Allen RuckerAmericans love to complain. And doggone it, we’re good at it. That’s why there’s a complaint department in every store and why Rush Limbaugh is filthy rich. His full-time job is to complain about the federal government, feminazis, “sluts” who want free birth control, and stars who kill themselves because “leftists are never happy.” We Americans complain because we have a deep-seated optimism that things will always get better. The rest of the world never complains because they know their lives will never get better. They just pray they don’t get worse.

Of course, paralysis opens up a whole new territory for complaining. “Hey, why me? I’m overweight and yell at small children, but I’m not a bad person!” “My nose itches. Could someone please come here this instance and scratch it, for heaven sakes!” “Hold that elevator door — what are you, blind?”

With chair users, the nondisabled expect you to complain, can see it coming a mile away, and shut their ears off when you start up. “So, the aisle is too narrow for your vehicle, pal, just go around the other way.” The more of a scene you make, the less they respond. If you start knocking over mannequins or block an entryway, they’ll call the cops, who will arrive and say, “You know, Mr. I-Got-My-Rights, we could be out chasing real crooks rather than listening to you bleat about the width of a #%&*# aisle.” Which is why you file a discrimination suit, waste months of your time, and end up with a “case dismissed” when the store owner promises he’ll do better.

There is an art to complaining that gets you what you want — the opportunity to get your beef aired in