Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How to Argue with a Cop

Dear Friends,

The Hard Taco song for September is called, "Cops! Cops! Cops!" If you have to shout something three times in a row, Cops is much easier than Toy Boat, and much safer than Beetlejuice

You never know when you'll end up on a bus with the man your wife is having an affair with. When it happens, you'll need some fresh ice-breaker ideas to keep things from getting awkward.

Here's a good cop-themed ice-breaker: Do you remember the first time you witnessed an argument between a police officer and a civilian? My first time was almost 20 years ago, and it was exhilarating! Honestly, it is one of my most treasured memories. The suspect was my friend, Jeff, and his alleged crime was driving his car into a drainage ditch. 

Let me set the scene. About ten minutes before the incident, Jeff declared, "The [Ford Bronco II] has four-wheel drive. Everyone knows that, right?" The other passengers and I agreed. Everyone did know that.

Thus, he explained, the police would not only condone him driving around in a dark field, but they would expect it of him. "When you've got an off-road vehicle," he pointed out, "never driving off-road is basically illegal."

I had to admit, that made a whole lot of sense.

Five minutes later, the Ford Bronco II was lodged in a ditch behind the JCC. Ten minutes after that, a policeman showed up and wrote Jeff a citation for reckless driving, 

Jeff was not angry with the policeman... the poor officer was simply misinformed about the situation. Very graciously, Jeff provided a recap of everything that had transpired, none of which was reckless.

First, he pulled up carefully to the scene of he accident, got out of the car, and inspected the slope and lie of the ditch. He meticulously tested the soil firmness and erosion potential with his foot. Then he returned to the car, made sure all passengers were safely restrained, lifted his foot off the brake and idled carefully into the ditch. In this this sober and deliberate manner, the car was marooned hopelessly with it's rear wheels spinning in the air. We were able to corroborate this entire story, and assure the policeman that our driver had lodged the vehicle in the muddy trench with the utmost attention to safety. And as passengers, we found the experience to be not the least bit harrowing or interesting.

At this point, the policeman should have concluded, as I had, that driving directly into the ditch was the only rational decision that Jeff could have made in this set of circumstances. After all, everybody knows that the Ford Bronco II is a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Jeff said that his only regret was that he had miscalculated the aptitude of his three passengers in lifting the car out of the ditch. In conclusion, if he was given a chance to do it all over again, he would do it exactly the same way and change nothing. Everyone miscalculates sometimes, and you can't go through life beating yourself up about it.

The policeman had no rebuttal for any of this. I guess there isn't much to say when confronted with so many layers of shatterproof logic. The bastard just handed Jeff the citation and called a tow-truck for us.

A couple months later, Jeff disputed this ticket in court. He argued that reckless driving was a moving violation. How could he be guilty of a moving violation when his vehicle was NOT moving? If the Ford Bronco II had moved, at least so far as to extricate itself from the ditch, there would have been no problem! Apparently, the judge agreed, and reckless driving was reduced to trespassing, which carried a lower fine and no points. Justice.

Of course, if we really were trespassing, the JCC could have shot us or sicced their dogs on us. I'm sure Jeff would have been just as patient with an irate Dauberman* as he was with the cop. As it lunged towards him, menacing and frothy-mouthed, he would have calmly reassured it that there was nothing to worry about, because his car was an off-road vehicle. Everyone knows that.

With warmest regards,

* An imaginary guard dog only found at the JCC