The war against back-in parking

FLINT – I seldom take on “causes” here at the old Word Ranch, but I am making an exception today with this direct appeal to you, the people who are, I’m sorry, quite simply ruining this country with your destructive, immoral and disgraceful behavior.

I’m of course referring to back-in parking.

If you do this, please stop. It’s making me hate you and I don’t want to hate you because I need to reserve all of my hatred for the incessant prescription drug commercials that are not only ruining the TV-watching experience but also making me wonder if I have a 101 diseases I’d never heard about before. (C’mon, tell me you DON’T want to reach through the screen and throttle that woman in the flesh-toned body suit pretending to be a spastic colon.)

Where did this sudden passion for backing in come from? For 100 years, people were content to pull in front bumper first, as God intended. (You can tell God wanted it that way because he put your eyes on the front of your head. Duh.)

But now I’d say about half the population backs in, usually directly in front of me. The worst cases go like this: I’ll be creeping along behind someone in a crowded lot when he (it’s almost always a guy) rolls past an open spot and I think, “Hey, great! It’s my lucky day.”

I’m almost to it, ready to turn in, when all of a sudden dipstick there slams on his brakes and starts backing toward the spot he just passed. This forces me to make a choice: Do I zip in and take the spot like a major jerk or do I back up so dipstick can have it, forcing every other car behind me to back up as well, creating, potentially, a five-car pileup in a Meijer parking lot?

I always choose the latter because I’m an incredibly nice guy but I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t take a stand for all that is good and decent by taking the spot and declaring, “I hereby claim this here spot on behalf of normal parkers everywhere!”

Look, I wouldn’t mind back-in parking nearly so much if any of you could do it correctly. But you can’t because you are not me, the world’s only good driver. It’s OK. I don’t blame you for this. There can only be one me. But you could at least try. You could at least take the time to center yourself in the parking spot so I don’t have to crawl out my window if I’m parked next to you. Is that too much to ask?

And when you leave, you could also not fire out of the spot like you’re piloting a Mars rocket. Yes, we get it, you do it because you can and it’s fun and makes you feel like Batman, but that doesn’t make it right.

Here’s a thought: If you’re one of those who back-in because you think it’s safer to pull out front first, then just find yourself a nice pull-through spot. Problem solved.

That way I can get back to focusing all of my hatred on the couple in the Cialis commercial that thinks hanging curtains is irresistibly sexy.

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Andrew Heller, an award-winning newspaper columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Follow him at and on Facebook and Twitter. Write to him vis email at