We all know it’s a sin to park in handicapped spots, even though almost no handicapped people ever do either. If a disabled person comes to Home Depot to walk the miles of aisles and lug out several hundred pounds in purchases — my kind of in-bulk shopper — we certainly want to reserve a space near the door. What’s more, it makes sense to have enough handicapped parking spaces so that one is almost always empty, because the whole point is to have easy parking available for the disabled.

Fine. Home Depot may not be a place they make great sense, but I’m certainly in favor of the principle generally.

That said, there is another sort of handicapped "parking spot," to put it delicately, where the logic is a bit different. The ones for men — and I assume the ones for women — are wonderfully spacious. At airports, this gives you room for your carry-on bags and sometimes even your own private sink. Even if you have no carry-on bags, the extra space gives you a general feeling of freedom — of not being locked into a tiny cell.

Now, in case you’re horrified, let me wait no longer to present my thesis. Namely: It’s OK to use those handicapped facilities. At least 99% of the time there is not a handicapped person anywhere in sight, so whom are you hurting? And that 1% of the time when there is a wheelchair waiting in line, at worst you will keep the handicapped person waiting a minute or two. This is no great imposition, nor one most handicapped people would resent having to deal with on rare occasion just as the rest of us do.

So go ahead: give yourself a first-class upgrade. It’s no more selfish or thoughtless, as best I can figure, than using the handicapped ramps next to the stairs.

(Good taste requires that you roll your eyes in disbelief at the subject and thesis of this column. Fine. Jeer all you want. I would do the same thing. But secretly — in case you hadn’t already come to the same conclusion long ago yourself — I hope you will feel newly privileged.)

Tomorrow: How Much Is That Home Mortgage Deduction Really Worth?


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