Thursday, September 24, 2015


Occasionally something so ridiculous happens that I just have to share the event. You know, confess personal foibles, weaknesses, sins, etc. Oh, yes. Contrary to the conviction of some of my acquaintances, I’m human with a vulnerable heart, sympathetic mind – and a creaking, rotting, failing sense of balance.

On the morning of Saturday, September 12, I drove to Smith’s Supermarket just up the street to pick up one non-essential but coveted item. As I parked adjacent to a handicap-reserved spot, I saw that a brand-new Cadillac Escalade occupied that space. As I got out of my puny little Buick LaSabre with 116,000 miles on the odometer, I noticed there was no handicap placard hanging from the rear view mirror on the big boat.

Now, I’ve already declared I have a human heart and sympathetic mind, but if there’s one thing that hardens my heart and unsympathizes (oh, look, a new word!) my mind, it is the rich (and/or the famous) ignoring laws and conventions simply because they are rich (and/or famous). This apparent infraction of the rules took on the importance of felony murder in my suddenly fevered brain. How dare the rich bastard flaunt the laws and deprive some poor, banged-up individual (who was probably driving a Ford Fiesta even older than my Buick) of a convenient parking place where he (or she) could hobble painfully into the store to spend his (or her) last food-stamp dollar on a meager supply of life-sustaining nutrients for the day.

Wait! Sometimes people put their placard on the dash rather than hang it from the rear view mirror. But this $70,000 hunk of metal and plastic and rubber was so tall I couldn’t see if that was the case. Now thoroughly committed to running this scofflaw to ground, I walked up to see if the distinctive New Mexico-issued blue and white permit was in sight.

I’ve reached the age where I normally walk with my eyes on the ground, scanning back and forth for things that might reach out and try to trip me. But this time, my attention was glued to the Caddy’s dashboard. All of a sudden, my right foot struck something solid, (the berm in front of my own car) and over I went onto solid asphalt and concrete. Hard.

Now I am an experienced faller and realized I needed to keep my head from bopping any surface more solid than it is. I also had to keep from falling on my back. A tumble resulting in back surgery three years ago had taught me that much. I succeeded, but in the process everything else was pretty much ruined. I suspect my right knee will never look the same again. Both of them bear scars that refuse to go away – the gifts of other similar events – but this one is spectacular, running halfway down my leg. My left palm … Ah, well, no need to run down the list of wounds, except to say that two of the strangest were small, bloody, painful scrapes on the tips of the middle fingers of my right hand. That will make the completion of my next novel dicey.

As I rolled to a sitting position to take inventory, I realized I could not get up. While I’d avoided falling on my spine, I’d somehow wrenched my back. So I sat there, hidden between two cars (one a huge boat and the other one my own vehicle) until a couple young enough to have the capacity to help finally came by and answered my plaintive call for assistance.

They eventually got me to my feet, and as I thanked them and protested that I didn’t need an ambulance, I noted the license tag on the offending Caddy Escalade. The vehicle had a bright new plate sporting the image of a wheelchair proclaiming its owner to be handicapped.

Mind your own business, Don.

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