With the first couple of snowfalls in Chicago I am reminded of a tradition called “Dibs”, which probably goes back to when Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was a pup.
Even back then, when you shoveled out a spot for your horse or your horse and carriage, you put out a piece of furniture to block another citizen from parking their horse in your spot. With the invention of the automobile the tradition continued, but the Dibs markers got shoddier. Today, there is every collection of chairs, old table, stolen road-work horses and old refrigerators calling dibs for the treasured spot, hard won and hard dug, out of the snow.
Dibs s a tradition that our current mayor and administration are trying to stamp out, but like patronage and the Chicago Hot Dog, Dibs will never be fully erased from the collective consciousness of the snow-shoveling, sore back, Chicagoan.
I do have a suggestion: make Dibs prettier; maybe even make it a tourist attraction around Christmas and the New Year –and that is to decorate. Yes, decorate your Dibs!
Buy a new Dibs chair or refurbish it, style it.
Maybe you get a 1950’s kitchen chair and place an Elvis figure in it.
Or maybe you go for something more contemporary and get a big old, used office chair, nice and plush, and put a Trump figure it it. If you can’t find an exact likeness just get one of the many Halloween masks that were sold and stick it on a straw-filled dummy. This will work for all those who in true blue Chicago who think Trump is stupid and scary. Adding the Presidential Seal is an option, but it does carry authority.
The Chicago Tourism and Convention Bureau can sponsor a Dibs Contest, and all the tourists who usually crowd Michigan Avenue and never go west of State Street will have a reason to go into the neighborhoods. They can then vote by Dibs App on the best set- up to keep your neighbor where they should be — in their own damned personal space.
When the winner is announced the award will be a Dibs Chair, so the tradition can spread across the United States to cities big and small – and even across the world, as the visitor from, say, Russia –which could be the Dibs capital of the world– proudly put their furniture in front of their homes, daring anybody to move it. Double-dog daring.