap placard that he snuggly placed around his rearview mirror.

So this guy, I should probably give him a name or something. How about This Guy? If that’s cool with you then it’s cool with me.

This Guy hopped out of his rust bucket truck and he darn near looked as fit as a fiddle. Sure he was pudgy, but This Guy appeared to have a proclivity for Pabst Blue Ribbon and that stuff will do that to a man.

Before I go any further you need to understand a few things about me. When I see someone park in a handicap space I expect to see a side hatch pop open and some person coming down in an electrical lift on a wheelchair or some manner of motorized cart.

There is a very good reason why the universal handicap sign is that of a stick figure in a wheelchair and not some shiftless, twentysomething stoner with a bout of “glaucoma” or a fat person inhaling a bag of empty McCalories.

What follows is a dramatized, re-enacted conversation.

“Excuse me kind sir, if I may have but a moment of your clearly important time to register an inquiry with you,” I parlayed. “It would seem that even a cursory examination of your stature would lend reasonable credibility to the daunting proposition that you, sir, are not in fact handicapped.”

Though a series of monotone grunts littered his dialect, This Guy managed to get out of his tobacco-rotted, beer-swilling mouth, “Doth thou scoundrel wish to spar with thee? Doth he not recognize I am stricken with incredible girth and gluttony?”

“My good man, I do not wish to spar this day,” I eloquently replied. “I am just merely intrigued that possessing a pot belly qualified one for handicap entitlements. I find the irony most interestingly delicious. You seek to park closer in order to walk less, but walking less is what placed you in this condition to begin with — the answer in your case is walking more, not less.”

After a few idle and vulgar threats were exchanged This Guy proceeded with carrying out the business that brought him to this particular parking lot.

He sauntered over to a fast food pizzeria and later came out carrying three pizzas. I last witnessed This Guy driving out of the parking lot, but not before removing his placard and shoving a hot slice into his word hole.

From the distance it was hard to tell if This Guy was feeding his appetite or ensuring the future use of his handicap status.

All I knew was I had suddenly lost my appetite.

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