LAST MONTH I wrote a column about one of my fondest desires - to have my very own parking place with my name on it - one that no one else could use.

I mentioned my difficulties parking at both the University of Utah and at the newspaper - never getting so much as a reserved spot.At the U., they have reserved numbers. I made fun of that, noting there is no personal satisfaction from parking in a spot with a serial number on it.

Well, Mark Burk, assistant parking services director at the U., read the column and decided to give me my own parking place - just for fun - you know, temporarily.

Randy Goddard, his assistant, asked me to drop in and talk about it. In his office on campus, he showed me an artist's rendering of the sign with my name on it, adding in huge lettering, "24-HOUR ENFORCEMENT."

We both had a good laugh over it.

Goddard said they would put up a sign with my name on it near the Behavioral Sciences Building, where I teach. It would be a satirical gesture to show they got a kick out of the column - and to grant me my heart's desire.

I said, "Would you consider giving it to me for four years?"

He said, "How about one month?"

They promised to let me know when it went up, and where I could find it.

They would fax me.

Two or three weeks went by, and I heard nothing - so I called Parking Services to ask - in a very nice way, you understand - where my coveted new parking place was located.

Burk said, "Oh, we put that up for a couple of days, but we had so many complaints we had to take it down."

I asked, "Complaints? Complaints from whom? Who would object to me having my very own parking place?"

It was almost inconceivable that any clear-thinking, naturally generous person would complain.

Burk said, "Faculty members who wanted to have a sign with THEIR names on it. THEY complained. In fact, several professors said they suspected the sign was a forgery."

I warmly thanked Mark for his sincere efforts on my behalf - and he said I could stop by and pick up the sign as a momento.

Cool idea.

Only thing is - when I got to his office, Burk was out. The only thing on his desk was the same artist's rendering Goddard had shown me before - a simple laminated piece of paper.

I said, "There must be some mistake. This isn't a real sign. Mr. Burk said there was an actual sign over here I could pick up. The real signs have a black background with white lettering - and the enforcement warning has a yellow background."

No mistake, I was told.

That was the sign that was actually placed on a post in the Behavioral Science Building parking lot for two days.

NO WAY! This piece of paper was tacked to a post? How embarrassing!

Suddenly, it hit me. No wonder other faculty members thought it was a forgery! That's exactly what it looked like! Faculty members who saw it probably thought I made it myself!

My theory is U. Parking Services was not doing me a favor at all - they were secretly getting even with me for writing about them in the paper.

So now I not only have no parking place of my very own - I don't even have a nice wooden sign as a momento of what might have been.

At least I could have put it next to my driveway. How could anyone complain about that?