Friday, September 10, 2010

The Cane Mutiny

My dad has been using a cane recently. It's a very long story that I won't get into, but now he takes his cane with him everywhere. He has a metal, adjustable cane that he got about six years ago when he twisted his ankle while on a walk. He got it from the doctor's office to use in place of the crutches he was also given at the time, after the crutches weren't necessary any longer. After his ankle was better he kept the cane but never really used it, until recently.

So, a couple days ago he went to Home Depot. This was to get a new garbage disposal. He went with my mom. Having accompanied Mom on many shopping trips, I am always sympathetic to anyone else who can make it through that ordeal. By the time they made it back out to the parking lot, Mom was complaining about the heat. She does that a lot lately, to such an extent that she barely will go out of the house during the day, not even to check the mail. If she is out anywhere, she must immediately get into an air conditioned car right away and without delay. So, as Dad was getting ready to put the purchases in the trunk, Mom was shouting "Get me in, get me in!" which Dad says distracted him. He set his cane up against the side of the car and opened the door for Mom to shut her up.

When they got home, he realized he'd forgotten his cane. Later, he drove all the way back to Home Depot by himself and searched the parking lot for his cane. Not seeing it, he went inside and asked if anyone had turned it in. He was told they'd seen no cane, and none had been turned in.

That's when Dad went into his Bret "Ginx" Alan mode; people sure are rotten, they're born bad and human nature is evil, so that mutual aid and cooperation will never be possible and anarchy is a pipe dream. Well, Dad didn't actually mention anarchy, but he did say things like "What's the world coming to, when someone will steal a man's cane? I could understand if it was a watch or a ring, but a cane with my name on it, that they know belongs to someone who needs it? They could see what a nice cane it was so they just took it! Dirty rats! But that's the way people are!"

Dad told me the store had taken his name and phone number in case someone turned it in or it showed up, but the next day he said no one had called. "I'll never see that cane again," he said.

He decided he would go to Walmart to buy a new one. Dad doesn't have a lot of money, so it bothered me that he was going to have to buy something that he would have had if someone hadn't stolen it. Mom was convinced it was a Mexican who took it. "They'll take anything, they don't care, that's the way they are. And that whole parking lot was crawling with Mexicans! No wonder your cane wasn't there when you went back." Mom says these things in spite of the fact that Dad is half Mexican.

When I visited them later that week, Dad showed me his new Walmart cane. It was okay, but not as good as his previous cane.

"But guess what?" he said. Then he went over to a closet and brought out his old cane! "Someone found it at Home Depot, actually one of the employees, but they were off work and so took it home and then forgot it and finally brought it in a couple days later."

So I asked if he was going to return the new cane he'd just bought at Walmart and get his money back.

"I'm not going to return it," he said. "I don't even have a receipt for it. Your mom was distracting me so much that I walked out of the store with it without paying for it. Well, those Walmart bastards owe me money anyway!"

I could see his point. It's one thing to take a cane that belongs to an individual who needs and uses it, but another thing entirely to take a cane from a big faceless corporation that has no problem with stealing when they do it. Well, maybe Dad didn't put it in those exact words, but I'm sure he would have if he'd thought about it some more.

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