We all have handicaps. Not a one of us is perfect. Some handicaps are more obvious than others, and some handicaps make life more difficult than others.
For most of us, our handicaps are relatively minor.
Some folks aren't as educated as they'd like to be and don't have the time to upgrade. Or they don't have the job they'd like - or they have the boss nobody likes.
That sort of thing. Such handicaps can be discouraging for some people (or propel others to make positive changes in their lives), but they're not exactly the sort of stuff that can get you a blue tag and special parking privileges.
Even less convincing of a need for special treatment is a handicap that seems to be emerging in endemic proportions - an entirely avoidable mental handicap . or actually, an ego handicap.
And I mean too much ego.
Egos are getting in the way of normal and reasonable functioning for a lot of people.
And the trouble with this handicap is that it affects other people more than it affects the afflicted.
We're all getting better than everybody else.
At least, it has become the vogue to believe that we are better than everybody else - that we deserve everything that we can get, at the expense of anyone else.
OK, if we were all playing on a level field, I'd accept that with equal opportunity comes equal responsibility to take care of ourselves, to stand up for ourselves.
But what about those among us who can't stand up for themselves? What about those who can't stand up? You see it darned near every day.
A car careens into a space set aside for handicap parking.
Out of the car jumps a robust young man or woman - or not so young, but obviously able-bodied - and saunters over to the nearest store, bank, whathave-you.
There is no blue "handicapped" tag hanging from the mirror.
Sometimes it's difficult to be sure from just a quick glance - sometimes people with genuine physical handicaps, like post-polio sufferers, for instance, aren't easy to spot.
But this person who has bolted from his vehicle and blasted his way to the nearby shop door is so obviously full of health and vigour that you'd laugh out loud if there were such a tag in his window.
You could say something.
You even know that you should really say something.
The lout should be brought to task for his transgression.
But past experience tells you that there's little point. Your
intervention, however well intentioned, is likely to reap little more than scorn, foul language, and ignorant disregard.
Indeed, memory of a fairly recent, incredible newscast brings to mind the possibility that even the most polite reminder could get you a punch in the nose.
While we are all, indeed, handicapped to a greater or lesser degree, we need, as individuals, to start focusing on the handicaps that are unavoidable.
Blind people can't avoid being blind.
Paraplegic people can't simply rewire themselves with new nerves, and amputees can't grow new limbs.
But jerks don't have to be jerks. They can exercise compassion if they want to. If they try, they can see some of the problems that blind people stumble over. They don't need bulky wheelchairs to walk a mile in another's shoes.
Bob Groeneveld is the editor of The Record's sister paper, the Langley Advance.