73.5 F

Davis, California

Monday, April 22, 2024

Column: Get my wallet out of the bag

It’s the one that says ‘Bad Motherfucker’ on it, just like Samuel L. Jackson’s. Yeah, be cool, ladies. I got in trouble with Johnny Law again.

It was last Saturday night. Wait, wait, let me put my shades on and light this cigarette indoors. Okay, so as I was saying, it was last Saturday night, and I was biking down L Street with a friend when the road started flashing red and blue.

Oh, no. The police.

Truth be told, I’ve been terrified of cops ever since I saw T-1000 do his liquid metal mayhem when I was a kid. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, put this newspaper down right now and go watch Terminator 2. I guarantee you’ll love it. If you don’t, I’ll buy you a sandwich and a beer (figuratively).

Anyway, back to the streets. My friend and I were biking, each of us carrying a 12-pack of that smooth pilsner, Natural Light, headed back to the kick-it spot. We were eager to get there and be praised as heroes for going out into the cold to buy the beer. And to get out of the cold.

Not on this officer’s watch, however. He pulled us over and walked over to us with his huge, really bright flashlight.

Policeman: “Let me see some ID.”

Us: “Okay.”

We were both of legal drinking age, so that was all good. But I was starting to sweat. He was getting too close to our dark secret.

Policeman: “Where are your bike lights?”

Oh shit.

Wait, that actually wasn’t a problem. We each had bike lights that were on. Like, actually on. Shining.

Us: “They are on our bikes.”

Policeman: “Okay, well, I couldn’t see them from 300 yards away.” Us: “Sorry, officer.”

Policeman: “All right, get out of here.”

That was it.

Maybe that story doesn’t earn me a Ph.D. in gangsterology or a spot in the Wu-Tang Clan, but that goes to show you the kind of trouble you can get into on the streets of Davis. Be warned, freshmen. Be warned. Warned of what, however, I can’t tell you. I still don’t know why we got pulled over.

What I was thankful for was the police officer being cool about it, as was the other officer who showed up for some reason. (To make sure we weren’t wearing other people’s heads as hats, maybe.)

That’s the real gamble when getting stopped by the police. They can be cool, or they can be most unchill.

The trick to having things work in your favor is simple: Be pleasant and mostly honest. I’ve seen with my own eyes people being total assholes to cops and getting tickets as a result.

Here’s an example. Once a bunch of friends and I were hanging out in a backyard, talking and listening to music and whatnot. It was kind of late. Someone came through the back gate with a flashlight. My friend Griffandolo politely inquired as to the identity of the stranger:

Griffandolo: “Yo, who the fuck is that in my backyard?”

Policeman: “It’s the police.”

Needless to say, that one didn’t turn out so well. I can’t really fault my friend. I thought it was someone with a really great bike light. The kind I need on my bike, I guess.

The police know what’s up. They were our age once, they drank beer, they got into trouble. I talked to a couple off-duty cops at a bar in Denver once, and they were awesome. Told great stories about people driving through other people’s garage doors, thinking they were at home, then swearing they were sober despite having only one shoe and reeking of gin.

I’ve found the best way to deal with the men in blue is to be honest/mostly honest, polite and treat them like regular human beings. Unless, of course, they’re not human. You know, like liquid metal robots from the future bent on killing you.

If that’s the case, run straight to Arnold’s office in Sacramento and tell him what’s up. That will be the safest place, he dealt with that kind of thing in his last line of work. California may have its earthquakes, but we’ll never have to sweat killer robots or invisible aliens. And I thank God for that.

WILL LONG once had fools break into his house. He was glad to have the police to call then. He also has had the bass up too loud at parties. Not so glad at those times. Tell him how responsible of a citizen he sounds like at wclong@ucdavis.edu.


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