So, we got a parking ticket in Fresno. While working our asses off in the Fresno Public Library, someone was being paid to notice that we had been in the parking space six minutes more than was allowed. They also got paid to write a ticket and put it under our windshield wiper. My indignation was the beginning of nothing less than a saga.
The ticket said that we had fifteen days to contest the ticket. Being a thoughtful person, I spent many long hours over the span of the next two weeks crafting an appeal to the parking ticket that was also a literary work of genius.
The first element of this work was John F Kennedy. I figured the parking citations people in Fresno got a boatload of protest letters every week and if mine was going to stick out, it needed a little something extra. Luckily, I happened to have a postcard of a very imposing portrait of President Kennedy. You can barely look into his eyes without feeling that you have somehow failed to fulfill your patriotic duties.
The second element of my written feat was a healthy dose of flattery. You and I may know Fresno for what it really is, however, on the postcard I made sure to praise the city, ranking it with Venice, Hong Kong, and Buenos Aires. I complemented the parking citation people on their zeal for their job. I insinuated that they possessed a raw beauty that would have made Helen envious. I commended their staunch moral fiber. JFK would have been proud.
The third element of my little Pulitzer was a bit of a threat. I informed them that through the medium of the Trash Blog, I commanded a wide and fanatically committed audience. I made it clear that should the parking ticket not be waived, they would have two or three angry calls from my grandmother.
Happy with this missive, I let it fly free in the care of the US Postal Service. I thought nothing of it for four or five weeks, so confident was I in my persuasive powers. But the continued and, I admit, ominous silence maintained by the Fresno parking citation people began to make me wonder if the USPS hadn’t let me down. There can be no doubt that if the postcard had arrived it would have initiated a response among the Fresno parking citation people that would only have stopped short of begging to have my children. It must have gotten lost in the mail.
Luckily, I had a phone number on the back of the citation. I called up Gretchen at what I thought was the Fresno parking citation people’s office. To my consternation, Myrna answered and said that I had reached the Los Angeles Citation Dispute Center. Quickly recovering, I told Myrna about my postcard and JFK and my soon-to-be-awarded Pulitzer. She must have been overwhelmed, because all she could say was that I had sent it to the wrong address. She gave me a new address and said that as long as a written appeal was postmarked by the following day, it would still be considered.
I want to be clear: I sent the original JFK postcard to the address that was listed on the back of the parking ticket. Armed with yet another outrageous fact, I composed a somewhat more scalding postcard. While the literary quality of this second appeal was perhaps even better than the first, I doubt it will receive any accolades because the tone was so fiery, few are the readers who’s minds would not be plunged into hellish depths.
With my damning, expletive ridden appeal safely on its way, I once again relaxed, thinking it was only a matter of time before the Fresno parking citation people capitulated. Then three weeks passed, and a fourth. It was as if my exertions of the written word had fallen on blind eyes. No response.
Finally, when I was reduced to a miserable, shaking, sobbing wreck, I called back Myrna in LA. Through tears I gave her my citation number and a brief explanation of all that had occurred. She stopped me harshly, saying, “I’ll save us both some time, sir. That citation has been forgiven.”