I’m A Sad Panda

This past two weeks have been a nightmare. I’ve been working the night shift, and have spent five days in court on a jury trial – where the D.A. eventually dropped all charges.

For the past three days I have been stuck in a classroom for our annual recertification. The fabulous classes ran the gamut from Legal Updates, to the FBI’s NIBRS training, to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.

The last class was useless, because you can count the number of attractive Philly cops on one hand. /zing. I’ll rant about it anyway.

The instructor was a freshly-promoted lieutenant whose lecture was about as exciting as bread mold. He was obviously a company man, because he was not only way too into the topic, but also gleefully reminding us we’ll be suspended or fired if we’re found guilty of harassment. (The lieutenant seemed like the guy who talked shop to anyone who’d listen, and always wore a police t-shirt. A definite True Believer.)

As with most MPO classes, the subject was dry and boring. The scenarios were cookie cutter stories we’ve heard a million times, and afterward, the lieutenant cited examples not found in our information packet. To wit, the lieutenant actually said this with a straight face (I’m paraphrasing):

“You and a female partner are working a wagon or a two-person car, and you turn on the radio to a particular station. While driving, a rap song airs, and the song has sexually suggestive lyrics. You may be guilty of sexual harassment, even more so if you do not immediately turn off the radio.”

Some of the officers in the classroom laughed out loud, and I muttered – rather loudly – “Eh, what?”

One supervisor was especially randy after hearing this. “How do you figure, lieutenant? Did I write the lyrics? Am I singing them? What if my partner does not tell me she is offended?”

The lieutenant shot back, “She doesn’t have to tell you. When you hear the lyrics, it’s your duty to turn off the radio or change the channel.”

More raucous laughter.

The supervisor was not having it. “Okay, so say my partner and I are on a call, and we walk into a home with the same song playing. Do I order the homeowner to turn off the radio?”

Silence. The lieutenant had nothing, and he said he “would look into that.”

Ironically, I was sitting next to my sergeant, who is female, and even she said, “This guy – the lieutenant – is out of his damned mind.” Truer words were never spoken.

Take The A Training

For the past two days, I have been subjected to our annual police training. Monday and Tuesday were classroom lectures, so I only have to re-certify in CPR and re-qualify with my pistol. Thee classroom lectures are beyond boring; more so when you suffered through the crowd I had.

Monday’s class featured an instructor who spent half the day telling war stories. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but this supervisor hasn’t been on the street since Clinton was president. Dude, no one cares about the time you grabbed your revolver, ran to a call box, and reported the streetcar accident. We especially don’t care when you’re telling this story instead of, say, handing out the exam!

Tuesday was no better. The storyteller was back again, but since all his old fossil stories were told, he kept his trap shut. The problem yesterday was the theater screamer.

There was a black female officer sitting behind me all day. During the course of instruction, she continually blurted out inane comments, or worse, fragments. For eight hours, I had to listen to running commentary such as, “Mmm hmm,” “Yeah, that’s right.”, and the omnipresent, “Yep!” I realize this is a stereotype (and possibly racist) but it felt like I was sitting with her in a movie theater. I kept waiting for her to yell, “DON’T GO IN THERE!” or “LOOK OUT, HE’S GOT AN AX!”

Look, training is bad enough without the unnecessary distractions. Please just emulate your fellow officers and sit there, try not to fall asleep, and shut your dick trap.

What’s The Skinny?

Redhead Kid From The Sandlot

As you know, I am recovering from abdominal surgery. (You know this because I have been beating the issue like a rented mule in a pathetic cry for attention.) Any hoo, the surgery frakked up my tummy, er, gut, er, crap factory, and while most of the weight I lost by ditching carbs is still gone, my stomach is still a little distended and I gained a few pounds.

I’m currently sitting at 190 pounds, which is what I weighed in the police academy 22 years ago. I know I can lose ten more pounds, but I still think I look horrendous. Not that I ever had a flattering opinion of myself. Yesterday, however, I was in classroom training, again, because all Philly cops do anymore is eat donuts and receive classroom training. The class was “Tactical Medicine,” and the department was instructing us on many live-saving instruments like combat gauze, Israeli bandages, and Nasopharyngeal airway tubes.

None of which the department owns, or dispenses to its officers. So… yeah.

We did get retrained on the tourniquet, an item we were actually issued, so there’s that.

We break for lunch and I run screaming toward the parking lot anticipating an Arby’s roast beef with a side of cyanide. I finished the written test – yes, shut up – first, so the lot was mostly empty.

Except for this female officer.

This girl is walking toward me, and I immediately think to myself, “Damn, she’s pretty cute.” She gets closer, and I think, “Wait, I know her, don’t I?” As she reaches me, I realize it’s Lisa, a cop who worked in my division and married one of my coworkers. Very pretty, nice as pie, and a good cop.

Lisa walks by me and I smile. She stops, looks at me, looks again, and says, “Wyatt, is that you?” I smiled and said yes, slightly offended she didn’t recognize me because of my morbid obesity. Her jaw drops, and she exclaims, “My god, you’re unrecognizable!”

(Yes, it’s not my fault I’m fat and ugly; blame my parents and salt ans vinegar potato chips.)

But, but, that wasn’t it at all…

“You look great! I didn’t even recognize you with all the weight you lost. How much are you down?” I told her as of today’s weigh-in I am down 22 pounds, and she replied, “Well you look great. Really, really great!” before running to her class.

As I continued the walk to the Wyattobile, I started getting stabbing muscle cramps. Something was wrong with my face, and I thought I was having a stroke. I didn’t smell toast, so that couldn’t be it. Something odd was definitely going on, though, because my mouth was going into spasms, turning upward beyond my control. My teeth started to show, and my eyes became three sizes larger.

I grabbed an instructor to see if he could explain this phenomenon to me, and he said, “Dude, that’s a smile.”

A smile? Hmm, never heard of it.

Slow Times At Philly High

Jeff Spicoli And Mr. Hand

So I spent yesterday suffering through my annual MPO (Municipal Police Officer) training, which keeps me certified to fight crime, save citizens, and drink Diet Mountain Dew at my desk while watching the Copa America soccer tournament. The good news is our training center was moved from downtown to the northeast section of the city, cutting last year’s one hour travel time to five minutes.

There is no other good news.

Yesterday was my first of four classroom days, plus an extra day re-qualifying at the pistol range. The topics? Legal Updates and “Procedural Justice.” Yeah, you know you wanted to be there. The Legal Updates lesson explains every single, solitary, sleep-inducing update to Pennsylvania’s criminal code; because I needed to know the minimum penalty for a misdemeanor was changed from one year to ten months.

By 10am, I was ready to hang myself, mostly because I was tired of continually undressing the only attractive cop in class with my eyes. And really, she wasn’t merely “cop hot.”

I returned from lunch in a sleepy mood, but the fact the thermostat was set to “Polar Bear” made short work of that. The second half of the day was dedicated to Procedural Justice, a phony, made-up term which in perfect English would read as “Liberalism in Policing.”

For the next two hours, we were instructed in how we should be kinder and gentler to people who want to shoot at us, learned the “lessons of Ferguson” – which I assume is to sit back and let the people burn down their own neighborhood – and regurgitated the liberal talking points in order to receive a passing grade.

Tomorrow is a full eight hours of CPR, which most people can do in two. God, I love government!