A Monologue, By That Thing In The Parking Lot

Our narrator, in the rain, in the parking lot, just before he began to speak. (copyright, me)

Back then, I was really something. I had purpose. Nothing moved without my say so. It looks like that time has passed. Here I am now, sitting in some parking lot, in the rain.

I made things work. I got things done. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m smart enough to know I didn’t do it all. On my own, I was just something. But when I was part of something I’d keep the others in line and help them do their jobs. They did so much. We worked together, we were like a machine, we were a team. Read the rest of this entry »

A Thought About Helping Newtown

Those of you who’ve been coming here for a while know that I’ve been a police officer for, well, a really long time.

(image via newtown patch)

My colleagues and I tend to minimize what we do. We’ve all got our assigned specialties or things we do because we’re good at them. To say we do them routinely is a disservice to those acts. Perhaps the best way to say it is that we do them well without thinking about what it looks like to our peers and the public.

As an example, I have a particular specialized assignment. It suits me. Other officers ask me how I do it, how I put up with some aspects of that assignment and finish the conversations with “I couldn’t do what you do”.

It strikes me that the person who is saying those things to me might be a detective who investigates fatal traffic accidents, or a vice officer who deals with unspeakably bad folks, or someone who runs 911 calls all day every day and never sees anyone who is having a good day. They all look at what I do and say “I couldn’t do what you do”. The funny thing is, I say the same thing back to them. I don’t know how my friends investigate child sex abuse cases. I’ll work drug cases, but I don’t like them. I’ve handled traffic fatalities, but how someone does so over and over is beyond me.

There are two things that we all agree on when we bump into one another in the hall. One is that we all have great jobs that are sadly necessary. The other is that there is always someone else who has it worse. Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking The Fourth Wall

Chatting isn’t really my strong suit. I’m more of a people watcher. I watch and fill in the blanks.

Comedy and tragedy masks

The same play has been running for 51 years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, I’m not exactly a hermit. It’d be more accurate to say that I start slowly with most folks. I can hold my own once I connect, but until I do, I watch.

Being a quiet observer is entertaining. There are so many people in my world who I don’t know. I see them; I form impressions based on what I see and who they’re with. Since I don’t interact with them all that much, I decide what they’re up to as our paths intersect and divide.

In a way, going through life as I do is like moving through a play. I’ve watched this production for fifty-one years. My play has no real plot, but I give it exceptional reviews.  I’m not sure about the director’s artistic vision because I have no sense of where the play is going. Each act is different and barely related to the last.

Some of the actors appear almost daily. Others take a cameo role and are never seen again.

A few days ago, a plot twist came up in my play. I never saw it coming. You see, I don’t get involved in the play. I just watch it as my world goes by me. A few days ago, the play got involved with me. Read the rest of this entry »

Channeling Hawkeye Pierce

Perhaps you’re old enough to recall the run of the television show, M*A*S*H. If you aren’t, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen it in reruns.

Hawkeye Pierce (public domain image via wikimedia)

M*A*S*H focused on life in an Army mobile field hospital unit during the Korean War. While the setting was serious, the show was usually funny, with the occasional moments that made the point that war is a terrible thing. The central character, Captain Benjamin Franklin (Hawkeye) Pierce, was unfailingly witty. Even under the most difficult circumstance, he always had the right thing to say, and that right thing to say was always something new…except for that one line.

Hawkeye found himself helplessly caught in the crossfire of artillery on more than one occasion. Such is the nature of being a television Army Surgeon in the Korean War. Captain Pierce would soldier on, doing the best he could while the guns rumbled and the shells exploded just off-screen. The sound of the artillery barrage was such a presence in the background that it was almost like another character in the story.

Then, as the story reached its peak of tension, Hawkeye would utter the only lines I remember him repeating. He’d ask “hey, do you hear that?” The character he was addressing would say “I don’t hear anything”. “That’s what I mean, the shelling has stopped”. Not until he said that, would the audience or the other characters realize that the artillery bombardment had stopped.

(public domain image via wikimedia)

This presidential election has been a miserable affair.  It seemed there were few places a person could go to avoid contact with the Obama or Romney campaigns.

Each side brought out the heavy artillery to destroy the other. There was a barrage of shameful ads from both sides. The parties recruited surrogates to drop the bombs deemed too unseemly for a presidential candidate to deliver.

In the end, they rained misery down upon those of us unfortunate enough to live in their crossfire. We soldiered on, suffered the attacks more than either candidate and did our patriotic duty. We got our little “I Voted” stickers.

The votes have been counted. The victor has been declared.

Hey, do you hear that?

A Nonpartisan Proposal On Political Ads

Want the job? Stay out of my football games. (public domain image)

Hey, did you know there’s an election coming up? Two guys are running for President of the United States,  other politicians are running for office too. The campaign started seventeen years ago.

Perhaps you’re as sick of both the campaigns and their ads as I am. If you are, I’ve got a proposal to get us some relief.

Minds Are Made Up

This election will end in a little over a month. That one month will feel like at least a dozen. During that period, candidates will  punish us with countless ads. Why? What have we done to deserve this?

Unless one of the candidates snacks on a panda during a debate, I’ve already decided how to vote. I think that most of us have selected the candidate we feel is the lesser of two evils. So who are these ads targeting? A minority who still feels the need for more information. Read the rest of this entry »

Go Buy Clyde Roy’s (And His Son’s) Book

I don’t do book reviews. They just are not my thing.

Even though I can’t draw, I’ll talk about art. I’ll talk about music in great detail, even though I can’t play or sing a note. I can write, but I don’t review books.

It comes with a top-notch cover, free of charge.

So, that said, I’m telling you that I like a book by one of my fellow bloggers and recommend that you get it.

Todd Pack has co-authored and published a book with his dad, Clyde Roy Pack. “Pretty Babies Grow Up Ugly” describes and muses upon superstitions and folk cures from the Appalachian Mountain region.

Clyde produced a newspaper cartoon called “Poison Oak and Country Folk” until 1998. He based the cartoons upon folk cures suggested by his readers. Many of the original cartoons are reproduced in the book and the suggestions drive the book.

Authors go on talk shows to promote their books all the time. It’s usually apparent that the interviewer hasn’t read the book, but they urge you to get it anyhow.

Well, I’m urging you to buy “Pretty Babies Grow Up Ugly”. You might ask, “why should I? How does this differ from a dopey talk show interview?” Let me count the ways.

First off, Todd and his Dad are not here.  Neither is some actress in a very impractical dress. I’m the only one here.

More importantly, I’ve read most of the book. Yeah, I know, most is not all. Give me a break, I work for a living. Most is a hell of a lot more than Jay Leno would read before he suggested that you part with your cash. I’m suggesting you buy the book. I’ll finish up before you because I have a head start.

The book is available for Kindle. If you prefer a real book and smite people with, you can order one from Story/ATOM Publishing.

PS – Don’t have a Kindle? You can get a free app for your smart phone that will allow you to read the book. Free app, $2.99 book. Dig.

Tips For A Successful Job Interview

I have a specialized assignment at work. After some cajoling, I got my bosses to agree to select the person who will fill my position when I retire next year. That gave me a chance to interview the people who were competing for my job.

Interviewing my potential replacements was a little like attending my own funeral, without having to hold quite so still. Several candidates referred to me by name, with me sitting right there as part of the interview panel. They all said nice things about me, and they’d glance over when they mentioned me. I did sort of stay still and smiled just a little. I thought I looked very natural.

During the interviews, I realized that people sabotage their own efforts to get jobs. Today, I’m going to help job seekers by discussing mistakes that I saw during this last set of interviews.

Be On Time

Be on time. The interviewer knows how to work this. (image via wikimedia)

Your interviewer should never have to wait for you. Be early.

An early arrival impresses interviewers and gains you a few minutes to prepare yourself for what is to come. Planning to be early also provides you a time cushion for unexpected traffic or other factors that change “right on time” to “apologetically late”.

If you are late, admit it and apologize. Those who are in a position to hire and fire others are bright enough to read a clock. Your interviewer knows that you are late. Say you are sorry.

Remember, part of any job is arriving when you are expected. Nothing says “I am not the one you want” like showing up late for a job interview.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dictionary Pictures Aren’t Superfluous

Remember dictionaries? I’m not talking about those online things we all access now. I’m referring to those big, dusty, old books that took up shelf space in our classrooms and homes.

An 1888 advertisement for Webster’s Unabridged...

An 1888 advertisement for Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They’d wait there on their shelves, standing by for the next chance to go to work as the ultimate arbiters of important matters like spelling, pronunciation, use, and meaning.

Some dictionaries were so revered that they were far too special to sit on a mere shelf. They sat in a special holder that sat on top of the shelves that held all the lesser books.

When you respected a word enough to ensure you were using it correctly, a dictionary was the friend you wanted by your side. Read the rest of this entry »


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