Biff America: To serve and protect
Sometimes I wish I were a policeman. I wouldn’t want to be the kind of cop who prevents crime or puts himself in danger to save lives. Or the type who has to break up bar fights or pull accident victims out of burning vehicles. I would like to be the kind of cop who is deputized to punish folks when they are being boneheads.
I would like to go undercover in my 10-year-old Subaru, drive the mountain passes and record the license plate numbers of folks who are driving too fast, passing like idiots or have those rubber moose antlers hanging off their rear windows.
Then I would stop, call my partner down the road, (a real cop) who would pull over those crazy drivers and give them a ticket. To be clear, we would not give tickets to the folks with moose antlers; we would just pull them over and ask, “Really?”
I also would go undercover on my town bicycle to rat out all the folks who don’t stop for pedestrians or drive aggressively in town.
If I were a policeman, I wouldn’t bother folks who rolled slowly through a stop sign at an empty intersection. And if I happened to pull someone over for that offense and they said they were in a hurry to get home because they had to go to the bathroom, I would give them a police escort.
I would do the bulk of my undercover work at our local grocery stores. I would love to nab folks who don’t return their shopping carts or park in front of the store, slowing or blocking traffic while they force everyone to go around them on a narrow egress. I would show them my badge, tell them to move and give them serious stink eye for being so selfish.
I’ve often said I think cops and school teachers are two of the most important and underpaid occupations. And I’m not saying this just because I want to be a cop — though I do look particularly good in a police uniform. (My mate bought me one to wear around the house on date nights.) And I will admit there is little chance of me being hired as an educator as I am told that requires a college degree.
I think it would be particularly difficult to be a policeman or educator during these trying times because people are stressed out and some are a little wacky — myself included.
Ellie thought it would be a nice treat for us to order some meals to-go, so she did so while I was napping one late afternoon. Because of her recent knee surgery, she still can’t drive and is not fond of climbing stairs. She yelled, “I ordered two meals from our favorite place under my name,” waking me from my nap. “They are ready now. You have to leave.”
I sprinted out of the house, got in my unmarked Subaru and headed to the restaurant.
The contrast of the loud and crowded bar compared to my quiet bed was startling. There were several folks in front of me and others jostling by, so I waited patiently while maintaining a little space. When it was finally my turn, I told the host that I was there to pick up a to-go order for Ellen. But with the noise, my mask and my accent, the host heard “Allen.“ I waited about 15 minutes before they told me there was no such order. I had forgotten my cellphone, so I asked the bartender if I could borrow theirs to call my mate, but I could not remember her cellphone number.
I drove home frustrated, assuming it was Ellie’s fault. While I was on route, the hostess took the time to look through all the to-go orders to see if there was one that might be confused with “Allen.” She called our house, and when I pulled into the driveway, Ellie had limped out and told me to go back. They had found the order.
To be clear, it was all my mistake, but I was frustrated.
With frustration comes a sense of entitlement. So when I pulled up in front of the restaurant, I had the mistaken assumption that I was entitled to double park and block traffic just like the folks I get so mad at.
I need to look in the mirror more often. I’m just glad there wasn’t a real cop around.
Jeffrey Bergeron’s column “Biff America” publishes Mondays in the Summit Daily News. Bergeron has worked in TV and radio for more than 30 years, and his column can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He is the author of “Mind, Body, Soul.” Bergeron arrived in Breckenridge when there was plenty of parking and no stop lights. Contact him at email@example.com.
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