Sunday Roast: Nature vs nurture

Parking inspectors - the most common carriers of the evil gene you’re likely to meet - are they made or born?

Parking inspectors are evil

DOES evil exist? It’s been a chin-scratcher since the original snake tempted the original sucker housewife with his floor-to-door sales pitch on apples.

The existence of Hitler, Pol Pot, Jeffrey Dahmer, OJ Simpson and Justin Bieber would suggest that it is an actual thing; people can be born with it, and it allows them to commit unspeakable acts without the restraining forces of a moral compass or pity.

Speak to any long-term police or jail warders and they’ll tell you the same thing – evil is real. Having recently spent a month investigating the murky world of the Dark Web, I’m increasingly inclined to agree. Humans are capable of doing unspeakable things, and then setting up websites to brag about them.

But the related argument is that, surely, not all of those Germans in World War II, or the Japanese for that matter, could have been evil. It’s a rare disease, not a population-wide malaise, which brings us to the world’s most pissweak excuse – ‘Just following orders’.

It’s been the go-to line for everyone from the Nazis to the News of the World, and it’s one you occasionally hear from perhaps the most common carriers of the evil gene you’re likely to meet; parking inspectors, who tend to adapt it slightly to a chipper, grinning: ‘Just doing my job!’

Some might defend these fluro-clad foot soldiers of the Office of State Revenue, but ask yourself this: if they weren’t evil, would they have taken the job in the first place? The sexy uniform? The sensible shoes? The chance to meet – and be hated by – new people every day?

Sure, they’re doing their jobs, and if they didn’t exist people would just leave their cars outside the pub all night and violent king hits would rain down upon us all. But as in any role, there’s doing your job, and being a right sucky little prick about it.

So obviously I’ve had a parking ticket recently, slapped on me by a man I’m pretty sure I’d seen before, during a vision of Hell I had when I was forced to attend a Keith Urban concert.

Unable to find a park outside my son’s school and with time running out before he would walk out and melt down like a little screaming nuclear powerplant, I dumped the car, ran, grabbed him and was back in the car by 3.02pm. Which meant I’d been illegally parked for 120 seconds. Either it was fortuitous that Mr Parking Enforcement wandered by at that moment, or he was lying in wait.

Once my children were locked in a mainly soundproof car, he and I had a lively and informative discussion about whether this was the case and I sensed not only evil pouring from his every pore, but pride, too. And sure enough, he does hide in the park across the road most days, and sure enough I will eventually find a way to secrete a scorpion in just the right spot to bite him on the arse.

But it’s not just about my fury; I get just mad watching them pull similar tricks on more innocent, less angry people. Or reading about their more colourful adventures, booking cars parked outside funeral homes, or just plain scamming people who haven’t even broken the law, as happened in WA recently where they were busted by video surveillance.

I hate them, you hate them and it probably should be legal to hit them with sticks, but the question remains, is their behaviour learned – do they train them, like our very own SS officers – or are they just born evil?


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Stephen Corby

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