Don't do Dibs before it gets deep

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The lack of measurable snowfall is but another sign of the apocalypse, yet snow it will and soon, and when it does, there is one thing you must understand.

There are no Dibs in Chicago unless Judge Dibs™ declares Dibs.

And I am Judge Dibs™, keeper of the Dibstitution™, the sacred text that guides us in the quaint Chicago street parking tradition loved the world over by free people.

But the snow that's forecast for Thursday isn't likely to be deep enough. So beware, lest you incur my wrath and that of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who will soon receive me as an emissary, delivering a gorgeous portrait of "The Rahmfather."

City Hall knows that only when I call Dibs may you then mark your shoveled-out parking spots with milk crates, two-by-fours and other junk, maybe even four 50-pound sacks of monosodium glutamate. But not yet, my friends. Not yet.

Only if the snow requires much shoveling may you haul out your broken strollers, spoiled lava lamps, smashed speakers and mom's kitchen chairs. Violate the Dibstitution™ and you may contemplate your sins on the Tree of Woe.

"Yes, Judge Dibs™," said a man, rather meekly.

And you are?

"I'm Mike Brown, and you've subpoenaed me. Please be merciful, Judge Dibs."

Hmm. We shall see.

"I really like the whole Dibs thing," he said.

Brown, 41, a North Side real estate investor, isn't your average Dibs fan. He's thrilled by the rough justice that allows Chicagoans to shovel out a parking spot, then claim the fruit of their labor.

Brown and his friend Sandy DeLisle have also written a thoroughly entertaining book called "Dibs Chicago: The Winter Phenomenon of Parking Spot Saving."

And I'm not getting a dime.

He's charging $15 a copy — a steal at any price — and you can get it online or at the State Restaurant in Lincoln Park. Brown spent five years driving across the city, photographing weird Dibs junk, like the smirking penguin, a crazed Winnie the Pooh in a garbage can and the Streets & San Dibs House, with official city cones.

Brown also found truly strange Dibs markers: four 50-pound sacks of MSG.

"I found them in Belmont-Cragin," Brown said. "That's 200 pounds of Dibs, enough to last all of China for a month. You wouldn't want to mess with that person's space."

Never. Such a Dibser could crush your head like a pea.

Then I fell silent.

"Is something wrong, Judge Dibs™?"

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