You just gotta have fun……
One night we were dispatched to a traffic collision in an alley with no details. The caller reported possibly hearing a crash after car was skidding up and down the alley.
We drove the alleys of the neighborhood, but couldn’t find any damage. We then saw a car that matched the description and stopped it.
It turned out to be the correct car except there was no collision damage. The driver confirmed everything the caller had described, which included the skidding and fast driving through the alleys. To top it off, he was unlicensed.
I thought we were going to impound his vehicle since he was unlicensed, but my partner, who was training as a new traffic officer, said the driver could keep his car. My mouth fell open when I heard that.
I said, “Hold on. You have to answer a question correctly or we’re going to impound your car.”
He pointed to the other officer and said, “He told me I could keep the car.”
“I know, but I’m in charge here,”
He looked back and forth at us, as I tried to keep a straight face.
“How many continents are there in the world?” I asked.
The confused look on his face was priceless. It was as if his head was about to explode.
“Um, Thirty four?”
“No, seven,” I said as I corrected him like a TV game show host with a buzzer in the background.
His head involuntarily bounced back as he rolled his eyes and threw his arms up in the air like he had just dropped the game winning touchdown pass.
“Ok, let’s try another question. Name the president who was assassinated in 1865.”
He couldn’t even answer it. I probably started with questions that were too hard. He was clearly not the Trivial Pursuit champion.
“It was Abraham Lincoln,” I said.
“Lincoln wasn’t president when he was shot.”
“Yes he was,” I said.
“No, he wasn’t.”
I had to take a commercial break to help educate this guy on where, when and who shot Abraham Lincoln.
After I was done I asked, “Did you finish high school?”
“Okay. What was Abraham Lincoln’s mother’s name?”
“I don’t know,” he said with a frustrated look.
“It was Mrs. Lincoln,” I replied with a smile.
Again the arms went up and the head went back in frustration.
That’s when I broke out the “rock, paper, scissors” game and said he could keep his car if he won.
He looked back and forth at us like he couldn’t believe this was happening. I put my hands in the starting position and said, “On three.” He reluctantly put his hands up to play.
Just as we started to hit our palms, I stopped and said, “Let’s make this interesting. If I win, you go to jail too.”
His eyes almost flew out of his head when he heard that. I was trying my hardest not to laugh at this point.
Now it was time to play. He bent his knees and raised his hands to the ready position. He tapped his feet as he crouched down like a tennis player at The French Open waiting for the serve to come his way.
The tension mounted as we started counting “1, 2, 3,” at the same time our fists hit our open palms.
We both had “rock” the first time.
Then we both had “paper” the second time. The competition was fierce.
The guy was totally into it now. He was concentrating as if every strike of his palm was his last. It was like sudden death overtime in a football playoff game. We then tied the third time as he both showed “rock” again.
I finally let him off the hook and said he could keep his car. The look of relief on his face was like the “Thrill of Victory” from the opening credits of Wide World of Sports. I could swear he was breathing hard after too.
I then asked, “What did you learn tonight?”
He said, “I learned Lincoln was killed in the movie theater.”
“No! There were no movie theaters in 1865. It was just a theater,” I said as I shook my head in disbelief.
“What else did you learn?”
“There are seven continents in the world.”
“Don’t drive without a f#^!ing license.”
After it was all said and done, I didn’t feel bad at all. He could’ve crashed and hurt someone.
Plus, he didn’t get a ticket, so entertaining me was the least he could do.