As police officers, we’re often presented with the opportunity to meet various celebrities and other “important” people. Sometimes, we’re even placed in the unfortunate position of having to arrest a few of those VIP’s.
For example, I once served as training officer to a rookie who stopped a very fancy tour bus for traveling at a speed well above above the posted limit. The young officer eagerly approached the driver’s window and was quite surprised to see one of his favorite musicians behind the wheel—an extremely famous musician (why he was behind the wheel and not the designated bus driver was a mystery that went unanswered).
The singer/guitarist was quick to announce his identity, as if the verbal identification had been necessary, hoping his fame would be enough to satisfy the appetite of the officer’s squalling radar unit.
The still wet-behind-the-ears officer, totally starstruck, tongue-tied, and rubber-kneed in the presence of the legend of stage and Radioland, immediately knew what he had to do. That’s right, my babbling trainee, with the speed and grace of a wild cheetah, was quick to snag the driver’s autograph and then send the celebrity and his bus full of musicians on their way to the next concert on their tour. And, when the officer returned to our patrol car he was grinning from ear to ear, like a mule eating briars.
The rookie officer shoved the signature-clad paper into my hands so I, too, could have a look at his prize. Sure enough, scrawled across the bottom of the traffic summons was the signature of one of the all-time greats of the music world. A golden voice and fancy guitar, though, do not qualify as exemptions to posted speed limits, especially when driving 82 mph in a 55 mph zone. I’d taught the young officer well.
Of course, I’ve had my own share of encounters with well-known celebrities and other people of fame. Like Marvin The Martian, the guy from the red planet who’s all-important goal was to return home.
“You see,” he told me as I was arresting him for hacking his sister-in-law to death using a rusty ax, “she wouldn’t allow the mother ship to return to earth. I had no choice. She’s evil, you know.”
Then there was the time I responded to the call of a oddly-dressed, weird-acting man walking in the median between the north and southbound lanes of a major interstate highway. When I finally located the gentleman, I pulled my patrol car onto the shoulder and approached on foot.
He stood waiting for me in the center of the median strip. The buttery-soft light of a near full moon served as his backdrop. The effect was quite, well, heavenly.
My gaze was immediately drawn to his sandal-clad feet and long, wavy brown hair fluttering gently in the night breeze. He held out his right hand for me to shake and, in an unusually soothing and calm voice, introduced himself as…
I must admit, I paused for a second before moving along to serious questions, such as the typical, “Do you have any identification?”
Of course, when I did ask, he gave me that look. You know the one. The “Seriously, you need to see MY identification?” look.
Well, as luck would have it, the guy wasn’t really Jesus after all. Instead, he was a slightly out of touch homeless man who merely thought he was Jesus.
And then there was Elvis, whom I had to remove from an elderly lady’s refrigerator once or twice each month around 2 a.m. so she could watch TV. After all, we all know how annoying it can be when “The King” slips in behind the cheesecake and starts stealing our radio and TV signals.
Things could have been worse, I suppose. At least I’ve never encountered Lindsay, Miley, Kim, or Charlie Sheen.
Still, if only my handcuffs could talk. The stories they could tell would curl your toes. Like the time when…