On the Subject of Motorized Scooters…

Posted: October 31, 2011 in In Transition
Tags: ,

Okay, this post might come off a little ‘asshole-ish’ for lack of a better word, so I thought I had better start with this disclaimer.  You can chalk it up to my current state of fatigue after this morning’s swim/run workout, the lack of calories in my system at present, or whatever you want to really, but do realize that I have gone off about cell phones and Dodge Caravans before so this post comes from that similar dark place where all my bitchy trains of thought originate.

Here goes:  what the hell is with everyone zipping around on those mobility scooters lately?  I mean, if you have a legitimate physical disability or serious mobility problem (aka senior citizens), then sure, okay, but there also seems to me to be an awful lot of, well, fat and lazy people riding around on these things.  There I said it.  I know that might come off as extremely presumptuous and completely ‘prickish’ on my part, but I did warn you.

The ‘Zehrs Indy 500’

This whole gripe came to light this afternoon after being beeped at by one these “mobility challenged” people in the aisle at Zehrs while grocery shopping as they went zipping by at 15 km/h.  WTF?   Once this person reached the checkout ahead of me (a whole 10 seconds or so), they promptly discarded their scooter, got out – quite ably I might add – and proceeded to walk through the checkout entirely unassisted.  So clearly, this person wasn’t “physically challenged”, per se, beyond her being about 200lbs overweight.  Her real disability is either laziness or an absence of shame…I’m not sure which.  Since when did being fat count as a “disability” anyway?

Hey, it’s bad enough that I have to be cautious of oblivious occupied drivers while out running and cycling but now, to boot, I’m also expected to share my bicycle lane (and shopping aisle) with these motorized carts as well?  Why is it that I have to walk (or pedal) on my own two feet while others get to race ahead to be the next in line?  Really? 

Why does this piss me off so badly you ask?  Well, besides being the exact polar opposite of my own healthy active lifestyle, it seems that these scooters have also become the very emblem of North American decadence.  Why take the hard road when you can just tootle around town in an inexpensive motorized scooter instead?  Instead of making wise, healthy lifestyle decisions, some would rather simply take that path of least resistance, pass on the salad, and totally give into a lifestyle of minimal activity at all cost.  This angers me…not as a triathlete, but as human being.  Where did things go so terribly wrong?  I remember when the obese were prescribed specific diets aimed at reducing calories, cholesterol and body fat percentages not a mobile means in which to accomplish their ordinary day-to-day activity.

Here’s another example.  Last week as I was out jogging, I was nearly run over by one of these scooters being driven by someone who couldn’t have been more than 19-years-old.  This moolyak didn’t bother to slow down or give me one iota of an inch in which to pass, forcing me off the sidewalk and onto the shoulder of the road into the path of oncoming traffic, all without a single consideration of my well being.  I wanted to run the bastard down and insert my Size 10  Mizuno up their inconsiderate disabled ass, but then I figured that Life had already dealt them a pretty poor hand to begin with so I let it go.  But on the return trip home I saw the same person again, this time exiting Subway with about a dozen footlong subs and nary a limp or stagger in their step at all.  I just about lost it.  Imagine reading the headlines in the paper the next day:

“Local man charged with assault after running over lazy person outside of Subway with their own motorized scooter”.

Not exactly the kind of press I’m looking for.

So, anyway, back to the original question, when did it become excusable to be fat and lazy to the point of needing a personal motorized vehicle to get around?  Part of this mentality might stem from the belief of a prevalent “fat gene”, otherwise known as ‘FTO’.  Nevermind all the fancy scientific mumbo-jumbo, here’s the skinny: researchers conducting experiments on mice suggested that variants of the gene KLF14  (No, that’s not the “The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu” – Google it) are linked with a 70%  increased risk of developing obesity, with people carrying two copies of one gene variant being on average 3kg (6.6lb) heavier than people carrying alternative variants of the gene.

Not exactly your ordinary kind of “transition”…

However, scientists were unsure at the time whether the gene was merely associated with obesity or whether it was actually responsible for it, and, if so, how it was causing the problem. A later study demonstrated that the gene is indeed directly influencing the risk of obesity, probably by increasing a person’s appetite for food.  So, really, I’m now expected to feel some sort of sympathy that someone’s inability to cease shoveling Kristy Kremes  into their gaping pie-holes is a result of bad genetics received from their parents?  What next, a “skinny pill”  of some sort?  Hardly!  I call bullshit.

Allow me to float an idea:  how about walking?  Jogging; lifting weights maybe; or how about just passing on seconds and thirds at dinnertime?  Nobody said it was ever going to be easy in this lifetime.  As a former fat guy, I feel entitled to say that.  It was no cake walk for me either but I did, and am currently still doing it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my cheeseburgers as much as the next person but I also have a mouth capable of saying “No, thank you”.  It’s not like I woke up one morning and just decided, ‘yeah, this getting healthy thing is too hard.  I’m going to get myself a motorized scooter’.  You WORK at it; you suffer through it, persevere, sweat your ass off, and triumph on the other side as someone capable of walking down the street to the corner store, or through the aisles at your local grocery store, or even up a single flight of stairs without experiencing a massive coronary.

Trust me, it can and will happen and you will be happier for it.  Okay, rant over.

  1. Jeff C says:

    I know exactly what you mean ‘bro. Here in the big smoke it’s the exact same thing but with even more attitude. I see bums begging for money in these things, some of them all shiny and new, and I’m thinking wtf?!?!?! We bought one for my mum 7 yrs ago or so, lord rest her soul, and it cost us 4 grand USED. Really makes you wonder what is wrong with the system as if we didn’t have enough reasons already.

    I’ll tell you what else bothers me, and I’m sure it’s a precursor to this same sort of behaviour you’re describing, is schoolkids carrying their school books in roll-on luggage carriers. You know the ones, those carry-on luggage bags with the wheels and extendable handles. I must admit I think they are a great invention, but for cripes sake’s what kind of behaviour are we encouraging when parents buy them for their 12 year olds? What is that kid going to look like in 5 years? Not to mention they take up the space of an extra passenger on the subway/bus/sidewalk. what next!

    • janet says:

      the “roll-on luggage carriers are VERY GOOD for kids to use if they have a heavy load of books OR are not able to afford a backpack with proper support / and weight distribution qualities!!

      How about we only bus kids to a drop point that is 1.8 km from their school….. no one walks alone as the busload of kids are all together. they also walk back to this point to get their bus home!!

      The cost of these scooters have come down…… BUT why are insurance companies buying them for LAZY – Obese folks…..

      IF it has a motor…… then they ride on the road…… not the sidewalk and not the cycle lanes!!

  2. Roll-on carrier luggage for kids? That is so wrong!
    Heavens forbid you can’t carry your own homework home.

    • Jen says:

      Dude…what about us older kids who have books that weigh 400 lbs? I’m saving my muscles for massaging tight-wad triathletes dontcha know. :p

      I agree with you about the scooters. I think they are great for people who really need them – like the lady I used to see all the time at the plaza near my old building – who had no legs. Much like welfare though, I feel there are plenty of people riding those things that really shouldn’t be.

  3. Doreen says:

    OK Terry, you have guilted me in to it! I am really going to work at losing that extra 20lbs I am carrying.

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