ADVANTAGE – NO ONE

A lot of people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience – Doug Larson

Have you been to Disneyland lately? There are more people in wheelchairs than at a Sun City Tony Bennett concert. The line at the Matterhorn looks like Goofy’s pilgrimage to Our Lady of Lourdes. Fairly certain that there’s been no new epidemic of polio, guinea worm disease, or grassimus digitus (turf toe), I can only guess it’s because of Disney’s policy that allows people in wheelchairs to go to the front of the line.

I can hear the conversation in the Disneyland parking lot now:

“Timmy, it’s your turn to be handicapped.”

“But, Mom, it’s embarrassing. Can’t Dad be disabled again?”

“No! I got Chronic Fatigue Syndrome from pushing his big keister around last year. I couldn’t even enjoy the Enchanted Tiki Room. So, you’ll pretend you have rickets, and you’ll enjoy it!”

I’d feel better if the well-bodied people taking advantage of this policy would at least respect me enough to ham it up. Don’t vault out of your wheelchair like you’ve been goosed by Pat Robertson and then do cartwheels into the ride. At least show me your best Evel Knievel hobble.

I’ve also heard rumors that some people take advantage of school “Free Lunch” programs. If a child gets dropped off at school in a new SUV, I don’t think taxpayers should have to buy his lunch. When I was a kid we didn’t have a Free Lunch program. In fact, my Dad must’ve told me a thousand times that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. I brought the same thing for lunch everyday – a bologna sandwich and an apple. By Halloween the macaroni and cheese at the school cafeteria looked like soufflé au fromage. A student could help clear the cafeteria tables after lunch and get a meal. Imagine that, an 8-year-old working for food. It’s child labor! It’s unconstitutional! It’s what my teacher called, “Your life’s calling, Alexander.” Unfortunately, the one time I tried this they served – you guessed it – bologna sandwiches, along with my worst culinary nightmare, tomato consommé. To this day, I’d rather eat Ann Coulter’s jackboots stuffed with the Patriot Act than tomato soup. Because I refused my soup, I got eighty-sixed from the cafeteria. It must have been very traumatic because that was the last time I left any food on my plate (or on the table).

Another pet peeve of mine is jerks who take unfair advantage of handicapped parking. I see these people all the time – they hook their handicap permit on the rear view mirror, and dash into the store like someone’s giving away Starbucks franchises. Cursed with knees like Joe Namath, and being “big-boned,” it takes my brain at least three “OK, get out now” commands before I can climb out of my truck. I want to see some pain on these handicapped parkers’ faces. Give me something – drag a foot, show me a crutch, even an ace bandage would appease me. And, if you’re wearing a tennis outfit, maybe you should pass that parking permit to someone who really needs it – ME.

I have a theory about Heaven. Clergy preach that we must pay for our sins, but I think we, literally, have to “pay” for our transgressions – $1,000 per sin. Listen, paradise is expensive to maintain (just ask Mayor Blum), especially in Heaven, with streets paved with gold, high-maintenance pearly gates, and all those golf courses.

Which brings me to my biggest pet peeve – people cheating in the Ten Items or Less line at the grocery store. It bugs me so much I dream about it. I have a recurring dream that I’ve died, and after a lengthy tram ride from long-term parking, I’m in the Ten Sins Or Less – Cash Only line (Hey, this is my dream, leave me alone!). The woman in front of me turns and says, “I know I have fifteen sins, but I’m in a hurry. Do you mind?”

I roll my eyes and mumble, “Go ahead.”(By the way, I should mention that Alan Greenspan is the checker.)

After she whispers her sins, Mr. Greenspan tells her, “That’ll be fifteen thousand dollars.”

“Oh,” she laments, “I don’t have that much cash.” She feigns a smile. “Sorry, I’ll have to pay by check.”

It’s then that I notice she’s wearing a Disneyland sweatshirt. I give her the stink-eye and say, “Aren’t you the Mouseketeer who parked her cloud in the handicap spot, right in front of the Pearly Gates?”