Friday, September 19, 2014

Buying A Voltage Tester

Mrs. Cynical and I moved into a new old house. We (I) hated the old new house we built in the old new neighborhood, what with the everybody's jacked-up pickup trucks, screaming 3-year-olds, and endless cop questions, so we moved into a new old house in a new old neighborhood full of new old neighbors that keep quiet and mind their own businesses. We (I) love it, which says something about me that I don't want to think about.

As part of renovating the new old house, I decided to upgrade some of the light fixtures, switches, outlets, and the like. The breaker panel was very poorly marked, and I had no clue which breaker went to which light/switch/outlet/whatever. So, I embarked upon a plan to turn off each breaker one-by-one, and then test the lights/switches/outlets/whatevers to see what was affected. The outlets I tested by plugging a desk lamp into them, then seeing if the lamp went out when the breaker was turned off. Foolproof, right? When I was done, I typed up a nice sheet with the breaker numbers and their corresponding lights/switches/outlets/whatevers, and taped it to the door of the breaker panel. A profound feeling of accomplishment washed over me.

Until yesterday, when I was swapping out a crappy old kitchen outlet with a nice new one. I carefully turned off the presumably appropriate breaker, removed the wires from the old outlet, and was in the process of attaching them to the nice new one when suddenly I felt the Earth shift on its axis. There was a bright flash, a buzz and crackle, and the screwdriver in my left hand flew across the room. The sensation in my arm was not unlike having all the bones up to my shoulder pulled out through my fingertips. My brain stem changed channels, and I briefly saw Grover Cleveland looking in through the kitchen window. The sound that emanated from my lips was something between the hysterical sob of a 9-year-old girl and a yodeling asthmatic soprano. Mrs. Cynical observed this event from across the room and momentarily went ghostly pale. Then, I believe, she remembered how much I was worth in FOP life insurance versus what I'm worth as a working patrol cop, and a faint smile crossed her face.

Today I went out and bought a voltage tester. As soon as I'm over my fear of anything that isn't powered by fossil fuels, I intend to use it. Or maybe have Mrs. Cynical give it a try.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?

I pull over a well-dressed, middle-aged woman driving a very expensive sports car for doing 15 mph over the speed limit in an active school zone.

Officer Cynical: "Didn't you see the school zone amber light flashing back there, ma'am?"

Mrs. Malison: "Just give me the motherfucking ticket."

Officer Cynical: "You got it."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Trouble, with a capital "T"

For non-law enforcement readers: a FATS (Firearms Training Simulator) machine is a training aid that projects videos of true-to-life police scenarios. The student's pepper spray, Taser, and firearm interact by computer with the projected scenarios, and are recorded for evaluation by the instructor. It's pretty realistic training. Our set-up allows 2 officers at a time to participate.

While doing a day of FATS scenario training at the PD, I'm teamed up with another officer I don't normally work with. We are simulating the search of a large warehouse in which there may be a burglary in progress. Keep in mind, this is an activity we would always undertake with our sidearms drawn.

We discover that the intruder is actually a passed-out drunk, sleeping on a stack of pallets. When awoken from his stupor, the drunk gets angry, starts yelling at us, then charges us with his fists up. My partner, rather than simply going hands-on with the guy or using his pepper spray or Taser, draws his firearm and shoots the guy.

His justification? "I had the wrong weapon out, but he came at me." I'm really glad that, on a day-to-day basis, we work not only different beats, but different shifts, as well.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Don't Tug on Superman's Cape

One night I had a DUI stopped in the parking lot of a convenience store. This was one of those occasional stops where the person pretends they don't see that big squad car behind them with the all the bright, whirling lights going. I think they must be thinking that if they ignore me, I'll go away.

This guy exits his car and makes a beeline for the store like I'm not there. Once I catch up to him and determine that he's totally plastered, I try to get him into the back seat of my car. He doesn't want to go, and we wind up in something of a stalemate: I have him pinned to the side of my squad car, but every time I try to stuff him in the back he tries to fight me.

I manage to radio for back-up, and shortly thereafter one of our guys shows up. Now, Chris is rather on the large side. Way on the large side, in fact. NFL lineman plus 30 pounds on the large side. He comes lumbering across the parking lot with a smile on his face, and asks, "Whattsa matter, man, you can't get 'im in your car?" I reply in the negative.

Now, understand I have all I can handle at this point. I'm straining to keep this guy shoved up against the side of my car. And although I'm an average-sized guy and in pretty good shape, there's no way I can get him in the back by myself. Chris snatches this guy up by the collar, rips him off the side of my car - almost dumping me on my ass in the process - then picks the guy up and throws him into my back seat like a sack of dirty laundry. Chris dusts of his hands and walks off toward his squad. He says over his shoulder, "There ya' go, bud", and drives off.

I wanna be like Chris when I grow up.

Monday, September 15, 2014


I've been working the same beat for several years. And at least once a week, I get dispatched to deal with Earl. To say Earl is a down-and-out alcoholic is like saying the sun's core is warm. Every time I go there, he's laying in the apartment hallway in his underwear, essentially unresponsive. He's always completely immune to the sternum rub, which means he has to go to the ER via ambulance. The paramedics know Earl by name, they've been there so often.

Anyway, one day last week we were short-handed, so I got reassigned for the day to a beat clear on the other side of the city from where I usually work. Part way through the day I get dispatched to a welfare check on someone. I walk into the apartment, and guess who's laying there passed out? Earl has been evicted from his apartment on my beat (YAY!) and is now living here. So, of course, the one day I work a different beat I have to deal with him. Earl, I hope you enjoy your new digs. And I hope the regular beat officer enjoys his new regular customer as much as I have.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Dirty Half-Dozen

Several of us get sent to deal with a complainant calling from an industrial area. He tells us that some people beat him up, but he appears to have actually done a drunken face-plant. He says he "blacked out" from the booze, but does remember that it happened on the adjacent railroad tracks, so we go over there. He goes to the ER by ambulance, and later walks away without treatment or a police interview.

On the tracks, we deal with these sterling citizens:

A male who tries to flee on foot, and accidentally runs right to me. He has multiple felony warrants and goes to jail.

A female so drunk she can barely stand. She keeps saying she's related to somebody important. Goes to the ER by ambulance, then to detox.

Another female so drunk she can barely stand. She keeps showing me a small nick on her hand and repeats endlessly, "I'm diabetis. I'm diabetis. I'm diabetis." I manage to refrain from shoving her in front of an oncoming train. Goes to ER by ambulance, then to detox.

A male so drunk neither cops nor ambulance crew can rouse him. He's carried to an ambulance and taken to the ER. Still there the next day.

A male who's drunk, but able to walk and talk. Allowed to leave. Good, as we've temporarily exhausted all available squad cars and ambulances on this herd.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Marriage In Jeopardy

So, Mrs. Cynical gives me this long look like, "How in the hell could an idiot like you possibly know that?" when Alex Trebek said, "The people to whom Delilah delivered Samson, and who found Samson's strength was derived from his long hair", and I shouted (correctly), "Who were the Philistines?"

 Hey - 12 years in Catholic school - I know who Samson and the Philistines were. And I coulda told ya' that he killed a thousand of 'em with the jawbone of ass, too, so shut up!