Gallows Humor (Cop Humor)

Water Jockeys Are People, Too

So, to be fair to the firefighters and EMS folks, they deserve their comedic due here, as well.  At least an Honorable Mention, right, despite my obvious bias. They actually get to span the gap between the patrol cops and detectives and live a bit in both worlds. Their crews are sometimes first on-scene, and they often have to hang around until all the human-turned-public-mess is cleaned up.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth a periodic retelling for all the folks new to the group. I heard about this call from a friend who worked as an EMT before he grew up and went to the police academy. The way he told it, he was one of the first guys to respond to a call for an elderly deceased patient. The gentleman had died at home, in his own bed sometime in the night, just like how we all wanna someday make the transition ourselves.  By the time his wife realized he’d passed, the body had already gone into rigor and had no chance of reanimation.  Lucky bastard.

Anyway, so my buddy was waiting for the EKG to show up so they could give a pronouncement in the field.  By the time the gear got there for the them to officially confirm what everyone there already knew, a small group of various EMS and police personnel were standing around the bedroom.  It’s important to know (a) his wife had already been taken out of the house and (b) the gentleman had died while sleeping on his right side with his right arm extended.  Either his wife or the first cop through the door had rolled the man over onto his back, but had thankfully left him on the bed.  Being still in rigor, that extended right arm stayed extended.

So, I tell you all that to tell you this.  The paramedic steps in with the EKG and sees the group standing around waiting for his arrival.  The gathered mass parts like the Red Sea.

“Sorry we took so long getting here, guys,” the paramedic offered.  “Sir,” he calls out and points to the dearly departed, “you have a question before we start?”

On another call, we had a drunk driver reported to us.  Dude decided to help himself to a whole buncha pints at the local watering hole before getting in his truck and driving off.  Biggest giveaway for the 911 caller that he was impaired was that he was towing a trailer. Musta forget he was hitched up, though, because he swiped a good half-dozen cars in the parking lot on his way to the street.  Didn’t notice, didn’t stop, just kept right on rollin’.

My partner puts his squad car at an intersection along the man’s projected flight path and sees him approaching with the trailer. From the nearby surveillance video we recovered after-the-fact, my partner called out the truck about the time it entered the intersection and started veering left. We think he nodded off for a few seconds.  As the truck and trailer get close to going head-on into a center median, the driver comes to, panics, and overcorrects to the right.  Maybe ‘under,’ depending on your perspective.  Anyway, he hits a metal-and-concrete abstract sculpture in the median with enough force to send the truck airborne, rolls and lands on the passenger side, and slides to a stop just past the intersection.

One of the funniest parts of all this to me was from the video. My partner turns on the emergency lights and asks for Dispatch to start fire crews that way and send him a few more cops to help out.  The rest of the drivers around him, though?  The ones that just saw all this happen? They didn’t do shit! My partner clears the intersection, and heads over to check on the driver and anyone else inside. All the other drivers just kept on truckin’ like nothing was wrong. For my money, there was a collective sigh of relief that one drunk had taken one for the team and made sure every other impaired driver in the area had a chance to get away.

Anyhow, I tell you all that to tell you this.  I finally show up, take up a traffic control position, and it’s pretty obvious how the wreck happened from the scene. Ended up talking with one of the firefighters working a broom to get the car parts swept up, and asked him how the driver was doing.

That asshole?  He’s fiiine.” He pointed over to the far side of the fire truck that was parked to block traffic. I look over and see the guy standing up on the sidewalk and miserably failing the roadside DUI tests. “He was so drunk and relaxed on impact, wreck didn’t do anything but wake his dumbass up. Dude climbed outta the truck himself, we just had to make sure he didn’t face-plant on the asphalt getting out.”

“How’d that go?”

“He asks us who hit him!”

“What’d you say?”

“We pointed to the artwork, and told him Salvadore Dali got him. He looks over at the sculpture, stumbles a bit, and looks back at us. ‘Never trusted that guy,’ he says. Hilarious!”

“At least he saved the cab fare.”

“Yeah,” the water jockey surmised. “Dude’s gonna get his punchcard filled now that he won’t have a license for the next six months.”

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