point of view
A Saint, the Power of Prayer, a Fishing Lesson and Bizarro
John Van Horn
I know this is going to sound a bit like heresy, but until last month I had never heard a "prayer" for parking. I just am not up on my religious activity. I do know that there is a Greek Patron Saint for parking, St. Ithafanuthia. (Seems there is a shortage of spaces in Athens, but not a shortage of prayer. But I digress.)
A month or so ago, I attended the grand opening of the Parking Spot's new location in L.A., a project The Parking Spot shares with the Drollinger group, a major developer of virtually every square inch of space on Sepulveda Boulevard (the main north-south artery into and out of LAX). I noted from the program that the head of Loyola Marymount University, a Jesuit priest, was giving the invocation. Being a Catholic myself, I should have known that those bright, forward thinking members of the Society of Jesus would come up with a "knock your socks off" prayer for parking.
The good father prayed for full parking spaces, for security, for good service, and for the success of the project, which of course is directly related to getting cars in spaces. Priests are good at getting people in pews, so why not parking?
By the way, there is a short bit about this new garage elsewhere in this edition of my favorite magazine. This facility does great credit to its owners and its operator.
Mike Pendergraft of the American Valet Company in Phoenix publishes a monthly electronic newsletter. It's great -- full of parking tidbits and newsy stuff about his staff and customers. Last month he included the following short story.
An American tourist complimented a Mexican fisherman on his catch. "How long did it take you to catch the fish," the American asked. "Not long," was the answer. "Well, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more."
The fisherman explained that the small amount was enough to meet his needs and those of his family. But what do you do with the rest of your time, the American asked. "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, go the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar and sing a few songs ... I have a full life.
The American interrupted. "I have an MBA from Harvard and can help you. You should start by fishing longer every day then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue you can buy a bigger boat. Then a second and a third one until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can sell directly to the processing plants, or even own a plant yourself. Then you can leave this tiny village and move to L.A. or New York and direct your huge enterprise."
"How long would that take?" the fisherman asked. Twenty to 25 years, was the response.
"And then what?"
"You could sell your business and make millions."
"Millions, really, and then what."
Then you could retire, move to a tiny fishing village, sleep late, fish a little, play with your children, take a siesta, and spend the evenings drinking and enjoying your friends.
And as Mike says, "Have a beautiful day."
I must say that I was impressed with the trade show connected with the IPI's annual convention held last month in Long Beach. It was the best ever, no doubt. There was a bit of grumbling about the attendance, but there's nothing unusual about that. Vendors grumble no matter what.
I was disappointed by the attendance but for a different reason. I have determined through a very unscientific SWAG method, that there are more than 30,000 senior people in the parking industry nationwide. When less than 700 show up at the biggest industry trade show ever, it's a sin. Shame on you! Maybe David Ivey and the IPI need a Jesuit priest to put in a few good words.
Of course the event may have been dampened slightly by the major event that was going on across the street. Seems that the Gay and Lesbian Pride weekend was held in Long Beach during the IPI show. Over 60,000 people turned out to celebrate as only we Californians know how.
I was sorely tempted to print a "Bizarro" cartoon that ran in the L.A.Times last month, but that little "C" in a circle in the corner slowed me down a bit. The single panel depicted Captain Hook, replete with peg leg and silver hook, pointing overboard with his first mate behind him dutifully at the helm. The line: "Look, Mr. Queeg! A Handicap Parking dock just opened up."
Article Abstract from August, 2003