Cops on wheels

RECENTLY I spotted a maintenance man in a Mexican airport. He had a stack of toilet paper rolls balanced in one hand and a walking cane in the other. He was crippled and at work.

On a number of occasions, while in the nearby state capital, I have seen traffic cops in wheelchairs, something I have never seen in the United States, ever.

The Mexican traffic cops were wearing the standard uniforms, which tells me they aren’t some “auxiliary.” They were regular cops. On wheels. Impressive.

I imagine that being confined to a wheelchair would eliminate any chance of being a policeman in the United States. There are many jobs that the wheelchair-bound can do, but a cop is not one of them above the Rio Bravo.

America would give you a disability check before it would give you a police uniform and a pistol.

I could be wrong about this. I have been out of the country for a long time. America now lets women be Marine Corps infantrymen, so who knows about crippled cops?

Maybe if they are women.

The number of Americans on disability has skyrocketed in recent years. A huge and still growing percentage of Americans are “disabled.”  Simultaneously, it’s not uncommon to see news stories of some of these disabled folks surfboarding or playing baseball.

Sometimes they are distressed at being caught. Other times they just smile.

A friend recently sent me this:

The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, to 47 million people as of the most recent figures available in 2013.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us, “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.”

Their stated reason for the policy is because “The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.”

Obviously, the USDA is run by Democrats, and the Interior Department by Republicans.

* * * *

Speaking of crime and punishment, I recently tried to pass a counterfeit bill. In my defense, I did not know it was counterfeit. It was a real good knockoff.

odds__endsI was driving through a highway toll booth while headed to Tlalpujahua. I handed a 200-peso note (about 15 bucks) to the young fellow. He looked at it briefly, handed it back, and asked for a different one.

Why?  I asked. He then said it was counterfeit. How do you know?  I asked. He pointed out some detail, a detail I never did quite grasp. But, more than anything, on closer inspection, I saw that the paper was flimsier than a real note.

I tore it up.

Notable was that he did not confiscate the bill. He did not summon the machine-gun-toting cop standing nearby. He just gave it back and asked for something better.

This brings up an interesting issue. A bank note is simply a symbol, a symbol of worth that the government says it possesses, and we believe the government. If you hand over one of these symbols that looks almost identical to a government-issued symbol, and someone accepts it for something, a meal, a night in a motel, doesn’t it have that value?

If someone accepts the symbol, it has done its duty, ¿no?

Mexicans can get really goofy about paper money. Many do not grasp that it is a symbol. They believe the piece of paper has actual value like a gold nugget or a silver coin.

If it is torn, often even a tiny bit, they will not accept it. This can be annoying.

Often there are just two options if you find yourself with a broken bill. Tape it up, which will usually work if none of the paper is actually missing. If paper is actually missing, you usually have to go to a bank for an exchange. Banks know the bill is only a symbol.

A few years back I read this on the website of the Banco de Mexico, the nation’s central bank:

If a bill has more than 50 percent of its surface, it is still valid. If the missing section includes the serial number, however, the bill must be 80 percent intact.

Try pointing that out to an old woman selling vegetables in an open-air market or even the cashier at Walmart. You will get nowhere. Save your breath.

* * * *

Jennifer Rose recently wrote about the process of getting Mexican citizenship, which reminded me of my time making that leap in 2005, three years before her.

There are a number of requirements and, I imagine, those requirements can differ, depending on where you apply because Mexico is like that. When I applied, for some reason, the requirements were hardly different than those for renewing a visa.

It was easy.

I applied in January of 2005 and in December I was a Mexican. The first thing I did was go get a Mexican passport. It’s fun to be a Mexican. I sure don’t look like a Mexican-American, so I must be an American-Mexican. People are so fond of hyphens these days. Gotta be multicultural, you know.

I can vote in Mexico, and I do. I get lots of stares at the voting station. And if I’m ever on an airliner that’s hijacked by Mohammedans, I can flash my Mexican passport, and they will toss someone else out the door, not me. That’s nice.

If I ever get really pissed at the American government, I can go to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and tell them where they can put their citizenship. I have backup. But I have not reached that level of ire just yet. Electing Hillary might do the trick, however.

Even worse, they’re now saying that California’s Gov. Moonbeam Brown is smelling sweet as catnip to Democrats across the nation. Good Lord Almighty!

6 thoughts on “Cops on wheels”

  1. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the few beggars we have in Melaque — almost all of them in wheelchairs. The small number may be a result of the phenomenon you write about. I have noticed the same thing. Mexico seems to be far better at meeting the human desire to be productive than has The States. I have seen men (and it is always men) in wheelchairs doing a huge range of jobs. But mainly up your way on the highlands. Not so much down here on the coast. And I wonder why the disparity?

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  2. If you renounce your citizenship, you probably also end up renouncing your leftist Social-Security cheques too.

    Just something to keep in mind.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we wonder why this wasn’t three separate blog posts.

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    1. Kim: Scads of Mexicans in Mexico get U.S. Social Security. Not sure exactly how that works, but it appears you do not have to be a U.S. citizen. Not sure though.

      But, I won’t be renouncing anything.

      Why it was not three separate posts? Because it’s Odds and Ends.

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  3. I’d expected some kind of funny stare at the voting casilla, but the folks there acted like I’d been a voting Mexican all my life. And when they called out my name, they even pronounced it correctly.

    As for renouncing your U.S. citizenship, it’s fraught with adverse tax consequences. The only folks who can afford to do are the destitute and very wealthy.

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    1. Ms. Shoes: Obviously, you vote in a higher-class neighborhood than I do. I get the stares. They’re friendly stares, but still stares. Of course, I do not blend easily into any environment, certainly not in the neck of the woods where I vote.

      Your name would not be difficult to pronounce. Many Mexican women share your first name, and your last name, with an extra letter, would be Spanish. My actual first name is almost always mispronounced by the natives. They say my last name pretty easily. But they can’t spell it.

      Oh, I was just shooting bull with that renouncing citizenship thing. Ain’t gonna happen. Nice to think about though with the way things are going in the U.S. of A.

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