An Award-Winning Disclaimer

A charming little Magpie whispered this disclaimer into my ear, and I'm happy to regurgitate it into your sweet little mouth:

"Disclaimer: This blog is not responsible for those of you who start to laugh and piss your pants a little. Although this blogger understands the role he has played (in that, if you had not been laughing you may not have pissed yourself), he assumes no liability for damages caused and will not pay your dry cleaning bill.

These views represent the thoughts and opinions of a blogger clearly superior to yourself in every way. If you're in any way offended by any of the content on this blog, it is clearly not the blog for you. Kindly exit the page by clicking on the small 'x' you see at the top right of the screen, and go fuck yourself."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Saturday Night Demons

My wife and I have a dirty little secret.

No, no-- don't get too excited. It doesn't involve water-based lubricants, unmarked DVDs, or mysteriously-stained tea-towels wedged in between our bed and the wall.

We watch COPS.

We don't do it every Saturday night, though. I mean, we're pretty cultured folks. We go to the opera and the theatre and folk music concerts-- sometimes we go out for dinner or take walks, but, when we happen to be at home on a Saturday night, say, after a fucking exhausting day of assembling eight foot tall bookshelves and schlepping forty-some-odd boxes of books downstairs to then fill the fucking bookshelves which have been sitting in a state of disassemblage for the past six months, well, sometimes you just want to flop down on the couch with some mango lemonade and watch some motherfuckers get tased.

Just like my wife didn't come into our relationship knowing anything about Herbie the Love Bug or Gilbert & Sullivan, she wasn't a COPS watcher before she met me. That's okay, I didn't know anything about baking or before I met her either, and look at what a happy convert I've become.

I can't say why particularly my wife enjoys watching COPS. I know she gets excited and scared, she gets very adrenalized when there are high speed pursuits and dangerous take-downs of people who are obviously on hopped up on drugs. There is always a little bit of weirdness in the atmosphere when we watch COPS because, in 2003, I went to the police academy with every intention of becoming a police officer. I trained hard to get in shape for the rigorous physical tests, I ran at a local track every morning and I even visited with a physical trainer who gave me advice on how to "cheat" the bench press that I would eventually fail, resulting in my voluntarily leaving the academy.

Prior to that, though, I took written examinations for several police departments, and scored in the 99th percentile for one of the departments. I also, fearing the ridicule I knew I would face at the academy when the question "Has anybody in here never handled or fired a gun?" was asked and my gangly, scrawny arm would have to reach for the ceiling, took a private class where I learned all about gun safety. I got to disassemble and reassemble a 9mm Glock. I even took a fill-in-the-blank test on gun safety and the names of all the different pieces of the gun.

"True or False: Showering with your gun is a good way to keep it clean."

Just kidding, but it was kind of like that.

I always have very mixed emotions when I sit down to watch COPS. It's a bit like confronting my demons from the past. At 29, I know it is something I will never be. I made my decision, and that was that. I was close, but never that close. I went to an interview with a local sheriff's office wearing a gray three-piece suit, for Christ's sake. The sheriff, a female, didn't know exactly what to make of me. It didn't matter, they wouldn't hire anybody who hadn't been through the academy. What did I know? Some departments hire you first and then send you to the academy, some want you ready to hit the streets. None of them, I think, want you in a three-piece suit.

But I often think of what might have been. Like any job, of course, there would have been good days and bad days. One of the officers on COPS tonight, during the trite, 20 second soundbytes they run of them pontificating for the benefit of the cameraman and sound guy stuffed into the back of the patrol car said, "We use a team approach on our shift. It's the same guys all the time, and each of us has their own particular strengths." I wonder what they would have said about me. What would my particular strength be? Expecting and preparing for the worst? Maybe. More likely it would have been talking to people.

It's funny, because I really hate to talk to people. But, when I do it, when I have to solve a problem or resolve a conflict, I can cut through bullshit and be very direct, while still maintaining compassion and preserving someone else's dignity, even if I think they're full of shit. A suspect in a domestic dispute tonight on the show freaked out at his girlfriend because his one-year-old kid's shirt had a crease on it.

"I was in the navy, you know, so appearance, you know, how you look is really important to me," said the d-bag, who, by the way, had a lip-piercing.

The cop who dealt with him was huge, with a neck the size of an oak tree, and he spoke in a very short, clipped way, a gruff way, a mechanical, bored way. I was disappointed. I wanted to yell, "Put me in, Sarge! I want to talk to this guy."

Really. I wanted to really talk to him. I wanted to talk to him about his girlfriend, about his son, about life. About what really matters in life. I wanted to ask him what he does when his one-year-old son throws up on himself, or shits himself-- what does he do-- have sixteen new outfits for the kid to wear each day? Does he have a fucking fit every time Junior drools on himself? Life's too short, friend.

So much of law enforcement is about talking, and I think people forget that. All they see is takedowns and writing tickets, but it's mostly about talking. And that's what I wanted to do-- put on a uniform, get out there in a big, comfy car and talk to people. I wanted to do the thing I hate doing most, because I might not like it, but I am good at it.

But I have this blog instead.

Thanks for listening.


  1. a great find for panda fanatic!
    my roommate and i LOVE this bag

  2. I don't understand the comment above me.

    This was great. I worry that the system is created in such a way that doesn't embrace what really matters. Like say for instance a guy that may not pass the physical test but can help people in ways big beefy rednecks can't.

    Had you ever thought about going into counseling or something? You'd probably be good at that too.

    I'm slowly making my way through all the posts I missed while on vacation. So you might be getting a lot of random comments from me.

    Missed reading, though.


Got something to say? Rock on with your badass apron!