Saturday, February 28, 2009

All I want is a bike somewhere

I'm trying to be PC for SH on this, but I also want to be accurate. So the other day I went to the Y, which does many great things, one of which is employing the handicapped.

Wait. Let me be more specific. They employ young retarded men and women, which is especially good, because it saves taxpayer money, helps these kids' parents, and definitely helps the kids by giving them something productive to do, even if that something productive is handing towels to people before they go into the locker room.

SH doesn't like me to use the word "retarded," but it is what it is. Calling it something else does not change the fact that these kids are retarded. "Handicapped" is a broad term. It might mean "crippled," which is not the same as "retarded." To distinguish for SH, who is arguing with me as he reads this in the Minneapolis airport: "crippled" means the loss of the use of a limb, "retarded" means "slow." There is nothing wrong with "retarded" when it is used to describe someone who is actually retarded and it is not used pejoratively. If used as an insult, yeah, that's not nice. I don't use it that way. I don't knowingly insult people.

Well, OK. Sometimes I do. But not by calling them retarded. I call them arrogant or pompous or mean or cheap or jerky (if that's what they are), but those people deserve to be skewered. I don't insult people who are undeserving of insult.

Back to the Y.

So. I had my book and went to the bikes. You can tell I was serious about getting a good workout. I mean, you can get your heart rate up and read at the same time, right?

I saw one of the retarded kids riding one of the bikes. I'd ridden next to him before and knew that he was kinda a pain. He likes to talk a lot to himself and to the people around him and quite loudly at that and I like to read my book and mind my own business. With someone who's not retarded, you can say, "Hey, pipe down, wouldya?" but with a retarded kid, if you say that, he's not necessarily going to respond. I know that, because I had tried that before and he had just continued to jabber, so I knew that my best solution was just not to sit next to him.

Fortunately, he was way on one end of about ten bikes, so I sat way on the other end.

There was only one other guy at the other end.

And it turns out, he was a retarded talker, too.

What were the odds?


Anonymous said...
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John0 Juanderlust said...

Breath not breathe.

Generally I find it easier to explain myself and get cooperation from the mentally challenged (as if that doesn't class most people) than from seemingly bright people. You first compliment him on his ability to ride the bike or something, then explain that you have to read the book and can't talk right then and lose your place if there's much talking. Then again, I would end up spending the whole time talking to the guy. Maybe it's not the best place to read.

John0 Juanderlust said...

ps We, not Us, lesser mortals. Catch whose breath?
Another angry anonymous nincompoop.

class-factotum said...

Thanks, John. You're right -- it's not the best place to read! I tried once before to quiet the guy by smiling and "shhhhhing" him once or twice, but it didn't work. I didn't take it any further, because it's not like we were in the library and I had any reasonable expectation of quiet. He had just as much right to be there as I did, so I I figured the best way to deal with it was to remove myself from the situation! But I went from the frying pan into the fire. Oh well.

John0 Juanderlust said...

It's easier to get the desired cooperation when you have lots in common with such people. Since I do, I have about a 65% success rate in that arena. It's the "got to think like a fish to catch fish" theory.