Tag Archives: cops

Listen, I was just kidding about the Brooklyn Bridge

Hey everybody, I have another confession to make: remember how yesterday I wrote about how it was me who pulled off that Brooklyn Bridge white flag stunt? Yeah, well, it wasn’t me, I was just joking. I saw it on the newspaper in the morning and I thought, well, nobody’s taking any credit, maybe I should take credit. Nobody’s going to believe me, I thought, that would be insane.


But people believed me. A couple of G-Men showed up at my house really early this morning. They weren’t happy. “You think national security is some sort of a joke?” The good cop said. I just assumed they were playing good cop, bad cop. The bad cop didn’t say anything. He just kept glaring at me, communicating behind his aviator sunglasses, seriously man, you do not want me to get all bad-cop on your ass.

They had all of these printouts of stuff from this blog, my post from yesterday, my post from a while back expressing a strong desire to climb to the top of the Queensboro Bridge. I told them, “Guys, come on, I’m really sorry, but I’ve written blog posts about waiting tables in space, about what would happen if a giant red asteroid fell to the earth, turning all of the world’s oceans into red Kool-Aid, you can’t take any of this stuff seriously.”

And they said, “Listen kid, it’s post-post-9/11. We take everything seriously.” And I saw the bad cop write something on a little notepad: “Comet, red Kool-Aid, threat?” And then we just kind of stared each other down for a while, which, was really just them staring at me while I tried to avoid their punishing glares. I’m telling you, I think that bad-cop must have had some sort of mind control powers, because I could feel my head being probed, he was making me really uncomfortable.

“No more funny business, OK?” they told me, and I said, “That’s it? I’m not in trouble or anything?” and they didn’t answer, they didn’t have to. I’m just assuming that, no, I’m not in trouble, but at the same time, yes, I’m probably in a little bit of trouble. Some non-trouble.

Like when you get pulled over for speeding and you say to the cop, “Come on,” and he really shouldn’t, but for whatever reason, who knows, maybe you remind this cop of his son, and so he lets you off, but with a written warning. And it’s an official written warning, almost identical to a speeding ticket, but with no fine or loss of points on your license.

That’s the kind of non-trouble that I’m finding myself in right now. Like I think when these guys opened the door and saw me in my pajamas they probably immediately thought to themselves, goddammit, this job was so much easier before the Internet was around, before we had to deal people running their mouths online.

And so they told me to knock it off, not to mention the bridge again. And so I wanted to apologize, (is an apology OK? I’m sure an apology is OK) to everybody that read my post yesterday, who thought I was the one who climbed all the way up there and planted those bleached flags. I’m actually pretty flattered that some people thought me capable of performing such a feat. If anything, I still maintain that I could do it if I wanted to. I’m in great shape, and I think that I could climb any bridge or building in the city without really breaking a serious sweat.

But once again, I’m sorry for tricking you guys. It’s just that, I’m a really convincing writer, so don’t get too down on yourself for believing my tall tales. It’s hard for anybody to read this stuff and not take it at face value. I mean come on, the government sent people to my house. If they believed it could be true, don’t feel bad that you believed it too.

So I guess that leaves the mystery unsolved. I wonder if my friend Ben the Bridge Climber knows anything about it. Nah, I should just stop speculating and leave the investigating to the professionals.

When it rains, it pours

Well, you know what they say, when it rains, it pours. Like I just got pulled over a few weeks ago for speeding. And when I gave the traffic cop my license, he ran in it his computer and came back, “Hey buddy, looks like you have a bunch of outstanding parking tickets.” And I just said to him, “Well, when it rains, it pours.” And he said, “Yep,” and then he impounded my car.


We were on the middle of the highway, and I asked him, “Hey officer, do you think you could give me a ride back into town?” and he said, “Well, I’m really not supposed to, but I guess, yeah, all right, you sure there’s nobody that can come and pick you up?” and I said, “No man, I think I accidentally left my phone in the car. Any way you could call up the tow truck and tell them to come back with my car so I can look for my phone?” And he was like, “No way man, just hop in.”

And he wouldn’t let me sit in the front, which, I guess I can understand, that’s his office, he was doing me a favor, he probably didn’t want to have to share his personal space, having me getting too cozy up front. But still, it felt weird sitting behind that glass partition, like I was some sort of a criminal. And I was just about to say to myself, wow, talk about raining and pouring, but I didn’t have time to coalesce my loose thoughts into a complete sentence, because the police radio started going off, the dispatcher shouting out all of these codes, the cop up front yelled to me, “Hang on!” and he hit it, the sirens, the lights, we made an abrupt U-turn and gunned it.

I could tell something huge was up, because all of these other cop cars started joining us, all of us headed in pursuit toward the same direction. I wanted to ask what was going on, but the cop was pretty busy, he was talking into his car radio, and then into another walkie-talkie on the side, all of it in this indecipherable police language of letters and numbers. I looked down at my watch. I was supposed to be at work right now, and my boss already gave me a huge speech about showing up on time. Would I even be able to explain something like this? I could already hear him cutting me off halfway, telling me all about how he’s not interested in excuses.

When it rains it pours, right? Right, but even though it felt like it was pouring, this wasn’t even a light drizzle yet. Because we pulled up to the factory warehouse type building far away from any part of the city I’ve ever been to, and there were like a ton of cop cars there, all of them sirens on, every officer standing by his or her driver’s side door, waiting to make a move.

I guess it could have been worse. By the time we arrived, most of the action must have already gone down. So I’m glad I didn’t have to be there for anything violent. Still, I did kind of wonder what was taking so long, how much more time I’d have to spend in this backseat. And of course the car door wouldn’t open up from the inside. And finally after like forty or fifty minutes, I started to feel really cooped up in there, like I just wanted to stretch my legs, take a breath of fresh air. I knocked on the window but my cop either couldn’t hear me or he was ignoring me. I kept knocking, and after thirty seconds or so, another cop from another car took out his nightstick and hit it against the window, mouthing me to, “Shut the hell up!”

He had it all wrong, I wasn’t the bad guy here. Sure, I wasn’t completely off the hook, I mean, there was the whole issue of those unpaid parking tickets and my car being in some impound lot somewhere. There was that, yeah. But I wasn’t under arrest. If only I could get that cop’s attention again, maybe I could mouth to him something like, “You’ve got it all wrong.” But when it rains, it pours, you know? So that didn’t work. Now everybody was ignoring me.

Maybe an hour or so later, all of these cops started coming out of the building leading all of these obviously bad guys with their hands cuffed behind their backs. One after the other, there had to have been close to fifty men. Were they gang members? Was this some sort of a meth lab? I had nothing to go on other than how everyone was dressed, wife-beaters and sleeve-tattoos. They weren’t good guys, that much was obvious.

Finally, the door next to me opened up, but before I had a chance to get out and see if I could maybe borrow a cell phone to call a cab to pick me up wherever it is that we were, three of those bad guys got shoved in the back with me. So there we were, four of us, it was really too tight, and then a different cop got into the driver’s seat and started driving.

“Hey!” I tried grabbing this guy’s attention, “I’m not supposed to be in here. Can you let me out? Did you talk to that other cop?” And he just ignored me. But the guys to my right, they looked pissed. One of them just kept glaring at me, like if I had any reservations about these guys being bad guys, that all went out the window when this one guy made eye contact. I was thinking, come on dude, we’re all stuck back here, and you’ve still got to act like a crazy bad guy? Can’t you just give it a rest for like one second?

And then they threw us all in a holding cell, all while I tried to grab anybody’s attention, “Please,” I was begging anybody who passed me in the hallway, “This isn’t right. This is all a huge mistake.” But nobody paid any attention. Not until I got to where they book people. They took everything out of my pockets, my wallet, my cell phone. Fuck. My cell phone was right there the whole time. How did I miss it?

“I’m telling you, I got pulled over, my car got towed, and the officer was giving me a ride back into town. I promise, I had nothing to do with that bust or whatever it was.”

And finally the booking officer at least acknowledged me. He didn’t look at me, but he said to me, “That’s too bad kid. But the judge isn’t back until tomorrow. So you’ve got to hang tight until we can get this all straightened out.”

And it was crazy, this was absolutely nuts. And then when it was my turn to make my phone call, I connected with my boss for like a second, I wanted to tell him to call my wife, to send for help, something. But the line got disconnected right after he said, “Hello?” and I was like, “Hello? Hello?” and I looked to the officer watching the phones and said, “It dropped. The call went dead. I’m not supposed to be here. Can I have another quarter?”

And he just looked at me and said, “Nope.”

And I don’t have to say it again, right? The raining and pouring thing. But it’s true. It’s absolutely true. I can’t think of any other cliché phrase that more accurately describes what was going on.

Stuck underground without any money for a ride

A while back I got caught in a thunderstorm, I ran down into the nearest subway station and figured I’d just call it a day, head home. But it was bad luck, poor placement and worse timing, I was something like twenty-three cents short for a single ride, and the only two Metrocard machines in the station had the same big handwritten signs taped to the front, “cash only.”


I didn’t have any cash and, since I was relatively dry, I couldn’t imagine taking my chances outside, running the five or six blocks for the next station. The downpour had driven in a steady stream of likeminded people, and so I figured, I don’t have a choice, I’m going to have to ask somebody for a swipe.

I mean, I’m not one to beg for change, but it’s not like I didn’t have the money, I had it, it was just somewhere else, not in my pocket. And besides, I’ve seen people ask for swipes before, I’ve even given them out. Wasn’t it about time that I cashed in on some very minor subterranean cosmic karma?

“Excuse me,” I stood by the turnstile and started addressing the line, not anybody in particular, but just kind of directly ahead, “I’m stuck, the machine’s not working, can anybody give me a swipe?”

And whatever, I wasn’t expecting everyone in the city to just stop what they were doing to give me their attention, but I was kind of hoping that maybe one person might, maybe one or two, and like right away, like come on, I’m stuck here, you can’t help somebody else get on the train?

But nobody, I asked one time, and nobody even so much as looked. So I got all self-conscious, like do I ask again? Do I say the same exact thing? Or should I let the line advance a little more so I’m not repeating the same questions to the same people? I fell into a pattern, it was like every twenty-five seconds or so, I’d ask another five to ten people, and my requests got shorter, “Excuse me? Do you have an extra swipe?”

The best that I got was some lady who at least acknowledged my problem, she looked at me, not really sympathetically, and she said, “It’s unlimited,” referring to her Metrocard, “They’re all unlimited.” And yeah, I hadn’t thought about that, those unlimited cards make it impossible to swipe more than once in something like a fifteen-minute period. But come on, somebody had to have a regular card, I always kept a regular card, someone had to have a swipe.

But just as I was getting ready to ask the fifth or sixth group of people, I heard a man’s voice right behind me, “You!” he said. I turned around, it was a cop, he was pointing at me. “I’m sorry, do you have me confused with someone else?” and he continued, “Oh no, no, no, it’s you all right, you think I wouldn’t forget? That you’d get away with it?”

And I seriously had no idea what he was talking about, but he started getting closer, “Two summers ago, you hopped the turnstile, you thought you got away,” and I totally remembered. This was impossible. Two summers ago, yes, I was out for a long run, when out of nowhere the sky turned pitch black and started pouring. Look, I’m fine with running in a little rain, even a downpour, it’s like, what am I going to do? I’m already soaked from sweat, there’s no sense in stopping now.

But this storm, there was loud thunder, I saw a building two blocks in front of me take a direct hit from a bolt of lightning. That crack, that deafening thoom that I felt vibrate throughout my entire body, yeah, I guess I got a little spooked. I sprinted toward the nearest subway station.

When I got inside, I had no money, I didn’t have anything on me except for my keys, but I was all hopped up on adrenaline, there was a massive throng of bodies all trying to escape mother nature, and so, I wasn’t even thinking, I just acted, I kept running and I jumped right over the turnstile. It was much easier than I expected, but no sooner had I made it to the other side, I heard, “You!” it was a cop. They’re pretty strict about fare enforcement, I think the fine is something like over a hundred bucks, and so I saw this guy and I made a run for it.

Again, I wasn’t thinking. The platform has a finite amount of room, and this guy was on my tail. But, it was unbelievable, my luck, there was a train idling in the station with its doors open. I ran down a few cars, and right before the bell went off to signal their imminent closing, I slipped inside, I made it. Then I got cocky, the train started pulling away, and I gave a little shit-eating grin, a slight wave to the cop still on the other side of those doors.

And now here I was face to face with that same officer, I couldn’t believe he remembered me. Was he that consumed by my getting away? He remembered my face after all this time? I tried to fake my way out, “Hey officer, I think you’ve got the wrong guy,” but he wasn’t buying it. I abruptly changed course, “Listen, I’m not doing anything wrong here, what’s the problem?”

“Oh yeah? What are you a lawyer?” he was even closer, “No panhandling on the subway.” Was he going to take me in? Was this going to be something on my record, like I’d have to explain it every time I filled out a job application or applied for a loan? No, I thought, , it worked before, I can only hope that it works again.

And so I jumped the turnstile. But this time I didn’t make it across. The tip of my foot got caught on the pole and I face-planted right to the cement floor. My nose was bleeding, I chipped one of my front teeth. And nobody even really stopped, they just kept walking around me, that ceaseless line of bodies escaping the rain and heading for the train.

But it was bad, there was a significant amount of blood, even the cop started to feel sorry for me. “Just … just get the hell out of here. Just cut the shit, all right?” and that was it, he let me go. So yeah, another free subway ride, but now I had to find a dentist, I had to clean up. I’d have much rather just been wet, not this, bruised, caked in blood, humiliated.

Come on, one more third chance, please

I’m not asking for a second chance here, I’m asking for a third chance. Another third chance. How was I supposed to see that guy pulling out of his driveway? And why didn’t he stop? You know it takes two to tango, right? Well, I’m just saying, you’re backing out of your driveway, you give a little honk, a little, “Honk! Honk! I’m backing out here!” Nothing.

Come on, you don’t really need brake lights. Hand signals are still perfectly acceptable. Why do you think they make you memorize them in driver’s ed? Because you don’t need brake lights. You don’t need turning signals. You stick your arm out of the window and it’s either up, down, or something else, I think it’s like if you point left, that’s left, if you point right, that’s a right turn, and then if you point down, or … wait, if you make a fist, but downward, then that’s braking.

It doesn’t matter, you can look them up online. But just let me borrow the car one more time. I’ll run some errands for you on the way back. Oooh, sorry, I’m coming back way too late to make a grocery store run. Yeah, I know that Key Food is open twenty-four hours, but, well, I can’t show my face in Key Food anymore. It’s not even the manager so much as it is the deli guy. We had this incident in the parking lot, but I’m telling you, I promise, it wasn’t with your car. It was somebody else’s car. And if that idiot manager would just hand over the surveillance tapes, I’m almost positive, no not almost positive, I’m positive positive that we’d have video proof that it was the deli guy’s fault. He should have been behind the counter anyway, what kind of hours are they keeping? That was like primetime sandwich hour.

But yeah, no Key Food. And I think Stop-and-Shop closes at midnight. Well yeah, I was planning on coming back at three. Well yeah, Trade Fair is open twenty-four hours, but there’s never anybody there at that time of night, you know, you have to walk in the exit, and the deli section isn’t open. Don’t you want cold cuts? It’ll just be easier to do one complete grocery store trip during regular business hours. Come on, just let me have the car, and then let me have it again tomorrow and I’ll do your errands, although I’m just saying … wait.

Wait, I’ll pay for gas for tonight, fine, but I’m not filling her up tomorrow if it’s just a regular run. And get off my case about the receipts, all right? Like if you say you want a pound of turkey, I’ll get you a pound of turkey, don’t worry about how much you think a pound of turkey at Trade Fair costs. Like I’m just saying, if I find it somewhere else for a little less, well … look, you weren’t planning on spending that much money on turkey anyway. It’s like, if you call up a delivery service and the guy says it’s going to be ten dollars, you’re paying ten dollars, right? You don’t have to ask for a receipt, right?

Well, I don’t know, I guess you could ask for a receipt. Well, like for example, if I find a coupon, right? Like if you want something and are willing to pay x amount of dollars, and I find the coupon, that’s my savings. You give money to me, I find coupon, right? Don’t you get it? Like find your own coupon.

Well I don’t have my own car, that’s why I’m here. Come on, mom always told me to share my stuff with you when we were little kids, don’t you think she’d want you to let me borrow the car? And what about those scratches from last month? Didn’t I tell you I’d take care of it? Yeah, well, it’s a similar shade of red. I don’t know why you insisted on buying red anyway, mister flashy over here. You know cops are more than ten times a likely to pull over a red car, right?

And that basically takes care of that first third chance I was talking about earlier. Fourth chance, third chance, whatever, sorry I’m not writing down every number that I ever come in contact with like you do. Do you need a receipt for this conversation? What are you, an accountant? I’m just saying, the cop pulled me over not because of my driving, but because of your fancy-pants red car. Maybe if it were gray, blue even, maybe he would have let it slide.

And nobody drives just the speed limit. And you should have reminded me where you keep the insurance. No, I don’t think it’s an obvious place, the glove compartment. Excuse me for not wanting to snoop around your personal glove compartments. And what if there was something in there that shouldn’t have been, a gun? I have no idea. I don’t know what your position is on weapons, on guns in the car. You’re a good guy and everything, but I don’t really know you. How well should I know you? What kind of a guy gives out a car and doesn’t think, oh yeah, here’s a little something you should know about registration, about insurance.

Just, I’m tired, yes or no, car or no car. No car? Fine. Can I get a ride? No? Well, if I’m in trouble later, will you pick me up? Well can I call you? I don’t know, maybe you’ll be in a better mood later. Just, mom, stay out of this all right? If you’re not going to help me out, just don’t say anything, because I thought at least you’d at least be on my side, it’s totally not fair, remember the time I was playing Nintendo, and I was on the last level of Super Mario World, and he comes down, he’s like, “Mom! I want to play too!” and you were like, “Let your brother play too!” I don’t care if that was twenty years ago! I never got back to that boss level. You could at least tell him to let me borrow his car. Well you don’t have to force him, but you don’t have to side with him either. You could’ve just said nothing. Didn’t you used to say something like that? About not having anything good to say so you don’t say anything? What the hell?

I was a victim of road rage

People think road rage is a big joke. Maybe. I don’t really know. I didn’t really ask anybody what they thought about road rage, or about anything else really. I just thought that it would be a good way to open up this discussion about road rage. And by discussion, I mean me, talking, discussing, kind of a one-sided thing, sure. But it doesn’t matter, like I said, it was just an opening, a way for me to say something like: people think it’s a big joke, but it’s not a joke. It’s serious.


I should know. I’ve been the victim of road rage several times. What I mean to say is, road rage has hijacked my mind on a number of occasions, leaving me completely vulnerable to wild mood swings while on the road. And to be slightly more literal, if it’s even possible to be more or less literal, one time for example, and I’m just going to get the punch line out of the way here early so you don’t think I’m wasting your time, it turned out that I was driving next to this giant truck, a giant polished steel truck, it was like cruising next to a huge mirror.

And so I had a big case of road rage against myself. I was both the perpetrator and the victim, which is really like double victimhood, because I happen to think that if you’re in the grips of a bad case of road rage, it’s out of your hands entirely, you’re just another victim of your own angry driving. But this time, with the mirrors, it was twice as bad. I looked to my right, again, it was me, my reflection, but I didn’t know this at the time, not yet, I was just minding my own and I just saw this joker staring back at me.

“Why don’t you keep your eyes on the road buddy!” I screamed out the window, but he (me) was screaming something back. You know where this is going to go right? Yeah, it was me. I was working myself up into a real frenzy. But somewhere in the middle of the rage, a rational part of my head kicked in, it said, Rob, what are you going to solve by screaming at this doofus? Why not try killing him with kindness?

I thought, yeah, I’ll smile and wave, give a really big exaggerated thumbs-up. That’ll show this asshole. So I did it, and I keep saying this over and over again, but it was my own reflection, so as I saw me try to kill myself with kindness, my fury came roaring back, I think I became more violent than ever. I started honking, I swerved a little closer to the right. No luck, because, seeing as how it was just me, it looked like this guy was trying the same trick.

Wow, I thought, this guy doesn’t fuck around. Maybe it was time to cool it off a little bit before something dangerous happened. I put my foot on the brakes and the mirror truck took off in front of me. I instantly realized what was going on, and I’d never felt more stupid. I looked at my reflection in the rearview mirror. My face was beet red, the veins by my temples bulging and pulsating.

I made a promise to myself right there that I’d turn my attitude around, for real this time, for good. Whatever it is that’s the opposite of road rage, I’d do that starting right that minute. It was time for a whole new outlook on motorized transportation. So I stopped at the light and turned my blinker on to make the next right. But I looked to the side and, to the right of me was another car, it wanted to go left. Huh, that was funny, we were in different lanes, he needed to make a left, I needed to make a right. We’d have to cross.

Normally something like this would have instantly caused me to start revving my engine, inching up closer to ensure that, the exact second that the light turns green, maybe even just before, that I’d be the one to turn first, me. But that was the old me. The new me wanted to be friendly, compassionate, so I waved the car on to go first.

Again, I don’t want to beat around the bush, but it wound up being another mirror truck. I’m not sure if it was the same one or if there was some sort of a mirror truck convoy going on, but you can imagine what happened next. No you go. No, you go. No, I insist. Seriously, I’m not moving. Well I’m not either. Well who the hell do you think you …

And then the mirror truck moved and I realized what was going on, again, I couldn’t believe it. So I started laughing. You’ve just got to let things go sometimes, right? You’ve just got to bow to the absurd and let it all roll off your shoulders.

But then the cop behind me hit his lights. “Pull over.” I pulled over. “What seems to be the problem officer?”

“Are you serious? I’ve been watching you for ten minutes, screaming, laughing, and now you’re just stopped here at this green light. What are you drunk?”

And I know I shouldn’t have resisted, but that cop just got me so pissed off, I got into a pulled-over rage, which, I’d like to make the distinction between road rage. If anything, it was curb rage, because, yeah, I pulled over. That dumb cop. I was the victim here! We were both victims! But he wouldn’t listen. He made me get out of the car and walk the line and blow into the breathalyzer, and when it came out clean, when I stood on one foot while counting backwards from fifty, he still wrote me a ticket, five hundred dollars and a four-point violation for road rage. It wasn’t road rage! I’m getting so angry just thinking about it! I’m a fucking victim here, goddamn it! And why the hell would a truck be covered by totally polished mirrors on the sides? What kind of a purpose does that serve?