That Little Green Guy in "Star Wars"?

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Nobody likes getting a parking ticket, right? It’s not just the money involved, I think part of our chagrin is based on the fact that you almost never see the officer who gave it to you. You just come out of the store and there’s that slip of paper under the windshield. You’re hoping it’s an advertisement for a youth car wash, but “Nooooo!!!”

Proving once again that if you want a really stupid idea, ask the government. The city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has decided that a good way to cut down on the stress of getting a parking ticket is to print helpful tips about yoga on the back of the ticket. No, not that stuff that’s almost but not quite ice cream and doesn’t taste too bad if there’s fruit mixed in. Yoga. You know: that stuff you see on TV where extremely limber people are doing exercises to relieve the stress of … exercising, most likely.

The thought is that people will get to their cars and, instead of yelling obscenities at nameless deities or the mayor, will read the back of the ticket and think, “I’d feel completely copasetic about this ticket if only I’d do the ‘Downward Facing Doggie’ pose right here by my car! I think I will!!”

Speaking of yelling, the Simple English Bible has this to say in Ephesians 4:31: “May all bitterness, anger, grudges, yelling, and cursing—every kind of evil—be taken away from you.” Now, other translations make it sound like that what Paul is warning us against is yelling angrily at one another. I can see where that would be a problem. This translation—which is generally my favorite—makes it sound like yelling, in and of itself, is evil. If we took that to heart, most of us should no longer allow ourselves to attend a football game or watch “Wheel of Fortune” [“T! T! you idiot, Teeee!!!!!!!!!!”].

Which is a pretty good illustration of the old reminder you’ve probably heard in Sunday School before: look at the context. Rip a verse out of context (or grab a sentence from Shakespeare or Mark Twain sans its context) and you can easily reach conclusions the original author never intended.

And, you see, that’s generally how I react to parking tickets: the officer didn’t really mean me. He was probably looking at that car over there and accidentally stuck the ticket on my windshield.

Still, I kind of like the idea of the police department trying to make their tickets more palatable. Specifically, I like the idea that they probably paid someone to do the drawings of the yoga positions and someone else to write the text. I’m thinking it would be a great idea for the city I live in to pay me money to draw cartoons for the backs of their tickets. Laughter’s a way better stress-reliever than sitting cross-legged, right? Parking violators would get a laugh, I’d get money, and we’d all be happy. Especially me. And that way I wouldn’t even need yoga.