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An Article Against the Handicapped

The Physically Challenged

by Jeffrey Dobkin

I’m sitting in my car waiting for the accident to happen…

Ladies and Gentlemen let’s get ready to crummmmbulllll:
In this corner of the parking lot, one of the world’s largest women, already sweaty, in her giant SUV and talking on her cell phone. Their combined weight, 7425 lbs. Folks, it looks like she’ll be our winner for today: she’s just way too busy to put her phone down for a nanosecond and turn around, while backing out of her parking space.

And in the other corner, in her ’98 Buick Regal, one of the world’s oldest woman, just slightly younger than dirt itself. Wha? Whasat in her front windshield? Oh look – she’s proudly displaying a handicapped placard hanging on her rearview mirror. Folks, she’s practically boasting “I can drive like an idiot, I have the sign that permits me to do it!” And she’s creeping towards the SUV at the unnerving pace of a snail.

Both contestants are edging towards each other and the inevitable bending of metal and chipping of plastic; both oblivious to the approaching other. It’s a battle of the minds: which one will show up first… if at all?

I sit patiently in a neutral corner, anxiously awaiting for one or the other to hit the accelerator and oh, the painful sound of metal on metal, er… plastic on plastic — as long as it isn’t mine… and no one gets hurt. Even I have my limits. If I didn’t have limits how would I know when I’m over them?

Ironic, the old woman’s driving was authorized not by the Department of Transportation, but by her doctor: who declared her unable to walk more than 30 feet into a store, but fully allowed to try to control a 5,000 pound vehicle at 65 MPH.

Now maybe I’m wrong here (I was wrong once in the summer of ‘03) but do I really want a person who can’t walk 30 feet through a parking lot driving right up close and personal next to me on the freeway… at 65 MPH in her ‘98 Buick? No… not really.

Heck, last time I drove a Buick, sober even, even I had trouble keeping it in a single lane. I didn’t as much drive it as point it in a general direction and correct it as it floated from one lane to the other at every bump in the road.

Well I guess there’s some good news here: the self-inflicted speed limit of 45 MPH on the freeway by most of the old folks, slowing the left lane so others don’t go too fast, keeps us all in check. Like me: I confess I’m always ten over. OK, let’s go off the record here for a moment… twenty over. Oh yea, thank goodness for the old folks.

Hey, isn’t that speed limit sign just really a “suggested” limit? If they really wanted me to drive that slowly why’d they let me buy a car with 425 hp, 6 speeds and 9” wide tires?

If the posted speed was anything but just a simple recommendation, seriously, they’d put a restrictor plate on my carburetor – like the one all NASCAR cars have. Yea, and it hasn’t been any fun watching those races since they got them, either.

But let’s get real: speed limit signs were designed in the 1940s – when cars weighed 8,000 pounds and took a full city block to stop from 40 mph. Today, I can pass my favorite ice cream store at 60 and if there’s no line at the counter I can stop by the time I need to turn into their driveway.

Meanwhile, back in the parking lot (remember the parking lot) I laugh as both women – oblivious, and focused in their own little worlds – inch their way towards each other. Funny, I always thought the blind spot was towards the rear of the car. I guess now it’s right behind a cell phone or that giant handicapped placard.

I digress. In 50 states it’s illegal to have anything dangle from your rear view mirror because it’s dangerous. But the 6” x 8” H/C sign, well that’s OK. The EZ Pass is OK, too, to have right there: stuck in the middle of your windshield. Go figure.

From the safety of my car parked in a neutral corner I watch and wonder: what it is that makes old people lean forward as they drive? The older they get, the closer to the wheel they sit, until finally – they’re driving right-up snug against the steering wheel. Is their vision that much better from up there 8 inches closer to the front of the car? Is it better since they’re nearer to the road? Do they need that extra time to see things sooner than people who lean back against the headrest?

Sorry. It’s so easy to pick on old people. And if they could only read this small print they’d know I’m picking on them. Ha! Ha ha ha. Still, they’re too old to do anything about it. Ack! Ack ack ack ack. C’mon grammy chase me, chase me! Go on, hit me with that walker, lemme see what you got.

Well, I can see you shaking your head saying how I’m over the line this time and you’re right. I’m sorry. My apology to all of you old folks… you know who you are… those of you who got that handicap sticker simply because… you’re old. What? You thought no one new? Yea – exactly what’s wrong with you? Oldness? What medical condition is that? Yea – who’s over the line now?

Hey, I ain’t no spring chicken. Yes, I know, it hurts… I’ve got a bum knee too… and, and it hurts when I walk, too. You don’t hear me whining about it do you?

Frankly, I’d have to have one leg in the grave – and the other in the trunk – before I’d even think about putting a handicapped plate on my vehicle. Even then, it’s a maybe.

And besides being old and cranky, what exactly is wrong with you that you can’t walk that extra 25 feet into that restaurant? That bad, huh? Shall we seat you right next to the bathroom, just in case? I think that would be a good spot for you – hey, less to walk, just in case, knowhatI’msayin? We’ll put a h/c sign on that table for you, OK?

So, for the 90% of the people with handicap signs hanging from their rear view mirrors who got them simply because they’re older – don’t you feel just a little embarrassed that you’re taking all the “good” parking spots from the real H/C people? You know, the spots the government is saving for the real handicapped people… just in case one might possibly want to show up at that specific time you’re in the spot, and needs to park within 10 feet of the door?

And for the few, the proud, the ones who only put up the placard on their rearview when they need a good parking space and there are no other parking spaces close enough for them, or just when it’s raining… well I have a special wave for you. For most people I wave all my fingers, but not this time.  Quite frankly, you’re the worst offenders. You know that table next to the bathroom I was saving for you. Yours is actually in the bathroom. I have a nice seat for you in there. Enjoy dinner, shithead. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Ten years ago – before all the H/C parking spaces suddenly appeared, what did the handicapped people do then? I guess they managed, just like the rest of us.

But lemme ask you: what did they do to buy that piece of legislation? Did they have secrete meetings like the KKK to get it? I’d like to meet their PAC. Tell me – it was the AARP that got that legislation passed, wasn’t it? Yea it was the AARP. (Wasn’t it?) Tell me.

Now if you really are disabled – then this doesn’t apply to you. I feel very blessed and thankful every day because I’m vertical, and I personally feel you should get better parking as you have enough challenges during the day.

But… I don’t necessarily feel every retail store, restaurant, park, museum, health club, hotel, office building, and shopping center in America should save parking spaces right in front specifically reserved for you, just “in case” you feel like coming out. Sorry I don’t really have a better answer, but I don’t think this is the solution either.

Just so I don’t get people trying to run me over with their wheelchairs, here’s something I’d like to give back to the physically challenged: let’s pass a law that you don’t have to put money in any parking meter. So, now you can’t say I’m against the handicapped, can you?

Hey, that was easy. It’s fun being nice. Hey, I don’t think handicapped people should pay any taxes either.

And, and maybe they can eat free in all the restaurants? And it’s OK for them to drive drunk. OK, maybe not. Driving drunk is an art form that needs to be developed over years of practice, and best left to us professionals. So, that’s a bit over the edge, isn’t it. OK, no drunk driving for you guys.

So, enough digressing about the aging, the handicapped and all those large women on their cell phones in their SUVs, all of whom can take you out while driving and you’ll never see it coming and they never give you a stinking chance. Since I’m a direct marketing writer and help people sell stuff, let’s talk about sales. I’m thinking about selling my new motorcycle. Evidently when I asked my wife if she minded if I bought a motorcycle and she said, “Do whatever the F*ck you want!” it didn’t actually mean what I thought. Just kidding. I got the new motorcycle for my wife. Best trade I ever made…

Jeff Dobkin is a funny speaker, obviously.  But he cleans up pretty well, and most of his seminars are motivational and technical “How-To” presentations about sales, marketing and direct marketing. He’s equally at home writing direct mail sales letters as he is writing technical business papers or his own brand of marketing plans for clients. Jeff is a seasoned marketer, writer and designer of direct mail, direct selling long-copy ads, brochures and collateral, annual reports, direct-selling TV scripts and stuff like dat dere. Heck, he just does it all. Including tough marketing audits – what are you missing in your marketing? And sales letters… did I mention he’s really good at writing sales letters? Yea, guess I did. I’ve written, I mean he has written 5 books on marketing and two humor. Visit, unless you’re already there.  He’s waiting for your call at 610-642-1000 – this number rings on his desk.

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