To Protect and Serve

I do try to be fair. Nobody gets made more fun of than I do...There are times that I'm not funny, and there are observations I make that are not interesting...But [of course] it's never funny when it's about YOU. I know, because I've been on the other end of it.

-Don Imus

I knew that column about cops would come back to bite me in the ass.

Oh sure, it was good-natured enough, and I certainly didn't mean any harm. My comments were all obviously intended in good fun. But, in fairness, I can see how the humor of it might've been lost on some people.

My cell phone rang about 1 a.m. on Friday night. It was the security company that monitors our building (like a hawk, I might add) letting me know that they'd detected motion and the police were already on the scene. Waiting for me.


I knew my name had gone out on the radio, and I halfway expected to drive up to a scene straight out of the Blues Brothers, with squad cars piled on top of squad cars.

I needn't have worried. All was quiet, until I approached the sidewalk and heard a booming unidentified voice coming from a police car and aimed in my general direction, filled with apparent righteous indignation. I didn't catch every word, but it was something to do with my "vehicle" and "racial profiling."

Then as I got closer, I realized it was actually an old pal of mine, and while he was indeed, mad, at least he was also laughing, and didn't appear to have any vengeance in mind.

Though I did get a STERN lecture about how WRONG my column had been to suggest that I'd been pulled over because of my automotive choice. (In my defense, I reiterated that Volvos were zipping past me in the right lane doing an EASY 168 mph in a residential neighborhood, and no one was stopping them.)

He accompanied me inside, where the actual officer of record on the scene asked me a few quick questions, handed me a form . And then promptly abandoned me. At 2 in the morning. Standing amid the ruins of a shattered plate glass window. Quivering. With another cop who had absolutely no obligation to be there, much less to come to my aid in any way.

(The cavalier nature of the moment put me in mind of a line from Martin Lawrence, back when he used to be funny, "Gotta go SeeYaWhenIseeYa.")

I think my hero was watching for some sign that I might go all Gloria Steinem at any moment and boot him out, but I am precisely as tough and resilient as any situation calls for me to be. And I don't think it damages my feminist credentials even slightly to admit that I was perfectly happy to collapse in a swoon and cede control of the entire scenario to the guy packing the cold hard steel of a 9 mm.

He gamely rummaged through our basement till he found some wood scraps of appropriate size; then managed to temporarily repair the damage; and clean up the mess left behind.

I made a few token attempts to help - nearly slicing my foot off in the process - at which point he relegated me to spectator status.

Obviously he was in charge.

I'm pretty sure he used the word "shim."

Maybe it was shank.


People wonder why I never get any sleep.

So the next night, the cell phone rings at 2 a.m. It's a coworker and her sweet young thang, and they're afraid they just spotted Martha running loose in a nearby neighborhood. Of course, Martha's big fat head was squarely in my lap - right where it always is at 2 a.m. - but it quickly occurred to me that this did not necessarily absolve me from my karmic responsibility to go find this dog.

Two hours later (after carrying on many absurd conversations with myself that went like this: "hmmm. Where would I go if I was a dog? How about Henry Clay's place?") we managed to find, and corral the guy, in a series of maneuvers that were some bizarre hybrid of military precision and football, where we'd call plays like "Left 23 Comanche!" and go tearing down Ashland Avenue in a full three-pronged attack.

Once captured, we realized he had no tags. (And that's the subject of a future editorial.)

So we boosted him into my truck, and I took him home, where he camped out in my bedroom and watched Emanuelle (evincing the same affinity for porn one can observe in any other unneutered male, I suppose).

By the next afternoon, I'd returned him to his owners - and was left alone to endure the scornful looks of betrayal from my dogs, whose constant sniffing and suspicious glances indicated that they clearly viewed me as the resident adulterer of the house.

Later, I decided that Insomnia makes a pretty good special power for a crime-fighter, but that I'm also going to need some more gadgets, along with a bat cave modeled on Barbie's Malibu Dream House, for starters.

A guy I know pointed out the irony of it being a DREAM house, and suggested I operate as a "vigilante, fighting crime while outside the law in a moral area above the comprehension of lawmakers and enforcers."

That is, of course, just what I was thinking.

I plan to model my crime-fighting activities based on Kohlberg's theory of moral development (i.e stage one being the child's motivation of reward and punishment, while I intend to operate all the way up at Level 6, which is Universal Ethical principle orientation -i.e., motivated by what is intrinsically good, or right... as determined by... me... of course, from my pink Malibu Barbie Bat Cave.)

In the meantime, I plan to try to resolve any future unanticipated encounters with the Law the old-fashioned way.

It goes like this: "You be Marshall Dillon. I'll be Miss Kitty," followed by "nowwww, is that a Glock in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"