Things We Cannot Unseen

We all have some sort of formed bias about things such as food, activities, likes, and dislikes. Additionally, we have conscious and unconscious bias which shifts as we move along in our police careers. 

Sometimes you can peg the type of crime a person regularly engages in by their lifestyle or look. Maybe you know by looking at the outside of a house that the call you are about to embark upon is going to be a doozy.

You can imagine the riff raff we encounter and the oddities of life which never cease to amaze us.

Many of the images, smells, and sounds leave lasting impressions in our memory and psyche, including ones we can not unseen, unsmell, and unhear. In fact, many memories make me want to poke my eyes out with sticks or turn my nose up just at those brief remembrances we have from time to time triggered by something in the present.

It’s not how you pick your nose, it’s where you put the boogers that counts. ~Tre Cool, Green Day

For example, I was a shit magnet for booger-nosed kids. Most of the time I walked around with my resting bitch face, so I have no idea why they adored me, but they did.

You know the ones. They have lots of snot oozing from every orifice which seems to be ignored by their parents until it is a national emergency.

Whoa.

Inevitably, I would try to talk to the adults on those calls about some odd problem I had been called to and I would end up dry heaving just at the sight of unattended boogers. Recognizing my gag reflex, I would often ask for a paper towel or Kleenex and be the surrogate parent, wiping the kid’s nose while dry heaving so I could perform my police duties. The distraction was too great at times to ignore it. 

Murphy’s Law would usually set in and the toddlers often grabbed their long snot highways and wiped the long stringy ones on my uniform pants because I was the nice police officer. Ew.

At that time, the only solution to the clothing issue was fire. I wonder how many pairs of uniform pants I have burned.

Where are the Saltine crackers?

Then there was that one dead body call of a large woman who had died of a heart attack while naked and must have been eating out of a can of tuna while seated on the floor. The house was a hoarder house and no way would I ever put my lady parts on a floor even in a clean house. Ew.

After about 5 days of her missing from work, we got the call. She was propped up against the wall, naked, with the can and fork right in between her legs near her crotch. You guessed it. I have never eaten tuna since 2000. In fact, the smell makes me gag.

One time, one of my rookies brought his lunch and whipped out a tuna sandwich while writing a report. I started gagging and asked if I could see his sandwich. He dutifully handed it to me and I kindly took it and threw it out the window. After that day, it was a rule that no tuna was allowed in my patrol car.

Houses of No Filter

Or how about the tweaker houses you go to where they have thousands of sex toys scattered about like coffee table books? You might even make mention of the fact, and they are like, “Oh, sorry” and throw them across the room as if they were cleaning for you.

I’m like, “Uh, are you going to use that again?” Not that I really wanted to know the answer, but I was grossed out at the thought of all the infections and diseases that get passed around in society. They probably just picked it up on a whim and went to town with naughty pleasures without disinfecting it before the next use. Bios, dirt, and probably covered with dog hair and feces and everything. Ew.

Furthermore, most of the time these toys had visible residue that my partners would always point out that I did not care to view or be in the presence of which made my mind wander. Sometimes I would get dry heaves. What kind of place is this anyway? And why are the cops intrigued with these crazy things? Does police work become a game of “Gross Out”?

Police officers should not play doctor.

And then there are those times where the most severe drug addicts have called you for some non-emergency family mediation or question. Usually they want you to address their personal problems at that moment it becomes important in their mind, which is usually when they have not showered in weeks and are in the middle of a high.

Of course, during your arbitration, they dig at their nose, eat it, and pick at all their scabs covering their arms and brush off imaginary spiders. As the conversation progresses, they want to ask your opinion about something bothering them on their backside that they can’t see. 

Stop the bus.

Luckily, that’s when the police stop time and promptly call the fire department, explaining the city has better experts for that kind of thing. As you end the call, they want to shake your hand, thanking you for your help. Yeah. I have so many excuses as to why police officer cannot shake hands. The more you know, right?

Gross. While we appreciate citizens being comfortable around our presence, there are boundaries. 

Money often costs too much, especially dirty money.

I will never forget the time one of my colleagues had arrested a man with an unorganized wad of money. Policy required at least 2 people present to count it before it was sealed and taken to book-in with the man. We did it on camera with the man present as to prevent false accusations of theft.

Because the money was sticky, the other officer took off his gloves and began counting and found his bare hands (fingers) could separate the bills easier because leather gloves were cumbersome. We all have those learned habits. Sometimes, we really regret muscle memory.

Yes, you guessed it.

He brought his thumb to his mouth, licked it,  and continued counting and repeatedly licked his thumb and continued counting bills. The first time he did it, I twitched in shock. It takes a moment to soak in what I am witnessing. The third time,I am seen on camera doing a slow-mo motion yelling, “Stop! No! No!”

Too late.

After he realized what he had done, he raced for his Purell sanitizer and squirted in his mouth and hands. Then I had to watch him gag and spit, which triggered my sensitive gag reflex. Can you imagine all the gunk on those bills? Nasty. He might as well have licked the bills themselves. Gross.

I would rather kiss a dog’s nose right after he licked his butt.

That call reinforced the notion that all money is dirty money. Yuck.

What makes you go “Ew”?

Consequently, these are really the mild cases.  I could never put out there the really bad ones on a national platform.

However, even if I exposed the grossest or weirdest, I would be doing a disservice to you and new recruits who might shy away from the greatest profession in the world. Those stories should just remain in my Pandora’s box. I consider it my civic duty.

I realize I have given you some unwanted visuals. You’re welcome! What makes you go “Ew”?