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Rated: E · Column · Community · #1516007
Handicap is not just a term used in golf or bowling.
There are very few irritants that rattle my cage: The IRS, government bureaucrats in general, stuck-up people, wet toilet paper, cold coffee; cursing, road hogs - well, maybe there's more than a few, but one that stands out well above the others is, inconsiderate people. People who just don't give a hoot about their fellow man or woman and think they are God's personal gift to mankind. Those who look at you as if you are a piece of road-kill or something ugly stuck to the bottom of their shoe.

Then there's that blissfully ignorant pack of miasmic people who haven't the foggiest idea they are acting as such. You know; people who cut in front of you at the store, those who talk about you behind your back, the borrowers who never return what they borrow, the tattle-tales who love to get you in hot water, those who are jiffy-quick to point the finger, etcetera, etcetera.

What triggered this train of thought is the cornucopia of ignorant or intentional selfishness I witnessed in the local supermarket parking lot the other day. As I pulled into the area, I casually noticed that every single spot marked for handicapped drivers was occupied by vehicles without handicapped stickers.

I decided to wait and see who these wanna-be handicapped people were. Soon I spotted one muscle bound young man exit and jump into his truck, immediately followed by a seemingly healthy woman with two very overweight children. The young man could have carried his truck from the end of the parking lot to the door and the kids could definitely have used the exercise had their mother chosen to park some distance from the door.

As soon as these two vehicles pulled out and left, the spots were gobbled up by two other motorists and, you guessed it, neither had a handicapped sticker anywhere on or in their vehicles.

The thought crossed my mind that perhaps the spots were not marked for handicapped drivers or conceivably the markings had worn off so the motorist could not see that these parking spots were set aside for those who desperately needed them. Wrong, because as I casually strolled by I checked for handicapped markings and they were highly visible. A cross-eyed buzzard in a snowstorm could have seen them.

My curiosity thoroughly aroused, I checked other parking areas around town in the event people thought that supermarket handicapped parking was on a get there first basis.

Unfortunately, the same story prevailed everywhere I went handicapped spots with non-handicapped vehicles parked in them.

On the sunny side, I did notice a severely handicapped gentleman get out of his vehicle and slowly make his way to the supermarket entrance. He made it, just barely, because he was wheezing like an ancient steam engine by the time he got to the door. Sad as it may seem; he did not have a handicapped sticker on his car so he chose to walk half way across the parking lot. Perhaps his pride prevented him from obtaining one because if anyone truly needed a handicapped sticker, he did.

I asked the County Justice Court clerk how many citations were received during an average month for motorists violating the handicapped parking law. Her quizzical look told me it was a rare thing. According to her records and memory, a total of half a dozen tickets have been filed in Justice Court in almost - nine years! The City clerk's response was similar.

I would make an accurate guess that on that single day of my observations, the city or county could have made a minimum of $5,000 in fines. Let's see: $5,000 a day equals $35,000 a week or $150,000 a month. That's a lot of county or city revenue. Of course, that would very quickly dry up when people realize they will get a $200 fine for parking in a handicapped spot. But, isn't that the real objective of the fine?

Proper enforcement of this law may, if nothing else, fill the public treasury with much needed revenue. Also, after scores of inconsiderate people have paid thousands of dollars for their obvious disdain for this law, perhaps the truly handicapped may have a convenient place to park.

There's nothing that works better than hitting inconsiderate people in the wallet where it hurts the most.
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