August 29, 2009
This piece for Suffolk Alumni Magazine concerns a Boston parking clerk who searched high and low for a way to dismiss the fine for an out-of-towner’s parking ticket after the plaintiff wrote in to the clerk’s office to explain that, A: not only was she confused by the city’s parking regulations, but B: visiting Boston was on her ‘bucket list’ as she had been diagnosed with degenerative heart failure and had only a short time to live without a transplant. (The woman’s medical records had been enclosed to the clerk to verify her condition). The orange shreds of the heart shape are from a genuine honest-to-God parking ticket, but the fine print I actually had to design, print, rip up and reconstitute on my own.
With the clerk ultimately succeeding in dismissing this ailing woman’s ticket, death notwithstanding, the story had a relatively happy ending. It was a refreshing change of pace for me to work on something so optimistic-hearted as so much of my assignments usually deal with epic, looming global problems from which there is typically either no escape or no easy answer.
Curiously enough, it was a different story among a handful of my friends and co-workers, all of whom were collectively outraged and derided the prospect of this woman’s special treatment in light of her medical condition. Nearly every last person I described the scenario to sided with the ‘rules-are-rules’ bureaucracy of the typical traffic violations office. I mean, seriously? Can we not, as a society, make a one-time exception for a parking ticket in the case of exactly one dying woman? This doesn’t exactly bode well for expanding public support on health care reform.
So much for that happy ending.
Art direction by Kaajal Asher.