My first experience with a cop in the United States was in high school. Just like most of you out there, I had grown up hearing, “Ahg, don’t they have something better to do than to give me a ticket for going 5 miles over the speed limit?” My mom claimed tears as the number one defense mechanism required to escape tickets as a woman. This from someone who claimed to be a feminist. “Or lie, tell them you’re on your way to a funeral.” All sound advice for a child. Remember, this was before Cops became a huge hit on television, and spawned numerous other hits like “Cops in Snow, Cops in Heat, When Good Cops Attack.” Cops was our first reality show. I remember actually seeing someone I knew on Cops, once. The most surprising part of it was that he was not a criminal, he was a cop!
So there I was, in rural New Jersey, with a boy, in a car. Totally innocent situation, right? It was probably about one a.m. We actually were just sitting there talking. Of course, that was not the case ten minutes before. But, the cop didn’t know that. There was a “rat-a-tat-tat” on my window. After realizing that Jason was not out there with a chainsaw, waiting to hack me to bits, I rolled down the window.
“Well, what do we have here?” said the female cop.
If I hadn’t been so drunk I probably would have been terribly nervous.
“We’re just talking.” I said, profoundly.
“Well, I need to see some ID. And a driver’s license, sir.”
He actually had a driver’s license. All I had was my ID card that I used in Saudi Arabia, to get me in and out of the gym and pool area. I handed it over.
“Well, little lady. Saudi Arabia? Huh. You expect me to believe that you are from Saudi Arabia?”
“I am. I am here for boarding school.”
Hmmm. The wheels were turning. My arrogant self could hear them. We did have a rather annoying school full of kids from all over the world, so she believed me. Instead of recalling my training from ten years prior, I failed to tear up and reverted to my natural defense mechanism…
“Okay darling, well, I think we should give your parents a call and see how they feel about you being parked in a car, during the middle of the night, with Bob here (yep. Changing his name… because I can do that!).”
“Fine. I’m sure they couldn’t care less. Here’s their number (I pompously included the country code). You’ll have to call them in about eight hours though, because it’s tomorrow there. They are already at work.” (and, yea, there weren’t cell phones back then – imagine a time without cell phones or the show Cops. Weird.)
Can’t you just see the total lack of respect? My shoulders were moving like I was a Jerry Springer guest; I was feeling PRETTY impressive. My truth was even more confusing than a lie! I loved it!
“Um. Okay. Maybe I will call them. Anyway, it looks like nothing is going on here. Get her home, Bob.”
See, I fared rather well. But why did I feel so agitated and defensive? I’m sure that female cop was just looking out for me, making sure I wasn’t being raped in the woods, or kidnapped by some pedophile. I mean, it was New Jersey. Strange shit went down in those thar’ woods. Not quite Deliverance shit, but still some kinda shit. I mean, Friday the 13th was filmed there for a reason.
Why do we teach our kids to disrespect the police? Start listening to yourself. You’ll say stuff like, “Damn cop. Why on earth would they pull me over when there are banks being robbed?” and then five minutes later you’ll say to your kid, “See the police man (or WOman)? If you are ever in trouble, call them. If Mommy falls down and doesn’t get up, you want them to come. If someone almost runs you over on the way home from school, call the police. If you are lost and scared, find the police.”
Do you see the hypocrisy? We tell them WE are above the rules of other people. That WE can speed through a school zone because WE are a parent with a child at that school and WE don’t want to be late. Of course, WE would never run down a child crossing the road there, because WE are perfect. How are our children supposed to understand that cops are there to help? Or to realize their intention is to keep kids safe from some creep in the woods. (sorry Bob, you weren’t actually a creep. creepy scenario. maybe you were a creep. eeeeek!!!)
No. All cops are not good. You’ll see stuff on the news EVERY single night about how crooked they are. But, just like teachers (see how easily the name Mary Kay Laterno comes to mind?), do you ever hear about how amazing they are? Do you ever think that every single day, while that one cop is screwing off and giving them a bad rep, there are hundreds and thousands, extracting children from burning cars, breaking up violent domestic spats, being shot at for simply doing their jobs, and saving kids – kids like yours. When my neighbor’s baby stopped breathing, she came straight to my husband. He held that little guy, checked for breathing, did CPR, all while I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off – corralling my daughter and my dogs while calling, wait for it… 911. My husband just kept working. He didn’t even look flustered. They are trained for this. They don’t judge the situation first, they save lives first. Unfortunately, this baby had not been breathing for too long. My husband kept working until the “on duty” first responders came. A woman scooped the baby out of my husband’s strong arms and into the ambulance. The mother spun in circles, wondering why they weren’t in more of hurry. You know why our neighbor brought her baby here? Because she knew that my husband is a hero.
He saves lives. At least he tries. Which is more than most people do.
He also gives people tickets when they speed through a school zone.
He was in “cop-mode.” I was in “loony-chicken-protective-mother-keep-dogs-out-from-under-foot-mode,” which was quickly followed by “smudge-my-house-like-a-crazy-hippie-mode.” FYI: if you have an emergency, do NOT call me.
Stop being so self-absorbed, people! Look at what you do all day. Do you risk your life by sitting in your cubicle? Are you so important that running over a 7-year-old to get to work on time seems rational? Would you call the cops if you were in trouble?
Take a minute, next time you’re pulled over for some slight infraction of the law. yea. Go ahead. Turn on that brain. It still works, even though you’ve been killing it with Kardashians. Why did they pull you over? Did you do something illegal? Accept it. You made a mistake. Everyone does. Who cares? But this man, or this woman, who is doing this job because they care about helping people (because, trust me, it’s not about the money) is trying to keep people safe. They are not after you. That’s like being homophobic and thinking that Elton John wants to bone down on you because he’s gay and you’re a man. They are not targeting you because you are driving a Mercedes. They are targeting you because you are driving a Mercedes really fast (probably stalking Elton John) and they’d rather give you a ticket than pull yet another body from an accident.
Get over yourself for a second and be a good person. Try it. Thank them.
Thank the police, and set a good example for your kids. They may need a cop one day. Are they going to call one if you keep bitching about that ticket?