So I had an interesting thing happen to me today.
In my never-ending quest to procure employment that actually, you know, pays me, I was filling out an application online. (I'm not telling you where, just in case you're better qualified than I am. Finders keepers and early birds and all that. Nothing personal).
Anyway, the extremely thorough and/or possibly wee bit distrustful company has a little note in the education section that says, "Oh by the way, we're very thorough and a bit distrustful of all you people claiming to have degrees and everything, so please send us your transcripts". And since I kind of miss having a company-matched 401k, I was all like, "Absolutely, you delightfully paranoid company, you!"
And off I went to get my college transcript.
The good thing about living in a college town where you also happened to go to college is that you can just pop right into the registrars office instead of having to wait for them to mail it to you. So I did. I skipped right up to the counter (God bless summer when all the students are gone and the registrar is actually feeling helpful) and proclaimed that I was here for my transcript. And the very nice woman at the counter went clickity-clickity-clickity on her keyboard, and everything was just going along fine.
And then she said, "Hmmmm".
(And if the registrar saying "Hmmmm" while trying to pull up your transcripts doesn't immediately set off warning bells, I don't know what does.)
And I was all very innocently like, "Problem?" Say no, say no, say no.
And she says, "Yes. You have some holds in your account".
And I say, "Holds? Why I declare, I'm sure I have no idea what you could possibly mean"*
And she, (apparently not a Gone with the Wind fan) says, "Well it says here that you have some unpaid parking tickets. One from 2007 and one from 2008. And I can't release your transcript until you pay them".
At which point I threw myself onto the front counter and wailed "It wasn't me, I tell ya! I'm being framed, see? I'm inno-wait. Did you say from 2007 and 2008? That really wasn't me then. I wasn't even here those years."
And I looked at her, and she looked at me, and apparently I've officially lost my ability to pass for the college-aged subset, because I think she actually believed me. So she dials parking authority and hands me the phone, and I start over with them about how I'm not the illegal parker that they think I am.
So now I'm on the phone with a fabulous guy from Parking Authority named Jim**, and he's doing his clickity-clickity-clickity thing on his keyboard while I vehemently deny ever even setting eyes on staff lot 25, much less parking in it, and he says, "Looks like the first ticket belongs to a 4 door Chrysler, and the second is a 2 door PT Cruiser convertible". And I say, "Ah-ha Jim! I do not own a car by either of those descriptions! Somebody's been unlawfully parking under my good name, the scoundrels!"
Jim offers to look up who the plate numbers are registered under. It's a sad day indeed when felonious delinquents can get away with ruining the good parking records of innocent citizens (not to mention put holds on their transcripts), and I for one am happy that Jim is hot on the trail of the nefarious parking ne'er-do-wells. I nod at the registrar as if to say, "Today, justice is being done. Truth is on my side".***
Jim comes back on the phone. "I see the problem", he says. "These cars aren't registered under your name, but they are registered to two people who happen to have the same last name as you. Sometimes that kind of thing gets mixed up in the system." I nod. Completely understandable. Unfortunate that I would share a surname with criminal masterminds, but understandable.
"Maybe you know them", Jim says. "Are you familiar with these names?" He reads a pair of names off to me. I am about to tell Jim that I do not associate with scofflaws and hooligans. I am about to tell him that fugitives quake at the very thought of my spotless ethics.
Instead, I tell him that why yes, those are my parents.
Seems to me that Mummy and Daddykins have a little explaining to do.
Jim tells me that because he is such a nice guy,**** he's going to forget the first ticket from 2007. He writes it off as some kind of visitor parking snafu and sweeps it all under the rug. The second one, however, I have to get the 'rents to cop to before he'll remove it from my record.
I call the house. I'm humming "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha' gonna do?" while the phone rings. Finally, Dad picks up. Ah-ha! Mr. Big himself! I explain the situation (should I be wearing a wire?) about how both he and Mom have apparently been busted for parking willy-nilly all over campus, and how the fuzz is trying to get me to take the fall for it, and how I made a deal for immunity and my transcripts and possibly witness protection if I started naming names.
At first, Dad's playing innocent. "What parking ticket? I don't remember ever getting a parking ticket", he says. Then I tell him how they're willing to forget all about his parking ticket if he'll agree to take the stand against Mom. She's not there to defend herself, but Dad implicates her anyway. Apparently we're a family of snitches.
I call Jim back. "He sang like the Vienna Boys Choir!", I announce. Jim arranges to have the ticket changed over to Ma Barker's name instead of mine so that I can get my transcript out of hock. The registrar is laughing like crazy. "You know", she says, "I've seen a lot of parents' transcripts get held because their kids have parking tickets here, but you're the first one whose ever had a hold because of her parents!" Yes, ma'am. They're like the Bonnie and Clyde of expired parking meters, my parents.
In the end, they let me have my transcript. All I had to do was sell my very own flesh and blood up the river. If we're lucky, they'll let Mom out in a few years on good behavior, providing she keeps her car between the white lines and stays out of the staff lots. Meanwhile, the transcript that started all this trouble will probably end up being moot anyway. Even if they wanted to hire me, the company will never be able to find me under my new witness protection name.
At least we're keeping it all in the (crime) family.
*Because I apparently channel Scarlett O'Hara from time to time.
**Who actually listened and tried to help, which is mind-blowing, because back when I was in school there, Parking Authority embraced the "tow first, ask questions later" philosophy.
***Imagine me standing in front of a waving American flag, with marching bands playing and wind blowing my hair. That, my friends, is the sweet look of justice.
****Seriously, where was Jim back when I did go to school there?