Columns » Kenneth Cleaver

Kenneth Cleaver

Consumer Correspondent

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February 28, 2005

Ms. R. Susan Olley

Parking Administrator

City of West Palm Beach

195 N. Narcissus Ave.

West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Dear Ms. Olley:

Two things to know about me: I'm curious and I have more time on my hands than do most people outside of prison.

So be it.

I've been thinking about parking attendants lately. I'm fascinated by what it's like to give bad news all day, every day. I once read that dentists have alarmingly high suicide rates because they inflict so much pain. (I'd thought it was 'cause they had to stare down people's nostrils.) It must be a similar paradigm with parking attendants. Think about it: In the history of parking tickets, has anyone ever been happy to get one? I doubt it.

I imagine the ability to levy fines offers an ephemeral sense of power that quickly dissipates when the workday is through. This must lead to control issues. Or schizophrenia. Maybe it's like being a former child sitcom star? Or maybe it's not. I don't know. That's why I'm writing.

I realize I have little business being so intrusive, and if these questions make you uncomfortable, I apologize. However, as PBS is unlikely to commission Ken Burns to do a definitive parking attendant documentary series, I gotta do the research myself.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Cleaver

Read the Response.

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