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Classic review: Tepper Isn't Going Out

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Sent to see what's the matter, his daughter pulls alongside and asks, "What if I asked a fairly direct question: What, exactly, are you doing here?"

"I was reading the Post," Tepper replies. "I've got a dollar and a half invested in this spot. So there's good reason to be here at least until I get my money's worth."

When others pull up alongside to ask, "Are you going out?" Tepper dismisses them with an assortment of carefully studied waves and flicks, but never anything obscene. His "hobby" is an outrage to city drivers desperate for a spot, but the swearing, the honking, and the angry glares don't trouble him.

This strange behavior does trouble his friends and family, however, who worry that it may indicate some ominous development. Is he having a mid-life crisis, is he having an affair, is he proving something to himself, is he "trying to exert some meaningful control over his environment"?

"What should I tell Mom?" his daughter pleads.

"Tell her that I'm on Forty-third Street," Tepper says.

A clerk at a nearby delicatessen knows just how he feels - or thinks he does. He joins Tepper during a break to chat. Then a small item about the eccentric parker appears in a weekly alternative paper. Soon, he's attracting a group of people who line up to spend a few minutes in the front seat of his Chevy Malibu. Though Tepper offers nothing beyond cordial patter and a few noncommittal pleasantries, they hear great wisdom and leave comforted, enlightened.

As the word spreads, more stories follow - newspaper features, television interviews, profiles in a magazine for parkers called Beautiful Spot. Tepper, the ultimate anticelebrity, remains entirely unimpressed, but that restraint only increases his appeal.

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