Inspiration – Beyond the Hype

I spend a considerable amount of time either sitting on an exercise bike or on a treadmill and have done so for a good number of years.  While the health benefits are obvious, that is not the point of this post.  While at some level I enjoy this often uncomfortable 45-50 minutes, it isn’t something that I could successfully maintain without some other form of diversion to take away some of the discomfort it inevitably brings.  While I have often managed to use my iPod to take away complete attention on the minutes or miles remaining. it is really having a TV in front of me that helps the time pass most easily and I often find myself viewing programs I might not typically watch at other times – mostly a result of channel surfing given the time of day varies and  the TV offerings also are usually varied.  I’ll usually give most any show that looks interesting (and that could also mean different) as shot for at least a few minutes.  As a result, I often find shows early on in their run, often before they become “hits” – like Pawn Stars or Deadliest Catch.   I also sometimes stumble across something that piques my interest, intellect or emotions enough that it stays with me beyond my exercise routine that day.  Today was one of those days.

I have often felt I could have done more with my life if I had more motivation or drive.  I’ve done great and have accomplished much beyond anything I ever imagined.  But, as an individual, you always wonder about what more you could have done with a bit more discipline, less excuses, not as much rationalization.  I think we, individually and as a society, find no shortage in reasons why we can’t do something or why things aren’t different.  We imagine obstacles to be bigger than they often are.  We find excuses at every turn.  And I am not that different.  When things are tough and I think a situation or problem is really a big deal, when I’m thinking clearly I manage a perspective about how easy I really have it and how lucky I really am in most every aspect of my life.  I try to teach my kids the same thing – when you think you have it bad, look around.  It’s not hard to find something or someone who really has challenges and whose attitude and approach to life is one to not only admire but from which to take inspiration and perspective.   Today on the exercise bike I watched one of those shows that made it very clear.

As I moved up the channels as I got into my routine, I stopped on one of the ESPN channels this morning as I saw on the TV screen a young man in a gym wrestling.  Not something I would usually spend a second on.  But this young man had an obvious physical disability.  He is an amputee – not always immediately obvious but this one was as he is a congenital  amputee.  He has no forearms and no legs.  But here was an person who overcame something that would have been a great excuse for not achieving most anything.  I won’t try to share his story as there is entirely too much I would likely miss.  His name is Kyle Maynard and he now works as a speaker for the Washington Speaker’s Bureau, specializing in motivational speeches.  He spends considerable time with our severely disabled from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.  I suggest a stop at his website to get the entire story – .   His story and the triumphs in his life are food for thought and lessons and perspectives we can and should keep in front of us when we think times are tough.  For the vast majority of us, they never really are.

Here is a video that should start your inspiration….


Let’s talk Handicapped

No – this one isn’t about Santorum (but I expect we probably could but chronically brain dead isn’t necessarily a handicapped category).  I’m talking about the number of people who have managed to finagle one of those handicapped plates or tags that allow them to park close to the grocery store, the mall entrance, the casino – whatever – and there are not really handicapped in the true sense of the word and as it was originally meant to cover.  As much of a shit that I can be in believing that most people are actually manipulating the system to get some sort of perk or advantage, you have to admit that this thought has crossed your mind – at least 50 times when you’ve been looking for a parking space and you notice that person who appears to be pretty able-bodied park and scurry into the store or whatever.  I’ve heard it many times that not all handicaps are visually obvious (back to Rick Santorum) but, c’mon, you know that a good number of these people seem to be pretty much intact when you see them tooling around the grocery store with no apparent problem.  Does that mean they don’t have any physical challenges – no – but in my world if you can wander around a mall, casino or a large grocery store without assistance then you really don’t qualify for that special sticker or plate.  You might say “well, just confront them”.  Think about that – to prove what?  Unless they are carrying a Dr’s note or whatever, there is really nothing to be gained here…and even if you are right, they are not going to change on their own.  If they would, they wouldn’t be parking in a handicap space anyhow.

The issue and resolution lies in several places.  First, people should stop figuring they are owed something and it’s okay to beat the system – no matter how they rationalize it.  Okay – that is not going to happen but one can dream.  We should also hold doctors to a bit of a higher standard when it comes to signing those papers needed to get the state to issue the plate or tag.   Okay – also highly unlikely the doctors are going to change – much easier to just write out the approval than to actually spend time in discussion as to what a handicap really is – and those office business managers assume a certain throughput on patient processing.  Maybe we should see if we can get tougher enforcement of the rules at the state level – like at the DMV – we know all those people are willing to step up and help.

Given the unlikely scenarios above, we will likely need to re-define the definition of “handicapped” as well as set some new rules.

  • Being fat and lazy shouldn’t count as a handicapped condition.  It is obvious that some of these people could use the extra walking to drop a few of those extra pounds.
  • If you are well enough to smoke, you should forfeit your ability to be in that camp.
  • If you can drive a Hummer or a small sports car, you really shouldn’t be able to call yourself handicapped – especially considering what it takes to just ge tin or out of one of them.
  • Just driving the car with the tag doesn’t give you the right to use the HC parking space. Hey – sorry that one of your relatives might be one of the people that are really handicapped but you being a lazy asshole doesn’t given you the right to abuse the privilege.
  • The cost to get a handicapped tag or plate should be proportional to the handicap.  It should not be “one size fits all”.  If you have to use a wheelchair or walker to get around, we can start at no extra cost (beyond the normal processing fee in your state).  If you are just fat and that is causing the issue with you not being able to walk 200 ft, then maybe an extra $1,000 – and make that a yearly charge.  Side benefit is that there will be less to spend on food.
  • It should be set that each tag or sticker needs to be renewed every year – there is no option for permanent. How many people do you think are using tags from those who are no longer with us? Might also make doctors a little less willing to ease the path if they need to fill out the form every year.
  • Make it a requirement to have a copy of all the paperwork (including the dr. note) in the car with the tag.
  • Put a bounty on people who abuse the system – if you identify someone who really shouldn’t be using the tag, you get $25.  Also will need a 1-800 number set up where one can call (or maybe a site where a picture of the license plate can be texted).
  • Bring back caning as a punishment for those caught illegally using a tag.

I know there will be those who will find it rather low to pick on handicapped people.  I would submit that I’m not.  I’m going after those lowlifes who park in spaces they shouldn’t really be in and take away that privilege from those who really need it.

End of the day, aren’t you starting to really get tired of all those people taking the easy route?