Dear Me: An open letter to myself

Dear Me,

I’m writing you this letter as a way to try to talk some sense into you. Nary a day goes by that you don’t get irritated about this one ridiculous issue that, frankly, may make you less awesome than you care to admit. You know the issue to which I am referring. In fact, every time you see this, you make mumble something, often to nobody, like a mental patient. Frankly, it’s kind of ironic like that. I’m talking, of course, about your attitude towards people who drive large new vehicles and (legally) park in handicapped spaces.

I know it frustrates you. I know. You think they’re somehow “cheating the system” even though if push comes to shove you couldn’t correctly explain what “the system” really is. And, no, “You know, the government” isn’t a valid answer.

What is it about these people that get under your skin? Is it their, you know, HANDICAP? I highly doubt it’s a “cool” handicap like Cyclops’ laser vision either, so stop thinking about all those possibilities. It’s probably something a bit less cool, like polio. Feel bad yet? You should.

Perhaps your annoyance stems from the fact that they seem to be having more success than you AND are able to park closer to stores. They are not “greedy” because of this. Those with physical ailments are, in fact, allowed to be successful. It’s probably not “government money” that put them in the brand new Cadillac Escalade. Maybe it was that “hard work” thing people always talk about. Try it sometime.

Perhaps it’s not even a physical ailment, have you ever thought about that? You don’t even really know how handicap stickers are issued other than the fact your wife told you about a student of hers that was given one because she is short. Perhaps there’s a raffle every year. Maybe YOU could even get one. Lord knows the admission you’re making and the fact you’re writing a letter to yourself should prove you have some pretty glaring psychological issues. Are they severe enough to warrant a parking pass? We’ll likely never know because we both know instead of actually researching, you’ll end up watching videos of laughing babies on YouTube and forget all about it.

Frankly, it’s a little off-putting that you feel a twang of jealousy after parking in the way back lot during the dead of winter and watching disabled people shuffle from a space right next to the entrance. I don’t think you realize that these people would rather walk the extra 40 steps than BE DISABLED. Instead, you focus on how convenient everything is for them. Yes, people also hold doors open for them, but that’s called being a nice human being, not because they’re entitled celebrities.

You know you’ve thought to yourself on more than one occasion as you’ve watched an elderly handicapped person struggle to get out of their expensive vehicle that “They have no idea how good they have it.” You usually catch yourself and feel awful afterwards, but the thought is still there you weirdo.

Equally as frustrating is the fact that you insist on picturing these people in one of two ways. The first as over 70 with a walker or wheelchair, and also slightly racist. Why do they have to be old and racist? Does that make them easier to hate? I know, I know, you think that if they have so many physical ailments that they should also prevent them from climbing the four floors down from the cab of their mammoth Ford F-9500, but obviously that’s not the case.

It’s either that, or you picture them hopping youthfully down, doing some stretches then grabbing a cane or neck brace from the truck bed and performing the one-man show “The Sad Limpy Man.” Have you ever actually seen someone get into or out of a vehicle with a handicap pass? Sure, it looks like most of the cars that are in the lot have been there for six years, but that can’t be right. The government hands these out and it’s not as if the government is ever wrong.

Have you noticed the degree of your disdain for handicapped parkers directly correlates with the ambient temperature of the outdoors, plus distance parked away from store entrance multiplied by the size/condition of the person’s vehicle? Is this healthy? You know what’s healthy? Walking the six miles from your car to the Target entrance.

You think this “new breed” of handicap sticker parkers is “cheating” something. Is it kind of discriminatory to call a group of people a “breed” to begin with? No, the government isn’t breeding handicapped people specifically to fill the parking spots at the stores you frequent. Who even thinks of this?

WHY do you insist on today’s sticker-users needing to thank the “pioneers before them?” What does that even mean? Oh, that’s right; you think that the “new breed” has opened the door for even closer handicapped spaces to be created as well as the invention of the “expectant mothers” spots that take up even more close spaces you would have never have found anyway. Don’t you think it’s a good idea to give these uncomfortable women a bit of slack? You probably shouldn’t say, “Well, they should’ve thought about that before they got all pregnant.” Don’t you remember how uncomfortable your wife was? Oh, right, you blocked that part of your life out as a coping mechanism.

Ok, fine, we can briefly address the reason this all came to a head: the Hummer you saw parked with the handicapped sticker sitting proudly on the dash “taunting” you. It seemed like a little much, but did you really have to stakeout Whole Foods for 35 minutes for the person to show up? No, really, that’s normal human behavior.

Of course, you’re lousy at stakeouts. And what happened? The driver left while you were playing on your phone. I’m sure they had a perfectly legitimate reason, even though I can’t right now figure out what that might be.

Maybe you’re right; maybe the world is out to frustrate you.

But the point is, relax. You know if you were in a store and they needed a door opened to make their path easier to navigate, you wouldn’t hesitate to open it for them. Try to relax if you then see them get into the driver’s side of a helicopter, blimp, Hummer or truck so big it could swallow you whole. Maybe they get some pleasure out of being so mobile and tough behind the wheel. Is that such a bad thing?

If you’re still upset, maybe go play in traffic for a while. Maybe you’ll get your wish and end up with a pass of your very own. Weirdo.

Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at vandkel@hotmail.com or via a mental hospital for deranged lunatics that obsess over trivial things like parking spaces. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny or he’ll steal your space.