December 04, 2009

The Handicapped Button

For some reason, it annoys me when perfectly non-handicapped people push the automatic door openers intended for people in wheelchairs. Admittedly, it's only a minor annoyance, and in the total scheme of things, I don't suppose any real harm comes from the practice.

Still, I can't help but wonder what actual handicapped people think when they see a non-handicapped person push the handicapped button. If I were handicapped, for example, I'd think "Hey! That's MY button!"

Therefore, I think there should be some sort of penalty for non-handicapped people pushing the handicapped button; perhaps a mild electric shock, or the equivalent of the shoulder punch.

I'm not saying non-handicapped people should not be allowed to push the handicapped button at all. If you're carrying a bag of groceries or your child, or if you're drafting a super-important text to your BFF, Jill, I can understand the need to use the handicapped button. However, I still think all non-handicapped persons opting to use the handicapped button should be sternly reminded that they're not, in fact, handicapped.

Besides, if I know my human nature -- and I think I do -- I imagine people will just accept being zapped as the price they have to pay to avoid manually opening a door. How sad is that? "Well, I know I'm going to feel this shock all the way in my fillings, but at least I won't have to inconvenience myself by having to PUSH or PULL that danged door open."

Therefore, instead of receiving a moderate shock, it would be the total height of awesome if someone could figure out a way to make it so that, if a non-handicapped person were to push the handicapped button, that person would immediately become handicapped in some way for about 20 seconds or so.

Can you imagine how shocked someone would be if they pushed the handicapped button and suddenly fell into a helpless heap on the floor, completely incapacitated, for half a minute? I'd just camp out near the handicapped button with a bowl of popcorn and watch that show all day long.

In fact, after each person pushes the button and crumples to the floor, I'd happily point out, "Well, what did you expect? It's a handicapped button! When you push the Diet Pepsi button, you get Diet Pepsi, don't you? Well, you just pushed the handicapped button, Einstein."

In fact, you know what? The handicapped button shouldn't be limited to bodily incapacitation. The handicapped button should be capable of dealing out all sorts of physical and mental disabilities for a brief amount of time.

It would be simply fantastic if some pompous blowhard pushed the handicapped button and suddenly he was mentally compelled to pet people's heads and call everyone "My favoritest doggie in the whole wide world," in Lennie's voice from "Of Mice and Men."

A handicapped button capable of bestowing a brief spell of Tourette's syndrome would also yield a treasure trove of confusion and laughter alike. A normally-quiet and reserved woman would push the handicapped button and would immediately be spewing a string of forceful expletives, to the total shock and bemusement of those around her.

Alas, now that I think about it, such a handicapped button would be too much of a temptation for some people to resist. I, for one, would gladly hang out around the handicapped button, waiting for the chance to shove somebody into it. I can think of some people in my life who deserve a good 20 seconds of disablement. More nefarious people than myself would probably use the handicapped button to make pickpocketing and other theft far easier -- except in those cases when they push someone into a handicapped button that deals out Tourette's.

In the end, I suppose a handicapped button that actually makes people briefly handicapped just isn't feasible. Human nature dictates people would abuse a handicapped button equipped with that particular feature.

Regardless, a decent electric shock is still a good idea, I think. Make non-handicapped people pause and consider how good they have it, before they just go and push the button anyway.


Posted by Ryan at December 4, 2009 07:07 AM | TrackBack

I push it because those doors are frequently so stiff on the hinge that it takes a person of roughly twice my bodyweight leaning on it to make it move *without* pushing the button.

A door without the button? No problem; but the mechanism that auto-opens the door can also make it very hard to open manually.

Posted by: Stephen R at December 14, 2009 11:37 PM

I do agree a lot of those doors are a bitch to push open. I still opt to push/pull them, however, mainly because I can. You'd think they'd figure out a way to make an automated handicapped-accessible door that doesn't require an NFL lineman to open manually.

Posted by: Ryan at December 15, 2009 08:53 AM

I was at the mall last weekend killing time while my car was in the shop. During my 30-minute wait for the shuttle to return and rescue me from Christmas Madness, I was standing in the area between the doors being completely annoyed at this very thing. Biggest offenders: people who let their kids do it for fun and people with strollers. The smart stroller people just back through a regular door. Most annoying: kids roughly 10-14 who are able-bodied, don't need the button-pushing novelty and should know better. Excellent rant.

Posted by: Tami at December 18, 2009 09:55 AM
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