Monday, June 20, 2005

A uniform opinion

Yesterday I had a conversation about uniforms. Actually it was about the folks I call "Wackers".

A whacker is a person, usually a volunteer firefighter or ambulance driver. Most of the volunteers are good people, but the with the wacker thrown into the mix it gives the whole group a bad name.

We've all seen wackers.

You know the type. The guy/girl who has six pagers on their belt, along with two cell phones, a two-way radio and a police scanner. Along with the little EMS pouch with gloves, scissors, penlight. Shit like that.

And their vehicle is a dead giveaway too. It had the same amount of radio equipment, light bar, spotlights EMS/ firefighter vanity tags and enough antennas to give the appearance that the car is actually a shrimp boat.

And these wackers never take off their uniform. They could only be on-call or have duty at the fire house one day a month, but you always see them in their uniform. They sleep in the damn thing I think.

Most of these folks have a monumental inferiority complex and have a huge hero thing going. They have to feel important in what would be a relatively boring and useless life selling produce at the local Kroger's. And most have failed the entrance exam to the police or fire academy several times, and struggled with the EMT basic course, failing that six or seven times until they finally pass.

Makes you feel safe, huh?

They show up to weddings, barmitzvas, christenings, funerals with the ever present uniform, and never turn off their scanner or radio so throughout the whole ceremony or party you hear the incessant beeps and shit coming from the damn thing.

They get off on this shit.

They wack off to it.

They get a boner every time they hear a siren or the pager go off it gives them a woody. Hence, I call them "Wackers".

My friend who I was talking with said that the only reason they wear the uniform is to pick up women. I had to grudgingly agree, because my police uniform was definitely a chick-magnet.

Granted, most of the women attracted to me when I was a cop were certifiable...

I learned early on in my career as a police officer that the uniform attracts far to much unwanted attention so I began wearing my civvies to and from work and changing in the locker room. That's why they provided one to us in the first place. Nothing on my personal vehicle said "Cop". I didn't have handcuffs hanging from the rear-view mirror. The only thing that said anything about my profession in my car was a well-worn ash nightstick hidden under the front seat for obvious reasons.

I did not want to draw unwanted attention to myself.

There's a reason for this. It's Cop Rule #6, which states; "The amount of excitement one has is in direct correlation and proportionate to the amount of paperwork one has to fill out."

ie; More action and excitement = More paperwork

I hate paperwork with a goddamn passion.

Also the scanners get me. My ex bought me a really expensive police scanner our first year dating. I thanked her and put it away in the bedroom closet.

I listened to the police band eight to twelve hours a shift, six days a week. The last fucking thing I wanted to listen to on my time off was police calls.

Uniforms can be an asset in one way though. As far back as I can remember I've worn a uniform of some sort. Eight years of Catholic grade school then four years of Catholic highschool. Five years in the army. Ten on the police department. It alleviates a lot of decision making. I recall so many times in the past where the women I was with at the time would spend hours deciding what to wear for work that day and I knew for sure what I was wearing.

The same damn thing I wore yesterday and the day before.

Factoid: Albert Einstein had seven suits, all the same. The reason? He didn't want to have to expend the energy deciding what to wear each day.

So I'm in good company.

I wear a uniform now on my job, but the first thing I do is shed the damn thing as soon as I get done work. I look like a dork in it and really don't want to be seen in public wearing it.

But even without the uniform I still get mistaken for a cop. I was at the Corning, New York area mall once about ten years ago waiting for someone to get done shopping. I was sitting on a bench outside reading a book, wearing Wranglers and a pocket T-shirt, three day growth of stubble and smoking a cigarette. Right in front of the bench I was sitting on was a few handicapped parking spots. A minivan pulled in and a woman got out, ran over to me and said "Please don't give me a ticket, I'll only be a minute!" and without giving me a chance to respond took off into the mall.


That happens a lot, still. I can't figure it out. I guess I must have this invisible lighted sign over my head that says "Cop" and only the nuts and morons who are attracted to my nut/moron magnet can see it.

One thing I can say for sure is I'm definitely no wacker.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

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