JACKIE MASON SAYS: No parking on the Sabbath

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The Independent Online
Right now on Broadway, every show you see just happens to have started in England. New Yorkers are nauseous from jealousy, but fortunately it gives New Yorkers the perfect excuse to indulge their favourite pastime: telling you which show stinks. A New Yorker can't enjoy a show unless it stunk. When two of them meet, one will say to the other: "You know who stunk last night? I saw such a show ... oy did this stink!"

And the other one will say: "That's nothing, I went to see Les Miz, it stunk so much I walked out."

"You walked out? I didn't even go in! Boy, did it stink!" Native New Yorkers have seen every show, and they all stank. It's completely the opposite with tourists and out-of-towners. They never saw a show before, so whatever they see, it's better than nothing. And they're the only people you'll see in a queue. I don't know why, but they love a queue. And even if they don't get to see the show, they were near the theatre. All day long they're queuing, and all they see is New Yorkers coming and going, getting into their cars and out of their cars, and they're happy.

Which raises another issue. Today in Manhattan you will never see a car stop for anything. The parking restrictions are now so complex, so convoluted, that no one dares to stop in case they violate some regulation. Even husbands dropping their 92-year-old parents-in-law at the synagogue on Saturday morning will only slow down, and make them jump on to the kerb, so they shouldn't get a ticket. That's why when a husband and wife look at a parking sign in mid-Manhattan - signs so confusing even Bill Gates would have trouble deciphering them - the couple are more likely to get a divorce now than if the wife were to walk in on him naked in bed with his manicurist.

The signs never say the same thing from one line to the other. The signs read as if they were written by anti-Semites just to confuse Jewish people. Here is an actual sign I made a note of yesterday on 5th Avenue and 57th St:

No Parking Anytime

No Standing


Mon Wed Fri

Hour Parking 6pm-12am


Sat and Sun

25 per 15 min

Quarters and Nycta Tokens

Tow Away Zone

A husband and wife get out of the car and look at the sign - for the next hour-and-a-half. It is for them one of the greatest riddles of all time. As a matter of fact, if New Yorkers had any intelligence, they would take the bus instead. People say they don't want to take a bus because it makes too many stops. But all the stops put together don't take one tenth as long as the stop you make in front of the parking sign to figure out if it's legal to park there. And this can take hours until finally when the wife says she wants to park there, and the husband is saying it's not legal, they see another sign, my favourite, and it reads: No Parking Between Signs.

Now a fight breaks out between the husband and wife and they are still attacking each other when they see a guy walking towards them. They say: "Mister, can you figure out this sign? It says Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays. Which is it?"

The guy says: "You can't park."

The wife says: "What do you mean `you can't park'?"

He says: "Can't you see it says `no parking anytime'?"

"But it says you're allowed to park Mondays."

The guy says: "This is Tuesday."

The husband says: "So what if it's Tuesday? It says `tow away zone'. Tow away zone means you can't park at any time."

The guy says: "But this is not the tow away zone, the tow away zone is someplace else."

I could go on, but I must go to my car. I'm double parked and this could mean 12 years without parole.