It occurred to me after I posted The Loser and the Law that, in the interest of fairness and full disclosure, I should own up to my own past problems with the po-po. Brace yourself, because I’m not the innocent girl you’ve come to know and love – I have a criminal history.
In my younger days, I had a problem with shoplifting. At one point, I couldn’t go into a store without stuffing something into my purse to take with me. At the time, I was very unhappy with my life, felt totally out of control, and not a day went by that I didn’t feel like a failure. I don’t know why stealing was the way I decided to deal (or not deal) with all of those negative feelings. Perhaps it was a cry for help – a desperate bid for attention. Regardless, my shoplifting became more and more brazen and bold, until I got to the point of just loading large items into shopping carts and wheeling them out of the store. Of course, I was eventually caught. Once the security at a store let me go – probably because I had my very small daughter with me (I know – it makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it now). The second time I wasn’t as lucky and the police were called, I was cited, and I had to go to court – where I pleaded no contest. The punishment was a fine, probation, community service, and I was banned from Target for life. Have I mentioned that I have a problem with authority? I still shop at Target – in fact they are my department store of choice – and part of my penitence is to spend a crapload of money there to make up for my earlier, thieving ways.
I also may be wanted on an outstanding warrant in Utah. One day about 20 years ago I was speeding just outside of the town of Moab and was nabbed. Here is a tip for you – there is ALWAYS a speed trap outside of Moab on a long, straight, seemingly deserted stretch of highway. Don’t buy into the idea that you are alone – the highway patrol is ALWAYS watching! I was given a ticket and sent on my way with instructions to pay up by mail or appear in court on a certain day. I did neither – because I have a problem with authority. I imagine a failure to appear warrant was issued and, while I hope the statute of limitations has passed, I’m always VERY CAREFUL when driving through Moab. Getting hauled off to jail generally puts a damper on a road trip.
Finally, there was the time where I was supposed to appear in court to contest a traffic ticket I received in Corpus Christi, Texas. I shouldn’t have been cited and I WANTED my day in court so that I could prove my innocence! However, my boss at the radio station where I worked told me at the last minute that there was no one to cover my air shift – so I had to make a choice between going to court or losing my job. Not surprisingly, I opted to keep my job – but I did call the courthouse and let the secretary there know the situation. She told me that court had already started, so she could not interrupt the judge, but that she would pass along my message when he finished the session.
Two hours later, my boss entered the studio and informed me that the police were in the lobby, as they had come to arrest me for failing to appear in court. At that point, he seemed happy to relieve me so I could go with the nice officers (REALLY? You couldn’t have done that for me two hours earlier??). Before I left the room, he gave me a stern lecture – telling me I had a problem with authority (news flash – I was already aware of that particular issue) and that I needed to address the judge in the humblest of terms and always by “Your Honor.” Did he think I was going to call the judge “Your Asshat” or something? Finally, he told me that I would probably be searched when I was arrested – and did I need for him to leave the room for a few minutes so that I could dispose of anything illegal that might be in my purse? That last bit offended me most of all! I had known and worked for this man, my mentor, for years – and he was under the impression that I had drugs in my purse? That I was a drug user at all? (Which I wasn’t and hadn’t been for many years by this point in my life.)
The officers ended up NOT arresting me – instead they had me follow them in my car to court, where the judge scolded me and had me pay a stiff fine. And, by the way, the judge WAS a total asshat and a year later his inaction and ineptitude could have gotten me killed by a stalker with severe mental issues who carried a large knife in his boot.
The moral of this story is: don’t steal and try to obey the law – but sometimes authority IS an asshat that doesn’t deserve respect!