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Is it just me…?

by on January 25, 2011

There was a time in my life when I was climbing trees and playing cops and robbers with nary a worry.  While that was many years ago, I specifically remember thinking that being a police officer would be the ultimate job.  I relished in the fact that I could take down my bigger friends – the robbers – without too much of a problem because I was underestimated.  

These days, I believe that being a police officer would still be one of the best jobs ever, but it has less to do with the excitement of taking out a ‘bad guy’ and more about my attraction to random incidents that require law enforcement or emergency personnel.

I think this all started when I went to Iraq during my first deployment.  I think getting shot at created some sort of weird aura that was some sort of attractant for these incidents to happen near me.  In short, and in more detail in future posts, I was blown off a guardrail by a mortar, had a tank explode five feet from the door of my humvee, and fractured my neck playing volleyball…

Is there some sort of cosmic allignment that happens to certain people on a certain occasion that they then become targets of random happenings thereafter?

Soon after Iraq, while stationed in GA, I was driving to ‘beautiful’ Fort Benning for a lovely day of work when I witnessed a rollover.  By witnessed, I mean that the car in front of me was cut off by a Honda Civic, veered out of the way, started losing control, overcorrected and then careened in front of me skidding onto the right side of the highway…when tires met grass it was tush over tea kettle for the car.  I got to pull an old man and his 350 lb wife out of the car and was only five minutes late to work.  I received an Air Force Achievement Medal to boot.

In stories to come you will learn that Iraq the second time saw an air conditioning unit blown off a roof feet from where I was standing, my little trailer being peppered by shrapnel from a multi-rocket attack, a two story building being reduced to rubble 500 ft from where I was standing by a laser-guided bomb, and a visit from Jesse James.

Upon my return from that deployment, I watched three cars all follow each other into a ditch on a snowy day and managed to pull two of the three out with my truck. 

More recently I saw a more severe accident involving an accident and ensuing rollover.  I was almost at the intersection when it happened, so I was the first person that approached the flipped vehicle.  I climbed in after prying open a door and stayed with the lady that was inside until emergency personnel arrived when I helped her out of the vehicle. 

Not even a week later, on my way to work at three in the morning, another vehicle slid off the road and flipped directly in front of me.  In this instance, the locks on the car wouldn’t work, so I used a shovel to break the back window and helped the drunk out of his car.

This past Saturday, I spent the better part of my day not catching any fish with two of my friends who I will refer to as J and B.  From 0930 until 1700 we hung out in -23 degree temperatures with the hopes of winning some sort of prize in an ice-fishing tournament.  In the waning hours of the derby, I managed to bruise J’s ribs with a flying people’s elbow, but then was taken to the ground by B in a suprise suplex.  The sudden onslought of flying arms and legs managed to take the bite from the cold and provided a good laugh regardless of getting skunked in the fishing department.  While not an incident worth mentioning per se, it did set the tone for the rest of the day as you will soon read about…

During every good road trip, in this case from the lake to my house, the need for gas rears its ugly head, so we stopped in the town of Rice, MN…population 705.  I mention the population because apparently it is the standard for gas station cashiers in Rice to know the police dispatchers by name and use their personal cell phone numbers as an emergency number…but I digress…

We – myself, J, and B – all needed to relieve the bladder at approximately the same time, and of course while driving.  It so happened that this pit stop coincided with a gas station, so a fill up, a bladder emptying times three, and an arrest all followed. 

While J was in the little boy’s room, B was paitiently waiting his turn, and I had just walked in the store.  I saw a very drunk kid stumbling from where the bathrooms were and decided to let the cashier – who looked to be about fourteen – know that there was a guy stumbling drunk in the booze aisle and that they should keep an eye on him.  As I walked back to relieve my now bursting bladder, I watched as the kid pulled his hands out of his coat after depositing something in a pocket.  He then proceeded to the beef jerkey and decided to pocket a pack.  I walked up to the cashier yet again and told her that this guy was shoplifting.  

I positioned myself in front of the exit with every intention of keeping drunky in the store until the police arrived.

When beefcake drunk boy got to the front counter and tried to leave I stood in his way and asked if he had anything in his pockets he wanted to pay for.  The look of confusion was priceless as he looked at me and then back at the cashier.  She mentioned to him that he was caught on camera too and that made him reconsider leaving the store with his acquirement of junk food.  He then proceeded to pull out two Starbuck’s frappacino drinks and a bag of beef jerky and placed them on the counter. 

It was when I told him that he had to wait for the police to arrive that this six foot bean pole decided that the store wasn’t the place for him.  He used his elbow and a little momentum to push me out the exit door but I ducked under his arm and grabbed him.  Like throwing bails of hay in my younger years, I picked him up and used his shoulder and right arm to make snowballs into snowflakes n the soft sidewalk.  I somehow ended up with my knee in his back and his neck in a chokehold…weird…

While I didn’t actually choke him out, it was fun to watch him try to think of a way to get out of the contortion he was calling home at that point.  I offered a solution when I told him that I would stop using him as a church kneeler and let him up if he would go inside with me to wait for the police.  That idea appealed to him so he asked if we could go back inside.  I even helped him up using the collar of his leather jacket. 

I led him towards the door and after entering he decided to exit all the while dragging me behind him.  He made it to the parking lot this time and I executed a body-slam that would have made an MMA fighter proud.  With my shoulder finding a soft spot between his shoulder blades this time, I parked myself with my knee in his back again and familiarized his neck with the crook of myelbow for the second time.  I looked up after calling this guy a few choice names and saw J there ready to do a tap dance on this kids face if he decided to run again.  In what could be considered a girly voice, drunky then asked in earnest if we could go back inside and wait for the police to arrive.

The cashier was freaking out at this point and tried to get a hold of the police…

She tried Sherry’s cell phone, and Tim wasn’t answering either – these people being the local dispatchers…oddly enough the thought process involving a shoplifter and the normal sequence of events during this type of incident didn’t involve the use of a phone utilizing the buttons 911…

The police did finally show up, but not just any officer…the chief of police for Rice, Minnesota graced me with his presence.  That being said, Rice’s police department is smaller than St. Paul’s department…smaller than quite a few departments across the state.  With one patrol officer and the chief, it is a two person strong police department. 

I was questioned by the chief for a couple of minutes, and then the shoplifter was escorted to the back of the squad vehicle wearing some shiny silver bracelets.  I got to give my account of the incident while talking to a tape recorder…and with country music blaring overhead. 

Now, I mentioned that J was standing overhead the second time I took the thief to the ground but where was J and B up to this point?

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