“How many years of ninja training do your people go through?”


“How many years of ninja training do your people go through?”

From Eastern Washington University in the Spokane area of our most northwestern state in the lower forty eight. By Eli McMalkin, writing in the Easterner.


I asked while she stared at me blankly, processing the six parking tickets I received in the last two weeks, and replied, “I don’t think that they do ninja training.”


I was skeptical. After all, the parking services department and their crack squad of elite parking lot commandos, is, by far, the most effective department that I have seen on this campus.


I have never personally seen a parking lot attendant. This is remarkable, especially considering some of the tickets that I have gotten. There have been a number of occasions where I have temporarily parked in a permit-only parking lot and then found a ticket on my windshield after being there for only three minutes. How do they do this? To be honest, I have no idea. All I know is that our parking lot department is top-notch.


I don’t think I’m exaggerating too much when I say that, if the government sent parking attendants after Osama bin Laden, he would have been captured by now. In fact, they would have brought the entire al-Qaida organization down by now. I can imagine the terrorists plotting in their caves to blow up America only to come out and find five or six parking tickets attached to each of their camels, “Oh, Allah, if only one day we will be able to buy explosives instead of paying for parking tickets! At least our caves are better than living in Eastern Washington University dorms.”


Despite the fact that they take most of my money, which I write off as part of tuition, the parking lot department always makes me feel good. They greet me with a friendly smile and process my bills incredibly quickly. Compare this to some of the other buildings on campus. I won’t name them, but they rhyme with “Button Hall.” I walk into this building only to find myself waiting 15 minutes for the next available cashier. Of course, this is only when there is no line in front of me. If there is a line, I will have to wait much longer.


Once I get to the desk and I want to do something, like register for classes, I will find out that I cannot do it because the computer system personally hates me and I have to have my teachers manually sign my registration forms every quarter to “override the system.” Also, I will probably get sent to Hargreaves for some reason. While I am going through all this bureaucracy, parking lot attendants will fast-rope from a black helicopter – being piloted by Swoop – and place a ticket on my windshield.


Personally, I want to thank the parking department.


Without them, I would have been completely jaded by the system. They are a model of capitalism – a beacon of efficiency. They are the only department that I can count on. While everyone else leaves work early on Friday, they stay until their allotted time. While others take two-hour lunch breaks, they are always available. They are an unchanging rock of reliability in a world of system-overhauls, building upgrades, and personnel replacements.

And while I am busy writing this article, I can count on the fact that they are outside, surgically inserting a weatherproof financial penalty underneath my windshield wipers.


And, of course, they will check the date of the ticket that I received yesterday and placed on my windshield to make them think that somebody already gave me a ticket for today. That’s why I love them. Because they are the one thing on this campus that always works.


Thanks to the C-ParkL list server…


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

3 Responses

  1. While there is a slightly tongue and cheek feel to this, I think it is important for those of us in the industry to remember a couple of things-When we do our jobs well those who follow the rules will be rewarded (and never appreciate what we do) and those who do not will be punished (and be upset with us for doing our jobs). But when we do not do our jobs well, the opposite will be true.

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