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Sunday, April 7, 2013

First come, first served, unless you're special


At the Babies R Us store they have several parking slots for expectant mothers. At hospitals they have all those slots designated only for doctors. At every single place you want to park, the best ones—the ones closest to the door—are designated for people with a handicapped plate, or handicapped sticker, or one of those little blue dinguses they hang from their mirror. This phenomenon grows ever more striking and annoying as the years go by. When do guys with three kids in tow get a designated prime parking spot? When does the male pattern baldness crowd get a special niche all for their own that nobody else is allowed to park in?
House of Eratosthenes

The more years I see come and go, the more impressed I am that weakness becomes a pattern of belief: A lot of people believe in weakness. They won’t admit it. But you can pick them out pretty easily; they treat things as the opposite of whatever those things are. They tend to shower lots of deferential courtesies on others who, in return, behave unkindly toward them. They treat mean people as if they were nice people, and nice people as mean people. They come up with ideas that have no history of working effectively, or that have very lengthy histories of botching everything up — and treat those ideas as if they were good ones.
This slippery slope of socialism has been thoroughly accepted and internalized in every area of our American society. From each according to his ability to each according to his need. We reward weakness in so many ways. Those who have trouble walking are given the choicest parking spots. They're provided with motorized scooters. They're allowed to board the plane before everyone else. They're escorted to the head of every line, at the bank, at the power company, at the phone company, at the post office. They get special checks from the Social Security Administration. They're given special consideration when they apply for jobs, loans, etc. Businesses who hire the disabled get special incentives and tax rebates.

I can understand that there exists a need for handicapped parking spots in some cases. If you've got a van and a side door from which a powered lift sets down a motorized wheel-chair, then that extra space each handicapped spot comes with is necessary. However, if you get out of the driver's side and walk with a cane, then I have to ask...what are you doing? Who do you think you are? Just because you have a blue dingus hanging from your mirror and a stick in your hand, that doesn't make you special. You're stealing that spot from somebody who really does need that extra space because they're in a van with a side door and a powered lift that will lower a disabled person in a motorized wheelchair. But they can't park there because some ass-hat with a cane and a blue dingus stole their spot.

I'm reminded of the Sneetches story by Dr. Seuss. Some sneeches with special stars on their chests are given special consideration...at least until a guy comes along to give everybody a star. At some point I wonder when every American will in similar fashion demand their own little blue mirror-hanging dinguses from their doctor? I can see it now. They'll come limping in holding their backs and complaining that they just can't get around like they used to. Yes, when every American gets a little blue dingus to hang on their rear-view mirror we'll all be back to square one again. At that point I suppose they'll have to come up with some brand new—even more special—handicapped designation...you know for those who're really really handicapped.

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