Bestler | Apologies for handicapped parking tag column

A few years ago a reader asked if I ever regretted a column. I could think of one that I stopped before publication, another I did indeed regret.

Now I can offer one more: Last week's column about handicapped parking.

I was much too cavalier about my use of a handicapped parking tag as I tried to keep it light and not one more “woe is me” discourse about my medical problems.

Saying that I was still using the tag and planned to continue using it once I was back in good health was an inexcusable affront to everyone truly in need of handicapped parking space.

Several readers took me to task and each one was right. With or without a tag, anyone who is physically fit should leave the handicapped space for those who need it. I said as much in a column I wrote several years ago.

Last week, I wrote that, several months after back surgery, I was now walking briskly into stores.

Well, not exactly. “Briskly” is a relative term and I am walking “briskly” only in contrast to the hobbling around I was doing a couple of months ago.

The fact is, I am still under the care of doctors. Just this week I saw a rheumatologist in Mount Pleasant about sore and swollen ankles that have hampered my mobility. Next week I'll be returning to my regular physician and my spinal surgeon for one more checkup.

So I'm not quite healed.

But I have been chastised. I will use the tag sparingly for now and once I have a clean bill of health it will be removed from my window.

As for anyone else who has a tag they don't really need, check out Thursday's letters to the editor and some of the email messages I received:

▪  “As I recall you are a golfer. A game of integrity. I wonder if the use of a handicapped tag simply relies on individual integrity?”

▪  “Sad that you write a column and admit you do not need, but still use (a handicapped tag). I used to be a fan/reader, but after this NO WAY.”

▪  “Individuals such as yourself infuriate me in the way they needlessly use the system to their own benefit. Where is your sense of dignity?”

▪  “As a mother of a disabled, now adult, son who will never be able to ‘walk briskly into a store,’ I must object to your use of this privilege on days when your back is not handicapping you.

▪ “I wonder if you could defend your use of a parking space designated for handicapped individuals to a disabled veteran.”

As a Marine Corps veteran, I can't add to that. Apologies to all.

Contact Bob Bestler at bestler6@tds.net.