Algona, Ia.—As the world tried to make sense of the dizzying number of pardons outgoing President Donald Trump issued Tuesday, one Iowan’s head shook in disbelief.
Don O’Neil of Algona had written to the president months ago lobbying for a full and complete pardon for a parking ticket O’Neil received in 1997. O’Neil, owner of the handyman service Donnie Duz It, remembers the day vividly.
“It was a Saturday in the summer. I’d just eaten at that Korean place that was in town for a while. Somebody told me they had good barbeque but it didn’t taste like no barbeque I ever had. Anyway, I needed to get across town to deliver some bricks for a patio I was putting in for Mamie Taylor, God rest her soul,” O’Neil said. “You know where she lived, don’tcha? Clear over the other side of town. Well I got this…medical deal. Sometimes when I eat something I shouldn’t I get a bad case of the…”
O’Neil described to this reporter, in rather vulgar terms, what likely would be called irritable-bowl syndrome, though the reporter in question is not a medical doctor and MMW News Service is not authorized to make diagnoses. We do, though, accept Medicaid.
“So I gotta find a place, you know, for the thing and I don’t have time to go home or make it Mamie’s, so I park at the church across from the library. I pulled into one of them slots with the crooked lines, and I figured it ain’t Sunday, should be OK. I come back a half-hour later, and I got a ticket,” O’Neil said. “Turns out them Catholics were havin’ a mass. On a Saturday! I thought only Jews did that.”
O’Neil has been protesting the $3 ticket ever since. He received a letter a month later from Algona City Hall, saying the fine would increase to $4 if he didn’t pay immediately. The next year, the letter said the fine was now $6.
“God knows what it is now,” O’Neil said. “But I ain’t paying it. Like Thomas Jefferson said, ‘Don’t ever give in to something you know you didn’t do.’”
“Actually, we cancelled that ticket a long time ago,” Algona City Manager Carla Ruiz said. “Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I’ll see him in his truck and give him the Evil Eye, but we’re just messing with him.”
Unaware, O’Neil appealed his case to the president, whom he said he voted for twice.
“I’ve voted Republican my whole life, except for that one time that I thought the election was on a Wednesday; I swear the dadgum paper said so!” O’Neil said.
But Tuesday yielded only disappointment for O’Neil and others who’d hoped Trump would smile upon their plight in his final days.
Trump released a statement of other people he considered giving a pardon to but declined:
· Hillary Clinton (“I was going to, but I forgot we didn’t actually lock her up,” Trump said)
· Bernie Madoff (“Still mad he wouldn’t let me wet my beak on that deal.”)
· The guy with the Viking helmet from the Capitol siege (“My people don’t dress so shabby.”)
· Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (“I like people who don’t get captured.”)
· Phil Spector (“I was going to but I guess I’m a little late.”)