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A letter to the Trib editor today (from one Mr. Robert S. Hirsh) on the obnoxious Chicago tradition of "dibs":

It's time once again for me to get my two cents in regarding the inconsiderate people who feel because they shoveled a spot out for their car they are entitled to squatting privileges until June (or even next week). After our first major storm of the season, my car was buried. I am 51 years old, and while I admit to being in excellent shape, I have a tricky back that makes it difficult to stay in a bent position without frequent breaks. Even so, it took me exactly 21 minutes to free my vehicle. Does 21 minutes of work entitle me to hog the space for the rest of the winter? No.

If you need help getting out, ask a neighbor. But if you're fit enough to shovel, you're fit enough to walk. So shut up and shovel and quit being a pig. Or else move to Miami.

I know some of my friends will disagree with me on this, but I think dibs is for jerks. It's completely anti-community and embodies an appalling amount of got-mine, up-yours-ness. The Mayor endorses it, but that just means the Mayor's a jackass.

We got about a foot of snow in the last 24 hours. In about 30 or 40 minutes today, Jim and I cleared out all the space around our car, including about 10 vacant feet in front of it that was a not-quite-spot (now that it's all cleared out, though, someone should be able to fit a little car there). We shoveled back to the opening of the alley and from the curb to the tire tracks in the street. It didn't take that long at all. If everyone who parks on the street would take a few minutes to shovel a bit more space than they take up, no one would have to do that bullshit "dibs" marking with the lawn chairs and the 2x4s.

So be neighborly, Chicagoans! Don't make me come over there.

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