Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Handicap of Entitlement

            I’m sure you’ve witnessed this spectacle. You’re walking from the far end of a parking lot on a cold day, shivering to the bone, feet mucking through slush that splashes up the back of your calf. You see a car pull into the space right in front of the business you’re headed for. That space happens to have the well-known blue sign in front of it that most of us know and recognize as a “HANDICAPPED” designation. You look at the license plate on the car and see that it’s normal and think, “Huh, that’s not a handicap plate.” The door to the car opens and a completely mobile person gets out and you think, “Huh, that person doesn’t look handicapped.” And then you see hanging from their rear view mirror one of those temporary handicapped tags that you can get if you drive around an elderly handicapped parent, OR you don’t and the person has nothing hanging from their rear view mirror.
            Often times the person who exits the car is overweight. I feel compelled to shout things like, “Hey asshole, if you parked in a normal space at the other side of the parking lot and walked like the rest of us, maybe you wouldn’t be so fat!” or “Wow, when did they designate a lack of self control while eating at McDonald’s an actual disability?” I’m not sure what angers me more - the fact that these people are taking up the space that is reserved for the legitimately disabled person who is trying to get around in a society that is not set up well for their disadvantaged bodies, or the fact that these people hold the belief that they are better than everyone else.
            Where does this sense of entitlement come from? I can safely say that my generation and the generations that followed got it from parents saying, “You’re special.” Let me let you in on a secret, friends of my age and younger, “YOU’RE NOT SPECIAL!” For those older than I, I’m not so sure. I definitely get the sense that there are some elderly people who think they’ve earned the right to be rude, and I just don’t agree. Perhaps the people my mom’s age get it from the “I’m okay, you’re okay,” hippy philosophy. The bottom line is if you want to follow that whole socialist idea of everyone being created equal, no one DESERVES that handicapped space. It is created to assist those at a physical disadvantage. I don’t see entitlement as a disadvantage.
            The ironic thing is that often times those with physical handicaps are more likely to tough it out and walk the extra distance, through the pain, through the difficulty, to get where they’re going. With suffering comes acceptance and gratitude. With entitlement comes thanklessness and emptiness. And it goes without saying that when fat people feel empty they’re only going to get fatter. (Also, see those people who go to the gym and drive around the parking lot until they find the closest parking space so they don’t have to walk… )
            We can’t fix the entitled people. They can only fix themselves, and that would first require that they see a problem with their behavior. And that’s not going to happen. Rather than be angry about it, I offer you these thoughts of karmic recourse.
            I’d like to think that people get what’s coming to them, even if it takes a while. So, while these jackasses take handicapped spaces away from those in need, I’d like to think they’ll get the ugly nurse/doctor when it’s time for a rectal examination. Or, alternatively, their morphine drip machine will be the one with dead batteries. They will share the hospital room with a dementia patient who does nothing but yell obscene profanities throughout the night while watching the Home Shopping Network at full volume. They will pay, my friends, they will pay.

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