Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blind Eating the Blind

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Three Blind Mice, Inc. "Making the world a wealthier place for a few of our closest friends."

Most decent people are angered when they see an able-bodied person parking in a handicap space. (Is "able-bodied" the PC term for the non-disabled nowadays? I can't keep up.) I am one of those who experiences revulsion when I see such a thing. But when I stop to think about it, I almost never see a legitimately disabled person using a handicap parking space. I don't mean never, I mean almost never.

The overwhelming majority of people I see squeezing out of their cars in handicap spots are obese, or have no visible disability at all. Not being able to stop eating is now a legal disability. I drink too much, can I get a permit for my car? Seems like it would behoove society to let drunk drivers park up front so they don't have to circle the lot too many times. Now, before you start accusing me of being bigoted toward fat folks, let me say I am not saying that they are bad people. But they have chosen to disable themselves and I question our society's decision to reward that with an opportunity to burn even fewer calories.

Medical costs go up for all of us when a large part of society chooses to abuse itself. That's why there are helmet laws. If someone wants to ride without a helmet and gets killed, that's natural selection. But if they are disabled for life and society has to pay for it, that's a decision by one person that costs the rest of us a fortune in the long run.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for making things easier for those who don't have it as easy as most. For folks whose physical capabilities have been compromised without their consent or control, I say let them park up front. Let them park in the mall. Let them drive from store to store and shop through their window, most American shopping malls have plenty of room for this. But for the rest of our lazy, undisciplined nation, let them walk a few yards, maybe burn off a calorie or two.

In Asia, I've seen tiny people over ninety years old carrying a stack of firewood up a hill in their bare feet and not breaking a sweat. An alarming number of Americans can barely pick up the phone to order a triple-cheese-meat-lover's pizza without needing a six-pack of cold Pepsis to bring their temperature back down. What's wrong with this picture?


julie said...

Being as physically healthy as you are, it's easy to pass judgment on others that appear to not be handicapped.

I've known people with lung/breathing disabilities that have restricted ability to walk and lift weight, and while those people don't necessarily look disabled, you'd think you were in hell to live in their bodies. They're most definitely disabled, and a parking spot up front doesn't compensate for the sheer physical challenges they're up against.

Additionally, being fat IS a disability. I saw a guy the other day with purple legs because the amount of weight he was carrying was causing lymphatic and circulation problems. I truly felt bad for the guy. I watched him walk excruciating step after step and I thought how thankful I was to not have to contend with serious health problems like that.

To point fingers at fat people and say "it's all your fault" is short-sighted... Corporations have trained us like rats to work a million hours a week and eat foods with zero nutritional values - it's no wonder the MAJORITY of Americans are obese...

Living in NYC, you get a lot of choices that people elsewhere don't get. You might be able to walk one block and get an organic fruit salad and some tea for lunch, while many others are only given the choice between Coke and Pepsi to go with your trans-fat laden French fries. Salad? What salad? Here, have a quarter head of Iceburg Lettuce and some mayo.

We've been socially engineered by corporations, and we're ill. If you've done any time with a psychotherapist, you know that it realistically takes just as long to learn new patterns and anchor them into your life as it did to develop the original problematic behavior.

The "you're fat, fix yourself" argument is just too simplistic. It's a systemic problem that needs to be addressed.

Mike Duffau said...

very good points you brought up, julie because i was going to say something stupid to back this story up. thanks for opening my eyes.

Unknown said...

My wife has no visible disability - most of the time. She has MS. Yet she can walk - some. If she walked from her ramp-equipped van to the front door of the grocery store, most days she'd have to sit on the curb, rest 10-15 minutes, then stagger back to the van and go home.

She has a powered wheelchair she uses when shopping - yet people look at her suspiciously when she stands up to grab an item from a high shelf, or gets up to put the groceries into the back. Sometimes, when people offer to help her with her purchases, she pretends she can't get out of the chair -- it's usually easier than trying to explain.

f l said...

Can I ask why the artist crams in so many little "signatures" in all his comics? I frequently see some dynamite, an eye thing, what looks like a piece of pie, and "K2."

VA said...

I was going to comment but Julie said a lot that was on my mind. I had a friend in college who had severely injured his knee, effectively crippling him for life; he appeared to walk normally, but he could only do so for short periods of time before he had to sit.

It's true that there are those fat people who do simply sit there and eat all the time, but most of the time it's not nearly that simple. You don't know, unless you know the individual, whether their size caused their disability...or if their disability caused their size. You don't know if they had to take a medication that played hell with their metabolism. Etcetera.

For all that people lament obesity, there's remarkably little general support for those who try to get out and move. A fat woman walking down the sidewalk, because she wants to get exercise, can be (and often is) subjected to shouted insults that make her decide the derision is not worth what is only a possible benefit. A fat man who joins a gym is often mocked behind his back for how out of shape he is. These are people who are doing what society claims it wants them to do, but things like that happen. Some try to claim that if you don't shame someone for their weight they won't do anything about it-- entirely untrue. Even if they lose the weight the psychological effect of such shame is not easily shed; oftentimes it results in eating disorders (anorexia is not only for the underweight).

So think about that before passing judgement on those who don't appear handicapped, and on fat people. Your cartoon is still one of my favorites, but seeing commentary like that alongside the cartoon rather saddened me.

fido said...

somebody stated before that the eye....meant my peperes anus

Penny Mitchell said...

When presented with those stupid-ass "expectant mother" spots I always park in them. Being pregnant is not a disease. What you get at the END of the pregnancy is the disease, which is why I've chosen to never get pregnant.

I don't suppose anyone will demand that I pee in a cup right in the middle of the parking lot, but you never know.

Superhero Spouse said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Superhero Spouse said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Superhero Spouse said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Superhero Spouse said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"The "you're fat, fix yourself" argument is just too simplistic. It's a systemic problem that needs to be addressed."

Then who has the responsibility?
You, and only you.

If you buy into what the corporations tell you, it's your fault you are so blue eyed.

People need to stop thinking they are innocent victims. They need to take responsibility for their own actions.

lee said...

When my husband had his knee replaced, he had a temporary handicap tag. He was not fat then, and had no visible disability, but he had strict restrictions with how far he could walk. People were quite nasty to him, staring, glaring, and sometimes verbally heckling.

Today, he has fibromyalgia. He is fat, partly because he is in too much pain to exercise. He found out the hard way that working through the pain with fibro is a quick way to permanently damage muscles and trigger an inflammation episode. Each episode leaves him with less sensation and control in his extremities. Also the fibro is behind his chronic sleep deprivation which is also associated with weight gain. Sometimes people are fat because they are disabled.

Unknown said...

Right on, xen! Let's inject some commonsense here about taking personal responsibility. Of course there are people who are permanently or temporarily disabled, whose disability may not be immediately apparent - those are the folks who rightfully deserve the handicapped spots. If we deny privileged parking spots to the *tons* of undeserving people who use corporations and others as an excuse for their own laziness, the people who need the spots will get them.

derekamalo said...

hey superhero spouse...a little bit of a tip...you should repeat your entry 20-23 times then dan takes notice..

its reason why fido keeps repeating himself

good morning all bizarroers

Lori Haynes said...

Kudos! While there are plenty of legitimate disabilities out there, most choose their lifestyle and make excuses to make themselves feel better about those choices.

isee3dtoo said...

I grew up with a severely handicap/mentally retarded little sister. My mother worked with severely disabled children, besides her own daughter, for 35 years.

First off, they never and they are in their late 70's now use the handicap license plate unless my sister is in the car. They could use based on my diabetic condition but they respect the blue parking spot and so do I.

So I move from California to Pennsylvania and the first thing I notice is that more than 50% of the city of Philadelphia has handicap plates. Besides that they park it the fire lanes. One Home Depot I go to has to patrol the no parking fire lane and ask people to move.

The "Me First" attitude is sickening. If the hazard lights , if someone is in the car, or the engine is idling does not give you permission to PARK (yes they call is standing but looks like parking) illegally.

The funniest thing is the 30+ handicap spots at Home Depot in Philadelphia. I mean if you can hang drywall you are not disabled.

isee3dtoo said...

Actual sign in Chico California parking lot. I wish it was in more places.



Children crossing
the road cannot be
seen by oncoming

Violators are subject to fine


I would post the actual photo on here if I knew how. But why can't people figure out that no parking means no parking?

If Mr. Bizarro wants the photo I will gladly send it to him.

julie said...

Quoting me: "The "you're fat, fix yourself" argument is just too simplistic. It's a systemic problem that needs to be addressed."

You said: "Then who has the responsibility?
You, and only you.

If you buy into what the corporations tell you, it's your fault you are so blue eyed."

No, it's not about buying into what the corporations have told you. This is about social engineering and there is responsibility of the US government to it's citizens, like in providing safe, healthy food instead of catering to corporations.

Only two states have outlawed trans-fats - when they should be outlawed on a Federal level.

Strangleholds on exclusive corporate contracts give us many of the "food" choices we have. Pepsi and Coke control the fountain markets, squeezing out other options. Because of the price point of these carbonated syrups, the majority of food vendors nearly exclusively serve these products because of the profit margin. Fresh juices are more expensive to stock, have a shelf life, and are less profitable overall.

This whole psychobabble thing of "you're the only one responsible for you" is complete and utter Republican nonsense perpetuated so corporations can privatize and charge us for everything.

YOU are responsible for saving for YOUR retirement, and if a truck hits you and a hospital takes all your money and leaves you broke on the street, well, you should have taken responsibility when you were younger and saved properly for such an event. How irresponsible can you be?

THIS is why we have SOCIALIZED services, and SOCIAL programs in government. Where do you think the "Social" comes from in Social Security? It's a Socialist program. Republicans have trained us to think Socialists are Communists and Marxists, mixing it all up in an all out war to end social programs and privatize everything.

We have a fundamental problem between the corporations and our Government's responsibility to it's citizens, and this has NOTHING to do with being a victim.

I'd like to know I'm not going to get salmonella from tomatoes. I'd like to know there aren't mystery substances in the food I eat.

Whereas reading labels was simpler 30 years ago, it's nearly impossible now, leaving 90% of the food in a grocery store containing these mystery ingredients.

Avoid those, cook your own food, you say. And I do. But you go tell that to the majority of overweight, typical Americans who have bought into the corporate BS and work 60 hours a week to scrape by, and they'll tell you they neither have the time or the money to do that, and will continue buying cheap, non-nutritional foods to feed their families.

You have to make things easy for folks to do in order for it to be adopted. You can be "right" in your thinking all you want, but that doesn't translate into actual results as far as tackling the social engineering, obesity, and nutrition problems go.

julie said...

"The funniest thing is the 30+ handicap spots at Home Depot in Philadelphia. I mean if you can hang drywall you are not disabled."

Home Depot also sells their products with the option for professional installation, like carpets, kitchen cabinets, and flooring. They also sell light bulbs and cleaning supplies, too.

So being disabled keeps you from ordering these products and services and paying for them? Disabled people can't change light bulbs or clean their sinks?

julie said...

Oh, and about Home Depot: they support Republican candidates. So if you want to promote the Republican party, shop Home Depot. They're not as bad as Walmart, but just full disclosure here... :)

Anonymous said...

Fastluck - all the "shout-outs" Piraro shoves into his comic panels are there to give you something to do while you're not laughing.

fido said...


now that is funny!!!

although my line about my pepere is funniest yours is up there

isee3dtoo said...


what's the odd that 30 disabled people show up at Home Depot to buy cleaning supplies at one time?

In reality, 30 disabled people who got a disabled parking plate because some dishonest doctor wrote them a prescription are more likely to show up than 30 real disabled people.

julie said...

You know, people that fake handicaps are in a far worse world of hurt than you or I know.

It's like the panhandler that everyone looks down on and says "get a job, you bum."

Believe me, homeless guys aren't having too much fun, and often are neglected by the system... and anyone with a substance abuse problem isn't partying, they're mentally ill.

Why is everyone always so worried that someone is getting away with something?

The real bums of this country are the Ken Lays and that breed who command astronomical salaries while fleecing their employees...

L. Erskine said...

I had no idea obese (due to laziness) people could get handicap placards. That's just stupid. Might as well give handicap placards to alcoholics and heroine addicts as well.

My mom's partner (recently made spouse by laws that probably won't remain in effect here in CA) has MS so she has a valid reason for needing a handicap placard. However, my mom keeps one of her partner's placards in her car and also uses handicap spots. This irritates to me to no end.

I've asked her to park in a regular spot when I've been in the car because I don't want to be seen with a healthy person who eats herself fat parking illegally in a handicap spot.

I have a friend with Crohn's who looks really healthy (healthier than I do and I go to the gym dammit!) but the condition causes him quite a bit of pain when it flares up so he has a handicap placard. Apparently he's been the recipient of quite a bit of verbal abuse.

I just wish people would take the passion that makes them willing to speak out against people they deem as lazy and put the energy into standing up for really important things.


"Corporations have trained us like rats to work a million hours a week and eat foods with zero nutritional values" <---- Seriously?? Corporations train us to eat poorly? Really? Talk about blame shifting.

julie said...

""Corporations have trained us like rats to work a million hours a week and eat foods with zero nutritional values" <---- Seriously?? Corporations train us to eat poorly? Really? Talk about blame shifting."

Yes, it's built into our current system.

Most foods, especially prepared convenience foods are packed with fillers, preservatives, and other things you probably don't know what they are.

Hot Pockets are not what I consider food, yet crap like that fills aisles in the grocery store because people can pop it in the microwave and eat it in one minute.

Yet if I want to create a healthy meal with real ingredients and without preservatives, I not too likely to get it into the local Safeway because they have a mass list of UPC codes from all the big corporate companies, and even if I was able to get my product in their store, it is unlikely I would be able to promote it without a multimillion dollar budget.

You don't realize what you've lost in this country. You used to drive across America and find cool little places to eat, mom & pop stores, but these stores have been run out of business because Taco Bell has a 49/69/89 cent value menu.

Small local grocery stores have gone away, too, and vegetables drained of nutrition, picked before they're ripe only to be sprayed with chemicals to ripen them before going into the national food highway supply... this stuff is not good for you!

Is it any wonder we have an epidemic of people on anti-depressants when our food itself is sad?

This is NOT blame shifting. In the 70s, the fat kid was the exception. Everybody was thin! And aerobics was just coming into fashion - nobody exercised, really. They went to their jobs, just like people do today. They actually had more free time, and worked less!

Now the thin kid is the exception. Society has changed, they're fat, miserable, and overall neurotic. There were crazy people back then, but nobody was depressed like they are now. I look around and see misery everywhere I go nowadays. It's epidemic.

What I'm saying is that it's the ingredients in the food and not the willpower or laziness of people. This comes from cheaper, less nutritional ingredients in food. This is a direct result of corporations trying to maximize profits.

So yes, you have been trained by the corporations (well maybe not you personally, but Americans in general).

Rays profile said...

The cartoon was funny.
The explanation was disgusting.
Buh-bye, bigot.

Reyortega said...

Dear goodness Mr.P what have you done. Sheesh!! It's a joke people. In particularly on those who are NOT disabled and abuse the system. I'm sure Mr.P ment no offense but only to those who take advantage of the system. Can I say this?

twoifbysea said...

"I drink too much, can I get a permit for my car? Seems like it would behoove society to let drunk drivers park up front so they don't have to circle the lot too many times."

This reminds me of a movie I saw recently (Lions for Lambs, I think), in which one of the characters was saying that there should be a special lane for drunk drivers.
Everyone was apalled, but I think it's actually a great idea. Let them smash into each other instead of us. :)
This has almost nothing to do with the main point of your post, but I thought it was worth sharing.

Lara said...

2 things:
someone once yelled at me at the mall for getting out of my car after hanging a "disabled" tag from my mirror. when I went to the passenger side to help my grandma out of the car (she has severe parkinsons and has a really hard time walking distances), the look on their face was priceless. you (almost) never know who is parked in those spots.
I say almost, because at my work, the gentleman who has the disabled spot closest to the door makes me very angry. This paticular person is beyond morbidly obese. he has to walk with canes, and also has a motorized scooter. why that makes me angry, is because every day, when I leave, he is sitting in his car, eating cheeseburgers and smoking. I really feel this voids his claim on the first spot.
I've never said anything to him, and I won't, because I am a very passive person. it just still makes me angry to see him.

Anonymous said...

I have absolutely no mercy for fat people. As a vegan I see there is no excuse to be overweight or obese...absolutely none. It's their fault and they should either stop cramming dairy products and flesh down their hole or shut up about being disabled since it IS their fault.

I eat as much as I want and as a vegan teenager *7 years vegetarian and 3 vegan* I weigh 103lbs and am 5'2...then again my vegan ice cream is not even close to what those dumbasses eat in theirs.