Usually, I tend to dismiss the portrayal of Americans as a bunch of lazy, spoiled, overfed swine. But then I read something like this (from Saturday's Wall Street Journal) and I have a hard time defending my countrymen:
On a recent afternoon at Walt Disney World, Dennis Robles was cruising around on an electric "mobility scooter" that the park usually rents out to people with disabilities. Mr. Robles doesn't have a problem walking -- he says he was simply saving up energy for late-night dancing.
"I'm pretty healthy," says the 37-year-old truck driver from Brooklyn, N.Y. "Just lazy, I guess."
The power scooter is an increasingly ubiquitous sight, with an estimated 1.2 million in use nationwide. But while the $1,000-plus vehicles have been hailed as a boon for the infirm and the elderly, they are now finding a new constituency: able-bodied people who simply don't feel like walking. In addition to theme parks like Dollywood and Minnesota's giant Mall of America, the scooters are popping up everywhere from Las Vegas casinos to grocery stores. When scooter demand outstrips supply at Wal-Mart, greeters "evaluate the situation" and make sure that people using the scooters can demonstrate a legitimate need, according to a company spokesman.
Given the fact that most Americans no longer work jobs involving physical labor and get winded walking into Home Depot when the parking lot is full, this is not a welcome development. If you're healthy and too damn lazy to walk around the Mall of America, a casino, or Walt Disney, you're going to end up not having a choice about using that scooter sooner rather than later. I fear for the future of our land.