Scooters Say Self-Propelled Locomotion Is For Suckers

In the second issue of Harvey Kurtzman’s Mad (before the Comics Code hit and it ostensibly became a “magazine”. You know, like Cracked or The New Yorker), Wally Wood illustrated a story called “Blobs”. In it, gelid human midgets flew their flying robot scooters around a futuristic Fritz Lang cityscape without the slightest use of the flaccid appendages of their arms and legs. They had been made superfluous by the forward progress of science. The eponymous human blobs also wore gigantic vacuum-tube computers on their heads that spoke their thoughts aloud in a capital letter robot font, and by merely pumping a quarter into a vending machine, they could make out with a Rita Hayworth titanium robot.

Let’s face it – within five pages, Kurtzman and Wood perfectly envisioned fat person utopia. And now, some consumers are finally puttering towards the fermement of their vision at 4 miles per hour:

For a growing swath of people
in numbers, age and girth
scooting is the new walking. Once solely the domain of the barely mobile, scooters are becoming more lifestyle accessory than medical necessity as obesity rates skyrocket and life-expectancy rates creep up. “Our market size will double in the next 15 years,” says Dan Meuser, president of Pride Mobility, the leading scooter manufacturer. (The company sold about 150,000 scooters last year, at prices from $800 to several thousand.) With the number of obese adults over the age of 60 in the United States expected to reach nearly 21 million in 2010, a 43 percent jump from 2000, the appeal of the wheel is obvious. Add a generation of aging boomers used to doing what they want, when they want, and you just might have the next suburban status symbol.

Money quote!

“There’s not a grocery store anywhere in Texas now that doesn’t have one,” hyperbolizes Doug Harrison, president of the Scooter Store, the nation’s largest scooter retailer.

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  1. RandomHookup says:

    My niece’s hubby was a doctor in Texas and he said a high majority of Wal-Mart scooter users were simply obese with no other primary medical affliction. I don’t say those folks should not use them, but I have nightmares of armies of tubbies crowding the aisles at the Winn Dixie.

  2. Ico jones says:

    8 months pregnant with twins (and just off 3 months of doctor mandated bedrest) my wife opted for a scooter at our local Target. You’d be amazed at the looks she got from passing shoppers. Made her want to ditch the scooter, but she didn’t. I guess obese people are more than used to the shocking judgmental nature of most people, so it might not faze them — but it was an interesting peek into the lives of those who need help to do what most of us can do without assistance.

  3. airship says:

    I weigh over 400 lbs. and get around just fine most of the time, but when I had foot surgery I had to use one of these at Wal-Mart. (I never go to Wal-Mart, but I needed groceries and I knew they were the only store in the area with scooters.) The looks I got plainly said ‘You fat slob, if you got off your ass and walked maybe you wouldn’t be so fat.’ Not that I care what a bunch of Wal-Mart shoppers think of me, but it was interesting.

  4. While I don’t discount the absurdity of the article, I do find it unfair that Newsweek (and by default, you) post a picture of Missy Elliott to accompany it. The reason she’s riding a scooter is because she recently broke her leg, not because she’s fat. You can clearly see the cast on her left foot.