Opinion: Bobby the Repo Man

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Medicare benefits and taxes as seen from the seat of a mobility scooter (and a bar stool). Wes Richards reminds us that Medicare benefits aren’t free.

Bobby was the only guy at the Legion bar with a club soda… no ice, no twist. They take up too much room.

He also was the only guy at the Legion bar with one of those mobility scooters where you could crank up the seat as high as a barstool.

And it had an oxygen tank with a tube almost long enough to reach his nose with the seat all the way up. But sometimes an end would slip out of either the tank or the nosepiece.

Bobby was a sprightly 280 lbs, or so he said. Three ten was more likely; maybe three and a quarter. He couldn’t twist around to put the tube back in so he’d bang his Zippo on the bar. People with fear of an oxygen explosion would come running over to warn him… and he’d ask them to put the breathing works back together.

The Zippo was new. It never saw the business end of a can of fluid and I know this because I was the one who gave it to him and told him to use it to call for help. Small, portable, nearly indestructible and made right here in Pennsylvania, USA.

So here he is in his tall-ship scooter and he’s railing about the amount Medicare takes out of his Social Security check.

On and on about the money. And because Bobby could tell a good story, people were always gathered around him. And they’d tell him “right, bro” or “you tell ’em, Bobs.”

One day the guy who drove him around when he needed to get farther from home than a full charge on the scooter asked him where he got the scooter.

“Oh, the government paid for that,” he said.

It did? Where’d it get the money? Was it from the money it collects for Medicare? Nah. Can’t be.

Bobby’s no dope. He knows he’s been checked. He tries that awful chess move: “Yeah, well it’s still wrong.” And then he concedes the game. Resigns, as the players of real chess would say.

By the time we met, he was spending more time in the hospital than at home.

“What’s wrong, Bobby?”

“Be easier to tell you what isn’t,” he answered.

That club soda was a tipoff. People who hang out in bars and don’t drink usually have a pot problem. Not our Bob. He has a hose problem. They come in various lengths. And he can’t order a new one for 13 months unless his breaks. And then he needs a prescription for a new one.

“After all the effort I gave to my country, how can they deny me the price of an oxygen tank hose?”

It hasn’t dawned yet: they’re saving him money in the long run by not letting him collect hoses at the drop of a Zippo.

Some newcomer to this gathering asks Bobby what was the most unusual thing he ever had to repossess.

This is when the bar clears. We’ve heard the story 485 times.

The answer is a small single engine Piper Cub airplane parked in a hangar at a tiny airport. Bob and his crew arrive to find the hangar open and no one around. Then they realize no one among them is a licensed pilot so they can’t fly the thing out.

Bobby hooks it up to the tow truck. And he gets about 30 feet until it becomes clear that small as the plane may be, the wings make it too wide to get out of the airport gate.

“How do they get these things in here the first time?” They fly them in, Bobby. They FLY them in.

Now what? Dismantle? No. That would require skills and tools no one has.

Squeeze it through? No. Liability for destroying the finance company’s property…especially if the wings tore off the fuselage going through the gate.

So, next best? Remove a wheel.

And that’s what they did.

Then they had to fight with the lender for their fee.

Bobby left us a few years ago. He left his motorized chair at the front door to his house.

And wouldn’t you know they repossessed it because Bobby forgot to make that final co-payment?

I’m Wes Richards, My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them.®
and for more of my thoughts, go to: http://wessays.blogspot.com

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