It took me years to discover I’m happiest when I wear a lot of hats.
Politics was my thing in high school but the game of it, all the hi-how-ya-doin just to get elected, it wore me out. That’s why I gravitated toward a philosophy major in college, which gave me plenty of time to think and not say hi to anybody, but sent me off on a two-year depression bender. So I partied my way through a low-ranked MBA program, which snapped me out of that depression in a hurry, but one of our famous Night to Network Naked parties left me with a rash no cream would soothe, and I realized all too literally that business is a dirty game.
Finally, I decided to make a go of it at something noble for a change, something where I could get out there, hit the streets, make a difference, and defend all the noble hardworking white people from everybody else—I became a police officer. I found that job to be the most satisfying of the bunch, but I quickly learned a tough lesson: power corrupts. Or it corrupts me, anyway.
February, I was just a sweet guy with an interest in justice; by March, I found myself standing on the highway’s shoulder, watching this big man’s man struggle to hold back his tears because of the vivid scenario I’d created in which his illegal U-turn gets a happily-singing family of five killed on the way to the beach. Then I told him I’d let him off with a warning—a warning and a ticket. Then I made him get out of the car and I beat him with my club, just once, in the belly.
My cop buddies said it was fine, I was just enjoying my work, but I wasn’t convinced, so I pulled over a woman with a “Therapists Do It… something dirty with a double meaning” bumper sticker and asked her what she thought. It was her husband’s car, she said. She was a florist. But she listened anyway and told me that what I’d done sounded pretty cruel, considering that a U-turn is victimless crime. It pissed me off that she took the U-turner’s side, so I busted her for a DUI. But then I got to thinking: She’s right. I’m a monster.
I handed in my badge that day.
The chief wouldn’t take it. He said I wasn’t allowed to quit. He was pretty hard up for men on the force. There were all these women applying around that time and he was a sexist. He said, “Look, I’ll cut your hours down to thirty. That way you can spend your free time listening to tapes on how not to be an asshole.”
I said that wasn’t the point. The point was that I was a corrupt cop. I showed him the dime bag I’d shaken off a guy earlier that day. He showed me his dime bag. We laughed at our corruption. He said, “How few hours will it take to keep you on the force?” I worked it out in my head and said I could give him 4-6 hours. He was pissed. Said he had volunteers who worked more hours than that. But he didn’t want to hire a woman, so I officially became a part-timer.
I got another part-time job using my business skills selling knives door to door, then another job writing about my political and philosophical opinions on a blog and asking for donations on the sidebar. Most of my posts were about flag-burning, which I contended should only be legal for people who have a sense of humor about it.
The best thing about going part-time at all these jobs was that I got to make my own hours. I wore street clothes like an undercover cop and when I saw someone doing something wrong, I arrested them. Or if I didn’t feel like it, I didn’t arrest them. My conscience was clean.
My part-time status got me through plenty of situations that could have been immoral had I remained a full-time cop. Like when I was at this dive bar, Oscar’s, and these two little Swiss guys got into a fight. I went on duty and whooped both their asses, restoring peace to the establishment. Then I went off duty and screamed, “Who else wants some?” and three other guys took me up on it. The first two were a cinch but the final challenger was enormous. He pummeled me within an inch of my life. While he beat me, I silently went back on duty. And the law says it’s a federal offense to assault a police officer. I shot that meathead in the shoulder. And then, when I didn’t feel like filing a report, I went off duty and ran out into the night.
Or like when I saw a woman let her dog do its business in the park. I went on duty and told her that was illegal. She apologized and said she’d go get a plastic baggie at her place, which was close by. I said I’d hang on to the pup as collateral, so she had no choice but to keep her word. While I waited there, the dog started whimpering, which struck me as unusual. Clearly this pooch was abused, but just when I would have called animal services, I went off duty. The dog was a beagle. I’ve always wanted a beagle. You know what he did then? He licked my face. Well I took that beagle in both arms and I ran home, stopping only once to go on duty and tell a kid to walk on the crosswalk instead of next to the crosswalk. The kid said, “Nice dog.” I said, “Thanks! His name is Sammy,” then went back off duty and resumed the rescue, pro-bono.
Or the time I was on duty selling knives and off duty as a cop and found myself at the door of the local whorehouse. The pimp let me in and I cut a penny for him. He had me cut a few more. It felt great, slicing all that obsolete currency. The pimp said he’d give me a free half hour with one of the girls for a set of them knives. I went on duty as a cop and told him that pimping was illegal then went off duty from both jobs and said, “OK.” The girl I got was very pretty but wouldn’t do the thing I was in the mood to do so I went on duty and reminded her that prostitution was illegal. Then she agreed to do the thing as long as we kept the lights on and I let her put towels down everywhere. So I went off duty again and ended up paying for those knives myself on the installment. It was worth it.
Then, on the last day of my life, I was buying some coke from my dealer, only to find that the price had gone way up—criminally high, if you ask me. Well he didn’t ask me and I didn’t have enough to pay him, so I went on duty. I cuffed him and called for backup on my cell. My dealer tried to strangle me with his cuffs, but I slipped out of his clutches and shot him eight times in the everywhere. When backup showed, I went off duty and distributed the coke around and my ex-partner Dennis turned on some tunes and his new partner Evan invited some girls over. I kept it to myself, but I was disappointed with those guys, being so corrupt while on duty. We partied in there ‘til pretty late, but had to stop when the downstairs neighbors complained about the blood that was dripping onto their bedroom carpet.
Well we were all getting ready to go when one of the girls who showed up late asked me to tell the story about the dealer. So Evan and I acted it out—He was the dealer and I was me—and when we got to the part about the dealer trying to strangle me, Evan actually strangled me. Not on purpose, you understand, just coked out of his gourd.
Then I found myself in an office with the Devil. He looked like you’d think. I was about to go on duty and arrest him on the spot, but he caught me off-guard when he asked me, “How much are those knives there?” I went on duty as a businessman. “These aren’t just any knives,” I said, and cut a penny for the Devil. He was impressed. “Cut another one,” he said. I did it. I told him I’d give him the knives gratis in exchange for my eternal soul, much like the deal I made at the whorehouse. “Cut another one,” he said, and led me to a gymnasium full of pennies. Sharp guy, that Devil. He knows that the true test of a knife is endurance. So I’ve been cutting pennies round the clock for a couple of weeks now, and he comes by every so often to watch. It’s just a matter of time before he’ll be ready to make a deal. CutCo is going to be pissed at all the knives I’ve been giving away, but at this point, my feeling is: to hell with them. There was always something just a little shady about those guys.
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