Monday, May 15, 2006

Faker In The Wheelchair

I believe our society should do everything in its power to provide as much assistance as possible to the physically challenged. Whether that means ramps for buildings, extra wide stalls in rest rooms, upfront parking, I’m all for it.

What I’m not for are all the fakers out there. I can say that with certainty because I was almost became one.

They know who they are. The ass-clown who’s Cadillac Escalade cuts you off in the mall parking lot as he bangs a hard right into the handicapped spot. He then sprints halfway toward Best-Buy when realizing he didn’t hang the fake wheelchair placard on the rearview, and then sprints back. Mr. Disability just completed the 100 meters in record time without one ounce of guilt to break his stride.

Steven Hawking is then spotted fifteen minutes later leaving the store with TiVo perched on one shoulder and an H-P laser jet printer on the other…still sprinting.

To qualify for handicapped parking in most states, a driver must have a licensed physician attest that the motorist has difficulty walking, is hampered by a lung disease, uses portable oxygen, and have a visual disability or a serious heart condition. But most of the people I've seen parking in the handicapped spots don’t seem to fit any of these criteria.

The day after Thanksgiving last year, I saw this Courtney Love clone park in the handicapped spot and painfully hobble toward Toys“R”Us. Five minutes later she’s grappling on the floor with a Whitney Houston dead ringer for the last Sony X-Box. I think they were fighting for an X-Box or maybe it was a crack vile? The point is, Courtney’s leg seemed to have miraculously healed from the parking lot to the storeroom floor.

The most blatant abuse happened a few years ago during a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. Many times at concerts; space is set aside for disabled people either at the side of the stage and sometimes toward the front. I felt a sense of sadness as they wheeled this one poor guy toward the front of the venue. He sat motionless as the fans jumped to greet Anthony Kiedis and his mates as the show opened. I thought to myself, he must have been rendered feeble via car accident, or high school football injury.

Or maybe worse, born that way! Contorted and confined to the wheelchair for his whole life. Why did this have to happen? It’s not fair! Life sucks!! How can I enjoy this concert in good conscience?

My thoughts changed by the time the Peppers got to “Give It Away”. As the wheelchair lie prone on its side this son of a bitch went from atrophy to attitude. He’s on his feet jumping up and down, arms flailing wildly while screaming “What I’ve got you’ve got to get it put it in you”… “Reeling with the feeling don’t stop continue”. He’s doing spins, splits, flips, and then has the hottest girl in the section mounted on his once non-functioning legs for a dry hump.

I went from sympathetic to the need for a cigarette and a cold shower in a matter of minutes.

I learned a lot that night. I even tried to run my own scam at the next concert I went to. I had a cane and a limp as I tried to make my way toward the stage. I thought I’d be able to count every blond nostril hair belonging to Tom Petty.

The security guard resembled Shaq, if Shaq was bigger and played better defense. With the combination of his bright yellow EVENT STAFF shirt and his black skin he resembled a school bus, and not the small one that shuttles the kids who wear helmets and finger paint all day. I’m talking full sized Blue Bird school bus.

He snorted “Where you think you goin’, biotch?” “I’m headed toward the stage” Can’t you can see I’m physically challenged”?” I snapped back. He said “You don’t look physically challenged to me!!” “Oh yeah”, I offered, “You’ve never seen me play basketball!” I don’t remember the actual flight path that sent me ten rows back. The last thing I remembered was the headlock, my feet leaving the ground, and the consistently friendly Philadelphia crowd in complete unison chanting “ASSHOLE, ASSHOLE” in my general direction.

I’ll chalk it up to life lessoned learned the hard way. I think I’ll continue to park toward the back of the mall lot it’s much safer.

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