Monday, November 21, 2011

Believe It or Not

            I never thought I would ever experience anything to rival the exploits of Robert LeRoy Ripley.

According to Wikipedia, Ripley, who was born on Christmas Day in 1890 and died of a heart attack in 1949, was an American cartoonist, entrepreneur and amateur anthropologist, who created the world famous Ripley’s Believe It or Not! newspaper panel series, radio show, television show and museums which feature odd 'facts' from around the world.
“Subjects covered in Ripley's cartoons and text ranged from sports feats to little known facts about unusual and exotic sites, but what ensured the concept's popularity may have been that Ripley also included items submitted by readers, who supplied photographs of a wide variety of small town American trivia, ranging from unusually shaped vegetables to oddly marked domestic animals, all documented by photographs and then depicted by Ripley's drawings.”
My “Ripley” experience followed an occurrence in Center City Philadelphia in mid-October of this year.  I put a quarter in a parking meter but no time registered so I put another quarter in and again no time registered.  I then put a bag over the meter to indicate it was out-of-order.  When I returned to my vehicle I found a $36.00 ticket on the windshield for “parking overtime.”  I encountered a meter man as I drove away and he told me that I could not put a bag over a meter but that I could call the phone number on the ticket to complain about the alleged broken meter which I did.  My call initiated an “investigation” by the City’s Parking Violation Branch.
Less than a month later I received a form letter from the Parking Violation Branch which said “Our investigation has found your complaint to be accurate and valid and, therefore, the ticket has been administratively cancelled.” Believe It or Not.
What is likely more believable is my continuing travail with the Parking Violation Branch about another ticket I received for not feeding a Philadelphia meter the day after a major snow storm at the end of this past January, that is January, 2011. The meter was buried in mounded snow and was unreachable. Repeated phone calls and correspondence have resulted in my winning a hearing on the matter, now scheduled for February 21, 2012. Believe It or Not.  


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