Once upon a time, I worked as a traffic-light engineer in Chelmsford, England (someone had to do it). And this brought me into occasional contact with a traffic warden whose name I never discovered, but whom, for the purposes of this piece, I’ll call George.
Now straight away I want to emphasise that I personally never had a problem with George. Since I was using a second-line emergency vehicle, I could park almost anywhere. But I was fascinated by the man.
His appearance was bizarre. He had what could best be described as a cartoon head. It tapered downwards to his scrawny neck and to add to his misery, he had a cherry birthmark that covered virtually his entire face, giving him a look of permanent apoplexy.
Now, it’s a funny thing about jobs. Inevitably, they attract those most suited to them. And control freaks who need to have power over people, whilst hiding behind a uniform, generally become policemen. And those who fail the entry (having a head that resembles a carrot doesn’t help) become traffic wardens.
But THAT job also attracts another kind of person. Someone looking for REVENGE. And only ugly kids know how sadistic other kids can be. As adults, we learn to have consideration for the unfortunate. But at school, they do not enjoy that luxury. And with a face only a mother could love, we can only imagine what George’s formative years must have been like.
And even as an adult, life cannot have been easy. I mean, he looked SCARY. And his appearance was not helped one bit by his gloomy demeanour – he had no small talk whatsoever. So I never even discovered if he was married. If so, what must SHE have looked like?
Whatever, it’s not hard to see why the position of traffic warden appealed to George – it being a pointless job, where he could order people about and punish them for petty transgressions, in the knowledge that few of them would dare react, thanks to the UNIFORM. A tailor-made job.
I suspect George never even tried out for the cops – it would’ve been far less FUN. And thanks to P.C., those responsible for hiring traffic wardens wouldn’t have DARED reject him because of his scary appearance (they might even have counted it as a point in his favour).
So now George cruises the mean streets of Chelmsford, wreaking a terrible revenge for all those years of rejection and cruelty. And I for one cannot blame him. After all, nature dealt him a bad hand. So carry on, George. At least you didn’t become a serial killer…