SORRY MOM & DAD: Unpaid parking tickets are like herpes

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    By Justin Adam Brown

    Justin learned you can turn anything into fun when he got a boot on his car for unpaid parking tickets.

    Herpes are a lot like unpaid parking tickets. Just because you ignore them, doesn’t mean they’ll go away forever.

    I first realized this on a beautiful spring morning in April 2007. The sun was shining, birds were chirping and my bedroom linens were stained with my unborn children. Let’s face facts here, it’s not like my offspring will cure cancer or anything, so I could afford to waste some DNA on my sheets from practicing the pull-out method every now and then.

    I had just woken up and was making my way through the debris of beer cans scattered throughout my apartment from the party I had the night before. I headed to my front porch, where I took in some fresh spring air, when I noticed a boot on my car.

    Apparently the local police took it seriously when I owed them money for parking in restricted areas, even if the restricted area was in front of my apartment. Maybe the fact that the police used to come to my frat parties and allow girls to drive their cop car up and down the hill in exchange for oral satisfaction caused me to underestimate their seriousness. Nevertheless, I was screwed worse than a submissive twink who dropped the bar of soap in a county jail shower. I now owed 250-some-odd dollars to remove the boot and avoid my car from getting impounded.

    It couldn’t have happened at a worse time, as my 21st birthday was just two days away!

    I knew if I called my dad and told him I needed money to remove a boot from my car for neglecting to pay inexpensive parking tickets, he would flip out. Not only would he flip out, but he would probably get so mad that he would back out of wiring me the money to pay for the limo I rented to celebrate my birthday in Pittsburgh.

    Realizing I needed money fast, I decided to earn it by doing what I did best — partying.

    It just so happened that my fraternity was the host of the infamous Thirsty Thursday on campus where everyone who was anyone went to live the nights they’ll never remember with the people they’ll never forget. And luckily it was a Thursday.

    I decided to make Jell-O shots and sell them at that night’s party, hoping to raise enough money to remove my boot.

    “This is a pajama party,” informed one of my fraternity brothers in response to my costume.

    I was wearing sunglasses, a sombrero, a fake moustache and a belly shirt with dancing maracas that read “SOUTH OF THE BORDER.” My strategy was to physically stand out so people would approach me and buy a Jell-O shot.

    Come the end of the night, I was 50 bucks short of a Jell-O shot victory.

    Instead, I was lying on a basement floor resembling a Mexican bobble-head at a pajama party, wondering how I could raise enough money to get the boot off my car.

    All of a sudden, one of my coworkers that I waited tables with arrived to see if anyone was still partying. A good friend, they lent me 50 bucks of their hard-earned money.

    The next morning, I rushed to the local police station to pay my fines and have my boot removed.

    “An officer will be over within the hour to remove the boot,” promised the secretary.

    Walking home, I figured I might as well enjoy the boot while I had it.

    So, I woke up my neighbor and made him take picture of me posing with the boot.

    The cop came to remove the boot just as I was kissing it.

    Years later, I’d like to say I know better than to not pay my parking tickets. To this day, I often leave work scared to find a boot on my car. Unpaid parking tickets might always be my herpes. They’re something I have and don’t tell people about unless I have sex with them often.

    One thing I learned, however, is that if you can have fun getting a boot on your car, you can have fun anywhere.

    Reach Justin at 570.991.6652 and follow him #PartyLikeAJournalist on Instagram @justinadambrown