While changing my clothes at the YMCA to work out early in the morning, I overheard two men in the dressing room discussing the partially blocked parking lot out front. They finally concluded that they had talked with  employees and patrons that morning and no one seemed to know the reason why it was blocked off.

Their discussion apparently triggered the memory of one of the men in the dressing room, who began to tell a story of a friend who had developed a terrible distain for signs, lines or barricades. His reaction was so upsetting to him that he made a decision to not let it bother him. But what his friend really meant when he made that decision not to let it bother him, was to not  pay any attention to his disdains which became very obvious one day when he was riding in his car which he nonchalantly parked in a clearly designated handicapped parking space and energetically jumped out of his car.

A nearby elderly lady saw him do this and shouted at him for being inconsiderate of handicapped drivers, who might need the parking space. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” she cried out! The man who was telling this story said that he shouted back at the elderly lady, “His friend couldn’t help it because he was ethically challenged.” Apologetically, the elderly lady then called back that she did not know, was sorry and hoped that his driving friend would forgive her.

I still think about the men changing clothes with me at the YMCA that morning, who gave me a laughing introduction to the term, “ethically challenged”.  I’ve thought about their joke many times, but never without wondering about the many times every day that I and probably many others have acted “ethically challenged.”

Incidentally, after I worked out, showered, dressed and walked past the portion of the parking lot closed off with wide yellow lines and orange safety cones, I noticed that workers were repairing the blacktop in that portion of the parking lot. I concluded, it was probably a good idea that I had obeyed the rules even though I hadn’t been previously able to  understand them.