I’ve been thinking about recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. I’ve been trying to control my brain and avoid leaping to conclusions.
I preface the following thoughts with this disclaimer: I’m a big fan of law enforcement. They have a tough job. They have my empathy. They have an extremely necessary function in a society that is populated with far too many assholes. We need them.
I’ve never been a cop but I know a few. I have never walked a mile in their shoes. To those who say that means I’m not entitled to my opinion or that I’m somehow unable to form cogent (but possibly erroneous) conclusions from a different vantage point, I only say this: It is possible to form conclusions without having been there first. If that wasn’t true, humans would have never been able to leave Earth and visit outer space.
Therefore, opinions and conclusions about police by non-police shouldn’t automatically be rejected out of hand on that basis alone. That would be a logical fallacy. If you want to reject ideas, find a better rebuttal than that.
“It is a failure of civilization when an armed person kills an unarmed person.”
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We consider ourselves fairly typical Americans. It was a few nights before the Fourth of July, decidedly my least favorite night of the year. We were in our living room, sitting on our asses and watching TV. Like I said, typical.
Suddenly there was a boom. I looked out the front window and billowing smoke rose from our front yard garden. It had begun.
“Those fireworks are close,” I said. “Damn close.” The shit was literally raining down right on top of us.
On July 4th itself I went outside to see what the hell was going on. I saw one of those colorful bursts like you’d see in any major fireworks display except it was directly over my house. It went off about 20-30 feet over our roof. Two things were immediately obvious: Why don’t they do this shit above their own houses? They’re too good for that! And, wow, they are really good shots. We were being targeted.
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Sometimes a negative thought can be eclipsed by an even more negative one. I call this phenomenon “normal reality.” It turns out that negative thoughts are stackable, much like little plastic block toys. Your mileage may vary.
My wife and I are new to the big city. Apparently we have a certain look that tells the outside world, “Listen up! Target these motherfuckers. They are easy prey. They are soft marks. Easy fish to fry. Hit them up with your broken car stories, requests for loose change, and sponsoring sadly unfortunately children around the world for only $7 a week.”
Too bad my math skills alerted me to the fact that “only” $7 a week is the same as $364 a year. Sorry, I don’t have time at the moment to hand over my wallet (and then some) to a perfect stranger no matter how friendly and yet pushy they are.
So we have a look that allows the vultures, leeches and do-gooders zoom in on us like a drone strike on an American citizen peacefully protesting a big bank. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do about that. Maybe fedoras would function as riffraff repellent and/or pass us off as locals?
Having that look is mostly a pain in the ass but the other day it may have saved us $175. As always, my negativity played a part.
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The road is a lover
You never recover
Not now or any time soon
My head starts to spin
When I think where I’ve been
Playin’ twin to an old fiddle tune, oh
As the wind chases after the moon
—The Road is a Lover, Alison Krauss and Union Station
“Okay, look. This can go the easy way or this can go the hard way. You’re standing over a kid who has just been shot and killed. You’re holding a gun. Our keen powers of observation tell us the kid was armed only with Skittles and a bottle of iced tea. Tell us what happened or this will go very badly for you. We may have to take you downtown.”
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I’ve noticed that some of the women I’ve known in my life had certain … similarities.
I can think of a few examples.
One is the penchant of using 42 squares of toilet paper per wipe. I’m like, “Come on. If a little bit gets on you it won’t kill you. It washes off.” But they always insist it will. It is deadly and must be avoided at all costs.
Another is the desire to turn on the ceiling fan. They like that thing on. A lot. Like 24/7 a lot. Like in, “If the fan ever stops the space-time continuum will be destroyed.” Me? Meh. I can take it or leave it.
They also like doors and windows open. Even when this means our screens will be horribly mauled and disfigured by the feline members of our households. To a cat, you see, an unprotected and exposed screen is the holy grail of things to scratch. It taunts them, saying, no matter what: “You want to be on the other side of me.” If cats ever held an Olympics, screen climbing would no doubt be a headline event.
There is another commonality, though. One that dwarfs the previous examples. One that you’d never possibly imagine.
It’s water. Or, to be more precise, how we react to it.
I’ll explain how it works.
The other night I came home from work and our kitchen had been torn apart. It turned out there was a leak under the sink. My wife had pulled everything out from under the sink and had towels everywhere stopping up the flow of water. She’s clever that way. Those things would have never occurred to me.
“The sink leaks when you turn on the water,” she said.
I replied with the very first thought that crossed my brain. “Don’t turn it on, then.” Actually, it is nothing short of amazing that I’m alive and my arms still work enough to write this post. I’m surprised she let me live.
Naturally I did what any man would do. (Even though I’m not one.) I grabbed a flashlight and crawled under that sink on my back. “Yep. It’s leaking alright.” It’s really not very nice to kick someone in that position.
I figured out which line-thingy was the source and my wife figured out how to fix it. Another win-win in the Taker household. I was struck, however, by the urgency of the problem. It was water. It had to be dealt with now. Me? I probably would have napped first.
The commonality? For that, I’ll tell a little story…
It must have been about 15 years ago. It was another place (the big city) and another woman. (This was years before I met my wife.) In fact, I’m pretty sure it was the day before Thanksgiving. I was chillin’ on the sofa watching a police chase.
It was one of those cases where some lunatic was racing around in a car while being chased by multiple police cars and we were watching the whole thing on TV with coverage by helicopter and running commentary.
I had already invested a couple hours of my life watching this riveting form of entertainment. Even though the car was showing no signs of slowing down, the situation was building to a climax. You could feel it. Ever minute he zipped around he was burning up his gas. The size of his gas tank was his enemy.
Suddenly there was a shriek in my house. It came from the garage. I leaped to my feet and sprinted over. I found my main squeeze looking out in the garage, where a sizable puddle of water had formed. “Looks like we’ve got some kind of leak,” I said wisely.
And then it happened. The moment of utter doom. I went back to the sofa and continued watching the police chase.
She was incredulous. She foamed at the mouth a little. She stood in front of me and glared. “This needs to be dealt with. NOW!” Damn, she sounded ominous.
“This thing,” I said, indicating the police chase on TV. “It’s gotta be over any minute now.” I figured everything was already wet. A few more minutes of wetness wouldn’t bring about the end of the world, I reasoned.
Suffice it to say it was game over for me. I found myself in the garage working in the water. Eventually I decided to turn off the water using the knob-thingy that controlled the water to our house.
While farting around and pretending to know what a man would do in a situation like that, I missed the satisfying conclusion to the police chase. I only found out later that the car had run out of gas and had stopped on the highway. A man then got out, pointed something at the cops and was blown to bits. And I missed it.
Oh. The water thing? That turned out to be a tiny little dent in a pipe that had been installed under the concrete slab like 20 years earlier. It had finally created a hole in the pipe under a bedroom and flooded the garage from below. Clever.
So yeah. I guess my point here is that women I have known always seem to have an issue with water being dealt with now. They don’t seem to be such big fans of later.
Here’s a bit of news in honor of 7/11 day…
Two teenage girls exited the local 7/11. They were accosted by a 45-year-old transient who shoved one of them and made off with a disclosed amount of cash. (The loot was a five dollar bill.) The transient went into the 7/11 convenience store and purchased an undisclosed amount of beer.
The robber then exited the 7/11 and threw the change from his transaction at the teenage girls.
One of the girls then confronted the master criminal who then slapped her in the face and departed the scene on foot.
Police caught the suspect a few blocks away and took him into custody on charges of theft, robbery, assault and harassment. He was lodged in the county jail. It turned out the suspect was already on parole for a prior charge of robbery.
I’m personally offering to buy the arresting officers in this case a 128 US fl oz (3.8 l) Team Gulp in the soft drink flavor of their choice.
Remember, if your town doesn’t have a 7/11 store, then your town isn’t stylish yet.