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Man Has Spent Life Backing Into Head-Out Parking Position



AVENTURA, Florida — Joe W. Smith thought he had a life in 1971. That was before he discovered his life's mission, to spend most of it backing into parking spots to put his vehicle into a head-out position so he ultimately can drive off by simply hitting the accelerator and surging forward into traffic.

We caught up to Joe backing into a parking space between Macy's and J.C. Penney in the Aventura Mall in sunny Florida. There was a small child lying motionless in front of his vehicle as he vigorously utilized the hand over hand technique to allow proper wheel alignment to maneuver expertly into the spot he wanted in the crowded mall lot.

"Who do I look like, Michael Jackson?" Joe hollered to the toddler's parents who hovered hysterically over their son in the throes of a post traumatic convulsion as a result of being run over by Smith. "I'm not big on little boys, you dig? Plus, I was in the middle of backing up, Mr. and Mrs. Genius."

As police and paramedics arrived on the scene, Smith took time out while being arrested to explain his mission in life: "existence dedicated to head-out parking."

"Doing essentially nothing all day," Smith recounted, "I have had endless time to note when I was pulling in to parking spots that, while it was easy pulling in to parking spaces, pulling out was this whole big thing with twisting your neck to see behind you and going real slow because you're going in reverse. It's this whole big project, seemingly consuming hours, just to leave a damn parking spot."

Smith prides himself as "a solution man," though for most of the past 34 years, he has been an unemployed solution man.

"Well, I needed to take the bull by the horns, or in my initial case the Pinto by the wheel and recently the Plymouth Valiant by the wheel," said Joe. So one day in 1971 Smith decided the that next time he went to the mall he would back in to an awesome head-out parking position before he even got out of the vehicle. And so he did, and he claims that he was "ogled by tons of mini-skirted women who watched me leave rubber as I blasted that Pinto outta there from my head-out launching position." .

Now 16 million head-out parks later, an arrest, and a possibly dead child in view, the question posed for Smith is as follows: "Has it all been worth it?" Putting the criminal situation aside for a minute, it was pointed out to Joe that the time he spent with head-out parking was probably the same as head-in parking because, either way you slice it, you have to go in reverse once, either getting into the spot or out of the spot.

"You know I never thought of that," Smith responded. "But it's that feeling of having that pull-out reward when you leave the parking spot, watching all those losers backing up in order to leave while you blast out of that space. I just know those other guys are morons!"

Van Gross, MD
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