I was thrilled to hear that Kmart was having a Christmas sale on pet supplies with some items reduced by as much as five percent. I don’t own a pet, but with prices that low I felt the need to get one. So I put the old snow tires on my mobility scooter and ventured forth into the breach. (No, not the kind of breach like ‘breach of contract,’ more like the breach of a Howitzer.) It’s a little spooky mixing it up in traffic with the rarely trusty scooter, but hey, it’s Christmas and a guy has to do what a guy has to do. But I got myself into a bit of a jam when trying to avoid traffic I cut through a car dealer parking lot only to have them accuse me of trying to steal a Smart FourToo Coupe Cabriolet. It was okay once I pointed out that my scooter had white tires, which the Smart doesn’t offer as an option.
It took the mere wink of six hours, but I finally rolled up on Kmart only to find that they didn’t sell pets. Since I didn’t have a pet I didn’t know what to get it, so two more rolling hours too me to the pet seller three doors down. There’s a smell to pet stores and it’s difficult to describe it. The odor is a cross between wet dog and 92 year old lady. But they did have a dazzling array of possible adoptees. Understand that it’s a violation of federal law to ‘buy’ another being. I haven’t actually seen the law, I just know that animal afficionados glare at you if you use a term other than adoption to explain why you’d trapped a pet into entertainment slavery. Actually, they don’t even like the word animal anymore, what with corporations being people they feel that animal should be declared people too. I have to say I find it hard to argue; how many people do you know with a pet corporation. Who’d let it sleep on the bed?
I spent some time rolling around just taking in the variety. They had lizards, birds, baby alligators, cats, dogs, fish and small South American children available for immediate adoption. It was staggering. I finally decided on a very muscular Cichlid but when I went to find a clerk to fish it out of the tank for me I ran over a small family in to shop for gerbil food. I was asked to leave. Dejected, I set course back for home, knowing that the Kmart sale was now beyond my grasp, what with the next closest pet store being a mile away in the opposite direction of my home. When they say that these scooters give us mobility, they stretch the truth a bit not unlike television commercials.
To my irritation, it began to snow as I was making my way down the sidewalks and making the people I caused to step into the slushy gutters to get out of my way. Let me tell you a little something about holiday cheer, it’s not that cheerful coming from people up to their ankles in icy brown water. I’d been gone for nearly thirteen hours when I reached my home, only to be blocked by a group of police cars jamming the driveway. It left me to make my way with one set of wheels on the concrete and the other on the soggy lawn so I demonstrated my appreciation by dragging my house key along the sides of two sheriff’s cars.
I made my way up the ramp and then had to do battle with the storm door. It kept insisting that it shut itself, making it hard to push it open and then open the front door before it smacked me with a hydraulic hiss. Once inside I saw my family speaking to a clot of uniformed deputies and they broke away, running to me yelling things like “There you are!” and “Thank God you’re back, we couldn’t find your spare credit card.” The cops, showing a great deal of patience, what with it being the holidays, didn’t insist on me standing up against the wall hitting ‘the position.’ They were satisfied with just throwing me to the ground and wrapping my wrists with plastic tie straps. Apparently the 911 operator didn’t think that a handicapped guy in a mobility scooter out shopping was an emergency, so they told them that I was armed and voting republican next year. We got it all straightened out, and there was a lot of laughter and back slapping which the deputies were too stuffy to participate in, but they left without taking me into custody. They also left without cutting the straps off of my wrists. Come to think of it, now I recall that I wasn’t in a back slapping mood either.
It’s things like this that ratify my sense that Christmas can be just too trying for the handicapped. I also wasn’t cheered when my grand daughter told me that she’d volunteered me to play Tiny Tim in her school pageant. “No, Grandpa, it’s God BLESS us everyone,” she said, thinking I was practicing my line. I went in search of the buttered rum.