Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images
Trusted fart connoisseur, serial open-letter author, and Bob’s Burgers comedian Eugene Mirman had to get creative when he was slammed with injustice on a recent trip to New Hampshire. Visiting Portsmouth, Mirman and his girlfriend thought their small-town getaway was going to be a nice escape, but that all changed when they returned to their car and found a $15 parking ticket on the windshield. The fine was slight, but the corruption was vast. At least in Mirman’s opinion. After all, he was just getting dinged for parking backward. Not one to be messed with, Mirman decided to take justice into his own hands with a full-page local newspaper ad (and then also paid the ticket). “What kind of a hose$&it charge is that?” he wrote. “It’s illegal to back into a spot? Before I embarrass myself, I want to make sure that Portsmouth is still inside the United States and not considered a part of Iran?”
Here’s his Portsmouth Summer Guide letter-slash-ad (which will run for the entire summer) in all its glory:
The full text:
Dear Portsmouth, NH and Especially the Parking Clerk’s Office,
Last June I had a wonderful day walking around in your historic downtown with my girlfriend. I bought two puppets, who turned out to be gay. Just kidding, they’re puppets. We stopped in cute shops, ate a popover and saw Black David Cross. It was nice.
Then — when we returned to our car on my windshield was a ticket. “What could this possible be for? I thought. I paid for three hours of parking (but only used two — you’re welcome, Portsmouth). Is it a crime in Portsmouth to not use all the parking you bought? How’d you know I’d be back early? Do you have a PreCrime division? Why are your PreCogs working on traffic tickets? Shouldn’t they be out preventing Street Performers before they happen? But, no. I read the violation — we backed into a spot and were fined $15 for being “parked in wrong direction.”
What kind of a hose$&it charge is that? It’s illegal to back into a spot? Before I embarrass myself, I want to make sure that Portsmouth is still inside the United States and not considered a part of Iran?
You’re probably thinking, “Well, if before visiting Portsmouth, like everyone else — you’d simply first gone to the City Clerk’s Office website, clicked on City of Portsmouth Ordinances and looked in Chapter Seven — Vehicles, Traffic and Parking. Right there in section 7.316: BACK TO CURB it says, ‘No vehicle shall remain backed up to the curb.’” similarly, if you had gone to my website before I came to your city and clicked on Eugene’s Ordinances, you’d know that in Chapter One under “F%#k You Don’t Steal My Money” in section 8.215 it says, “F%#k you don’t steal my money.”
But even if I had gone to your website — it states that the online ordinances are not an official copy — that for the official ordinances, I have to call 610-7245. Why no area code? Am I calling from a local payphone in 1986? But instead, I foolishly looked around for signs, both real and from God. I saw nothing, but I heard God’s voice, and he said, “This is f%#king bull$&it. You need to write them a letter.”
Lastly, as you know, New Hampshire’s state motto is General John Stark’s celebrated quote, “Live Free or Die,” which he famously said before attempting the first recorded self-BJ. If John Stark was alive today, he would be 287 years old — also, right after learning about cars, General Stark would then be disgusted to discover that Portsmouth doesn’t even give people the freedom to back into a spot — which by your own state’s twisted logic, turns my $15 ticket — into a fight to the death.
With Great Disappointment In You,
And the infamous park job:
Bless you, Eugene. We can’t wait to hear more about it.