So, there I was in Walmart…which sounds like the start of some horrific joke about Southerners, but lets face it: I live in Cullowhee, North Carolina. This is what you do when you’re looking for a wild night out on the town. Browsing the aisles, I was trying to decide if I really needed a giant martini glass. Surely, this was more of an impulse buy, but the sticker on the glass claimed that it was virtually unbreakable, as though it were made of adamantium instead of the finest plastic available in Chinese manufacturing. You have to wonder just how many martinis a person has to drink on a regular basis before it becomes necessary to consider indestructible barware.
Given that I rarely drink anything more than the occasional Yuengling, I took a pass on the martini glass and was, instead, eyeing a Ginsu knife–guaranteed to survive the fall of Middle Earth before it needed sharpening–when I saw a blind kid. By saw, I mean I tripped over the end of his cane as I was walking around the corner. The blind kid did not apologize, just kept walking, his cane tapping against the tiles. Being partially deaf, I have the greatest sympathy for the physically disabled, but I admit that I was appalled by his rudeness. What does one yell at a rude blind person? Dammit, watch where you’re going? And then I realized that he was not actually blind.
I knew he was not blind because at that moment, the other boy walking with him, whom I assumed to be his brother, said something that caused the kid to turn on him and strike him viciously across the shoulder with the cane. The blow was perfect. This was no mere blind kid. This was someone with a thirst for violence and the trained hand-eye coordination to see it through. This kid was posing with a blind man’s cane, and using it to commit acts of aggravated assault!
I might’ve simply laughed it off or said to myself, Where are this kid’s parents, a thought that even now, as a grown man, makes me want to go out and break curfew,but, a terrible thought occurred to me. What happened to the blind man? Was it possible that somewhere in Walmart, there was a blind man that’d suddenly found himself without a cane? Perhaps, even then, he was holding precariously to the shelves, wondering just how in the hell he was supposed to get out of this mess. The world must’ve seemed so unfathomably immense for him that day, his tether to the earth broken, each step like a chasm opening up before him. I wondered what it must’ve been like for him when finally, stripped of his pride, he had to call out for someone, anyone, to help him.
To the kid in Walmart, walking around with the stolen cane, I just want you to know that you are such a little shit…and you’ve got to check out those automatic juice machines! They’ll blow your fucking mind!