Joe Knows

By most accounts, Nazi Germany’s occupation of much of Europe officially ended following the Battle of Berlin in April, 1945. Fortunately, such a group never made it to American soil.

Or at least that’s what I thought.

Yes, as we have to painfully find out, the musty grade-school textbooks —  circa 1983 — we came to love and trust weren’t always entirely honest with us.

I had to find out that a preposterous, unfair system exists last Wednesday when I was minding my own business while trying to be on time for class.

The Erie City Parking Authority wielded its powerful hammer, and slapped a $25 ticket on my windshield.

While I’m not one to normally use such dangerous labels — in fact, I’m a huge proponent of toning down such rhetoric — I can’t help but think that this type of greed and corruption would make Gordon Gekko blush.

Let me explain: While rushing to a mid-morning class last week, I parked my car as I usually do in the garage next to Palumbo. Only this time, in my haste to make class on time, I came to rest in a lower-level spot despite being instructed to use the garage’s roof.

But I was in a hurry — I’m sick of driving in those pointless circles to make it to the top every morning and I knew I would move it immediately after the 55-minute class was over.

And that’s what I did anyway; after class, I lumbered up the levels, and parked on the top.

No harm, no foul right? Wrong.

It wasn’t until I was home that I noticed the yellow literature under my windshield wiper for parking in an unauthorized spot.

My first thought went back to when I was told to always park on the roof, to which my reaction was like that of Joe Pesci in “My Cousin Vinny” after he was reprimanded for not dressing appropriately in court as he was told: “You were serious about that!?”

I was so enraged when I picked up the ticket, I took several deep breaths. Didn’t work. I then counted to 10. Nothing.

I then took my case to ground zero.

The man I talked to — we’ll just call him Heinrich – seemed like a reasonable fellow, and I was ranting so angrily, I was undoubtedly the Republican candidate in the debate.

But some of his answers to my concerns were equally as unreasonable.

After challenging him about the steep price of my violation, he gave a disturbing answer.

“That’s the only fine there is,” he said.

Oh, well that makes perfect sense — a one-size-fits-all punishment. Tell you what, why don’t we just apply this logic to every part of our life?

Guy steals a Big Mac, warm up the electric chair. Woman eats a grape at the grocery store, tie the noose.

Now I know I violated a rule, and, as a result, should’ve probably incurred a small fine. But if I pay such a steep fine, I expect better accommodations and parking options in return.

But, as the saying goes, “You can’t fight City Hall.” And this is no exception

JOE CUNEO

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