Last trip to Kerrville, after I had my spanking new 10 ply tires mounted, after I’d been inside the Walmart store and bought a 1/2 inch hammer drill [which ain’t going to do the intended job, will have to be returned] I was feeling uppidy something awful. I got everything tucked into places where it wouldn’t scatter hell-to-breakfast and headed out of the parking lot.
Guy was sitting on the side before the stop sign in a wheel chair. Had a sign, “Vet – Appreciate any help“. Stump of one leg sticking out. I craned my neck and squinted, drove on by, then backed up and pulled to the side, cursing myself. Hell, I don’t care whether he’s a vet. Damned guy only has one leg, for Christsake. Sheeze. Damnittohell. Probably got more money than I do, anyway. Damnittohell.
I rolled down my window and he rolled up close. “Hey man. ” He watched me thumbing through my small bill wallet trying to decide how much. “How you doing?”
“Doing okay.” At least I’ve got both my freaking legs. Ain’t stooped to begging on the street. I squeezed my eyes shut so’s to not have to look at the $20 I handed him.
“Hey, thanks man.”
“No problem. Hang in there.” I rolled up the window and backed the RV enough to get back on the road, clinching my teeth, cursing myself for being such a dumbass. Knowing he’s probably got all kinds of support from a lot of directions. Searching my mind for rationalizations for having done it.
Finally settled on thinking of Jeanne’s brother, Carl. Guy’s got MS, crippled up something awful. Made a lot of lousy decisions in life and got old, in and out of hospitals. Can’t do squat, doesn’t know from one day to the next whether he and his wife will have a place to live. Mostly his own fault for not doing everything he could for himself, applying for help from sources it might have been available.
Hell, I decided, if I saw Carl beside the road with a sign I’d give him a $20. Even if a lot of his problem is his own fault. The MS ain’t, and we human beings are dumber than cluckshit. None of us worth shooting.
Screw it. The cats and I are generally healthy and at least the stupid we carry around ain’t as heavy on the shoulders at that guy. Or Carl. Cripes. A month from now I’ll never even miss that $20.
Screw it. But next time I ain’t going to do it. I hope.