Police Dog

I am not particularly impressed by police officers.  They do a tough job, and I respect them for that, but I’ve been exposed to cops all my life.  I’ve seen the good, and the bad.  “To Serve and Protect” doesn’t thrill me any more than “To Serve God.”  There’s always at least one who’s anxious to get into the sacramental wine, or forbidden fruit-of-the-loom underwear.

For years, in my youth, my home town only had one policeman.  After they ceded the little park/lake to my boys club, that expanded to a chief, and two constables.  Tough enough in the winter, but busy in the summer with tourists.  For a couple of summers, my brother volunteered for Friday and Saturday-night ride-alongs.

Once upon a time, you could throw a drunk in jail and set him free in the morning when he sobered up.  Then it became necessary to have someone to check on him.  After he retired, my Dad took that job.  He’d get a call, pack a book, a sandwich and a thermos of coffee, and be gone all night.

My brother-in-law wanted to become something political.  In his mid-twenties he took some training and became a justice of the peace, because that gave him exposure and contacts.  Our town already had two JPs, both real estate agents in their fifties, who didn’t want to be awakened at 2 AM, to sign a warrant for some drunk.  The town five miles away had one JP, just as sleepy and grumpy.

Sister and B.I.L. liked to go out and party with the movers and shakers.  From 12 to 16 I was drafted to babysit their five kids, Friday and/or Saturday nights.  They often partied till after sun-up, but it wasn’t unusual for them to return earlier than that, accompanied by police – our town cop, the one from down the road, an Ontario Provincial Policeman who patrolled local highways, the R.C.M.P. officer who was responsible for the attached Indian reservation, and later, Indian police.  I’ve been in rooms with up to five on-duty officers, drinking coffee, beer or whiskey, waiting for paperwork to be signed.

In a small town, at the ass-end of nowhere, most officers were older, and sedate.  The young Mountie, however, was sharp, and aggressive.  I was walking home from high school one June day, when I heard a hot-rod.  Car-crazy, I knew that sound.  It turned off the highway, and proceeded up the street I was walking on.  At a time when a policeman could just pull you over and give you a ticket for excess noise, this thing howled!

In 1962, this was a ’52 Ford convertible, loaded with paint, chrome and muscle.  Bbrraapp, half a block and 30 MPH in first gear.  It zipped past me, and I recognized my unfavorite Mountie driving.  Bbrraapp, past the elementary school, five minutes before closing bell, at 50 MPH in second gear, in a 30 zone.  Bbrraapp, into third gear and still accelerating as he went up the hill towards the B.I.L.’s house.

Sure enough, when I got there ten minutes later, he was waiting to show off the new toy he’d bought.  I mentioned the amount of noise he produced, and told him that I’d seen him doing 50 in second gear, in a school zone.  Instantly, he went all lawyer on me.  How did I know it was 50 in second??  It could have been 30 in first!  Because I already saw and heard you do 30 in first.  I’m just pointing out that someone other than me might have seen the same thing, and lodge a complaint, especially in a school zone.

A month later, just as school vacation was starting, he showed up one night for a warrant.  While others did things in the kitchen, he joined me in the living room.  Out of the blue, and purely coincidentally, he wondered if my friends and I might like to party.  If I just told him what we liked, he could get it for us, beer, wine, liquor, grass, pills, just name it.

I asked him how he would “just get it.”  Oh, he’d just impound it from some guy he caught, and “forget” to log the evidence.  The guy would be released.  What’s he gonna do, complain??  At 17, I didn’t party like that, and not with a group.  If I had accepted his offer, he’d have had something to hold over me.  My previous comment about noise, speeding and dangerous driving was never mentioned.  I think he was disappointed when I graciously declined.

I wasn’t out to get him, or any advantage, and never mentioned the occurrence to anyone but him.  About seven years later, I was reading an article in the Readers’ Digest, about the R.C.M.P. cleaning up the Mob and the drug traffic in Montreal.  Guess whose name was given as the head of the Montreal narcotics squad.  They shoulda heard him comin’ in that noisy hot-rod.

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Sauce For The Goose

Was it always thus?  Were people always so thoughtless and selfish?  I suppose at any point in history, a certain percentage were.  The problem is worsened in cities.  The bigger the city, the more people there are to share things – land, air, open skies, personal space and the respect and acceptance of others.  With a lower average being spread around, the likelihood is increased of some assholery being committed by unthinking, uncaring thugs, to get what they think their share should be, fair or otherwise.

It’s difficult some times to know whether they really are as stupid and uncaring as they sound, or whether it’s a persona they’re using to achieve their ends.  For years, those of us with lungs, who want to keep them, have been fighting to get smokers to stop dispensing their noxious gases in public.  Locally, it’s illegal to smoke inside any public building.  This just moves the problem.  Now they smoke outside the buildings, and you get to run a toxic gauntlet, trying to get a passport, or making a bank deposit.  *You can’t make me stop.  I have a right to smoke.*  No, you don’t!  Their sense of entitlement vs. my right to breathe and enjoy clean air is truly awe-inspiring

I wanted to take the wife to Wendy’s for lunch one day.  We climbed out of the car and faced the door.  The female manager and a male friend were standing right beside the entrance, smoking.  We stood beside the car for about a minute, thinking they might take the hint and move.  No such luck.  Finally, she noticed us staring at her, and petulantly demanded, “What?!”  We’d like to enter your facility to have lunch, but can’t because you’re blocking the door by smoking.  You’re supposed to move away.  “Well, I thought it was nine feet.”

You’re the manager of a restaurant, and you don’t know what the bylaw is?  It’s not nine feet.  It’s nine meters!  That’s thirty feet!  Even if it were nine feet, you were only five or six feet from the door.  See the orange paint that head office had applied to the curb, by the door.  You’re supposed to be outside that, and downwind if you don’t mind.  I should have filled in one of the How Did We Do Today forms inside, but she’d probably just have thrown it away.  Maybe next time I’ll complain on-line.

On a related note….fire pits.  The city is in the middle of a minor crisis about whether to continue to allow residents to have outdoor fires.  This is like smoking.  Your rights stop at the end of my nose – or should.  Older residents, parents with young children and people with breathing problems have lobbied to have the city declare them illegal.  The caring response evident in several letters to the editor have been, “Tough!  If you don’t like it, close your windows!”  A letter today tried to justify it by saying that his kids want to enjoy themselves roasting marshmallows and hotdogs.  “Let them have a bit of summer fun.”  I will, as soon as I can breathe.  One letter suggested speaking nicely to your offending neighbor, and they would just stop.  Yeah, sure, I’ll get right on that.

Whatever the perk, there are those who seize it, and then try to prevent others from enjoying the same.  We moved to the other side of the city 23 years ago, because a developer had cut down half of a huge maple forest and erected hundreds of houses near the river.  As we were leaving the area, the developer wanted to cut down the other half of the bush and put up more homes.  You should have heard the squeals of anguish.  The ones who had taken advantage of the first forestry project now wanted the rest of the trees left, because the scenery was nice, and their kids could play there and run the dog.  Many of them were suddenly against Urban Sprawl.

After the forest was inevitably cut down, houses were built right across the river from the local airport.  Real Estate agents were legally required to inform potential buyers of its existence.  Nobody was *surprised*, except officials who now got demands from these home-owners that the airport be restricted, or shut down, or moved.  The airplanes were keeping the baby awake, or scaring the cat.  The guy I wanted to schmop with a soggy diaper, was the one whose house had been built thirty years ago, half a block from the expressway, but three miles from the airport.  He didn’t complain about traffic noise, but wanted the city to pay him to sound-insulate his house from airplane noise.

A drunken young female exited a downtown club and wandered across the street, where she was brushed by a passing car and knocked down.  She was totally, legally in the wrong, but guess whose insurance had to pay, and whose premiums went up.  A 19 year-old male rode his bicycle through a crosswalk, against the traffic flow, and was struck by a car making a turn.  It’s illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk, and it’s illegal to ride a bicycle through a crosswalk, and he just found out why, but pedestrians and bicyclists don’t carry insurance.

I think the next park festival we hold should be a Bring-In-Your-Ego Fair.  There’ll be some whose egos are so big, they can’t drag them in.  For the rest, it could be like a children’s face-painting booth.  On this one, we could brush some care and consideration for others.  On that big bloated ego we could paint some vertical stripes, so it doesn’t look so huge.  Think it’ll work?  Nah!  Me neither.

My Kingdom

A theme, a theme, my kingdom for a theme.

For want of a theme, a post was lost.  For want of a post….a number of readers escaped excruciating boredom.  Oh Hell, I’ll just do what other bloggers do.  If I can’t think of anything in particular, I’ll just write about the scraps rattling around at the bottom of the waste paper basket.

I got a postcard the other day!  I thought that the digital age had rendered them obsolete.  I shouldn’t have worried.  It was hand-delivered for a local Real Estate agent.  As a piece of advertising, I think it works well.  It’s glossy printed, front and back.  On the front is a picture of the lady, vertically at one end, and a photo of a local house, with a red banner proclaiming, *Sold In Three Weeks*.  The address is given and below it, the address also becomes the website, 80oprington.com.  Someone’s planning ahead.  In five years, when the new young owners want to sell and move on, that website can be reactivated.

On the back is every kind of contact information, office address, office phone, cell phone, VirginiasHomes.ca and the same as an email address.  Also, the card is a gift certificate for a free home staging consultation if you list with her. I’m impressed; of course that doesn’t take much.  I think she covered all the bases and got maximum value for the cost of these.

About ten years ago, we were sitting, reading one evening, and suddenly all the lamps went out.  We have little nightlights in several outlets, and they remained on.  Strange, says I, along with several other, more colorful comments.  I went around the house, turning various things on and off.  Some worked, some didn’t. I turned the oven elements on, and all the lamps came back on, but dimly.  We called the emergency number for our local electricity provider, and about an hour later, we had a crew arrive.

The company says that they are responsible for everything up to the house.  After that, it’s my responsibility.  When I described what was happening, they headed for the electrical meter, and pulled it out.  Like an appliance plug, it just pushes in on four prongs.  Sure enough, one of the prongs had burned off.  The crew foreman said it was likely caused by vibration from traffic on the thoroughfare that runs behind my house.

Oh good, it’s their meter; it’s their problem.  Not so fast, grasshopper.  The meter didn’t fail.  When we plug it in, the prong is inside your house, and it was the prong that failed.  Ah yes, great bureaucrat master, I get to pay.  What a surprise!  Actually, the labor was covered, but I became the proud owner of one of the Province’s first, electronic, time-of-use meters.  The rest of the reporting/billing system didn’t go into effect for another eight years.

These are designed to bill higher for usage at peak times, and less in evenings and weekends, to encourage energy conservation.  There was a big rush to install them on any home in the Province without one, and finally, we were billed on a sliding scale.  Two years later, the power supplier to our twin city to the north is requesting the right to add $2/mo. to the bills, for thirty months, to recoup the capital outlay.  I paid for mine long ago.  You didn’t think the rest were going to get theirs for free, did you?

The company that provides to my city just quietly went ahead and added $1.49/mo. to cover their costs….except for customers who use less than 50KwH/mo.  Those they charge $1.99/mo.  If I ever think I understand the bureaucratic mind, you can expect me to run screaming from the building.  Wouldn’t total meter cost, divided by number of months, always equal $1.49, no matter how much power you use?  And charge more, to those who use less, that’ll teach you to conserve!

I scan through the items-for-sale ads each day, watching for a couple of items, for myself and others.  I got my daughter 30 balls of Angora yarn for a buck apiece, a couple of weeks ago.  I am amused and entertained by some of the ads.  Engagement ring for sale.  Never worn. Paid $3500. Will sell $1850.  Damn!  A guy with some money, and he was ready to commit, and she turned him down??  That relationship did not end well.

Ladies shorts and jeans, size 16.  Never worn.  Call xxx-xxxx, after six.  Great hopes and plans, but the diet just didn’t work out.  Jennie Craig will buy them.

The page begins with free articles.  Sometimes people want to get rid of something but don’t want it to go to the dump.  Reduce, reuse, recycle, the blue box program started in this city.  At least one of the *I’m too Duh-mb for my shirt*s works at the local paper.  Under free items; 50 paving stones.  You pick up.  Eight pcs. 2x4x8ft.  Call Bob.  Brown leather jacket size 36.  $50.  Black and Decker orbital sander.  $35.  Somebody doesn’t understand the concept of FREE.  Maybe that’s the file-clerk from my old office.

P. T. Barnum said, You’ll never go broke underestimating the stupidity of the general population, and I’d be a fool to doubt him.