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Have You Played Suburban Slot Machines?

Aug 17, 2007
Ask people what they do when they go to Las Vegas and they'll say they play slot machines. I play slot machines too, but not only in Las Vegas. There are legal slot machines where I live.

Because all free parking spaces seem to be taken by fire hydrants, I learned how to play suburban slot machines, also known as parking meters.

I remember when the library parking meters took pennies. No more. In fact, some parking meters don't take nickels anymore. The day is coming when they'll take only credit cards.

Like in Vegas, to play these machines you need to know the rules. Rule one, learn which parking meters have slow timers. Getting more time for your money makes you a winner.

Rule two, the more inconveniently located the parking meter is, the cheaper it is. Walking a few blocks makes you a double winner - financially and physically.

Rule three, look for meters with time left on their dials. It's like finding money in the tray of a Vegas slot machine.

Replacing these machines with parking meters that have dials which automatically go to zero when the cars leave the curb would be like taking the slot machines out of Vegas.

Rule four, parking meters that offer fifteen minutes for ten cents sometimes offer half an hour for twenty-five cents. In small print on the meter's face it says this is for convenience.

Casinos have ATM machines for convenience too. For whose convenience? I've never found it convenient to pay extra.

Rule five, keep track of the time you're spending on the machine. Getting a parking ticket is like an instant losing streak and can eat up your winnings just as fast.

Of course, if you leave a casino broke, you tell yourself it could have been worse. You could have lost more.

It's the same thing with parking tickets. When I went to pay my parking ticket, I told myself it could have been worse. I could have paid forty-one cents to mail my fine.

Paying it in person gave me a chance to see our government in action - well, in inaction. I spent so much time in line waiting to pay my fine, I was worried I hadn't put enough money in the parking meter.

I'd put only fifteen cents in the City Hall slot machine and City Hall is located right next to the police station.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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