A few years ago, I was driving home after dropping off our crazy dog Skittles at Bark-A-Bout. It’s her home away from home whenever we’re on vacation. Since my wife and I were preparing for our annual trip down to Destin, Florida, I was already in beach mode. Sunshine, seafood, and beer were on my mind. That said, I didn’t notice the flashing crosswalk lights in front of the Havel Elementary School on Schoenherr road. The speed limit is normally 50 miles per hour in that area, except when those lights are flashing. Then it drops down to 35 mph. Since I was the unlucky gazelle at the back of the herd, I got pinged by a cop aiming what looked like a hairdryer at me. Unfortunately, I knew exactly what that meant, radar gun.
After Officer Too Young To Shave pulled me over, I was fuming. If I had been in the middle of the pack, I’m sure I would have been safe from his clutches. Curses! When he strolled up to the car, I decided to play the Cop Card. My brother is a retired police officer, so I expected the Law of Reciprocity to kick in. After I mentioned my brother’s name and rank, Officer Fresh Out of Diapers reply was, “I don’t know him.” WHAT? I didn’t ask if you knew him, I was cashing in my Cop Card! I don’t pretend to know the procedure when somebody drops a cop’s name to beat a ticket, but I’m pretty sure the answer isn’t “I don’t know him.” Later, as I complained about this to my brother, he said the new kids on the block don’t recognize the Ticket Barter System (my term, not his) that has served family members and friends of police officers for decades. I tossed the ticket on the passenger seat and grumbled all the way home.
Since I had some time on my hands, I decided to appear for my court date and see if I could catch a break. Officer Poopy Pants showed up, of course. The Judge gave all of us miscreants in attendance a One Time Offer, to plead Guilty to Impeding (the topic of a future article). Since this would result in paying a fine without having any points being added to our licenses, most of us took the deal. However, the penalty for Impeding was $175!! Good Lord! I reluctantly paid the ticket, while grumbling something about the Judge’s mother and resisted the urge to burn rubber out of the parking lot. However, I have learned my lesson, at least where that school is concerned. Now, whenever I head down Schoenherr, I am constantly aware of whether those lights are flashing or not. It still smarts that I was the limping gazelle at the back of the pack, in a red car no less. Picked off by a Peach-Fuzzed Cop, with a hairdryer. Oh well, live and learn I guess.
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