I fought the law
Bruce is MIA this week, so we offer you his July 10, 1996 epistle to the Renoites:
Busted. Busted by The Man. I was lucky I didn’t get offed. It happened to me last week, reader, and I’m going to humble myself in this space with the whole sad, sorry saga in the hopes that it may bag points as some kind of community service.
If the Shirelles had sung about the weather as they sang about boys, this one would have had them cookin’. The morning was perfect and I was on my way to Northgate, looking forward to another enchanted round of golf on the high desert links with my associates Arnie, Skip and Sherm the Human ATM Machine. I was late, once again underestimating the time it takes to water my marigolds, lobelias and perineums, and I was hustling to get to those Elysian fields of fortune and frustration.
So it didn’t bode well when I saw the motorcycle cop on Robb Drive wheeling’ and dealin’ with his nasty little speed gun off the other side of the street. It also didn’t look good when my front end dipped from the sudden brake slam, a lurching motion that declares to law enforcement agents, “I don’t know what the speed limit is, but I do know I’m way over it!” And it didn’t look good when the cop calmly packed his speed gun even before I passed him. I somehow knew he wanted to have a word with me.
There is a wide range of feelings one gets when freshly pulled off roadside. Not being one of those guys with a glove compartment full of torn-up parking tickets or a pound of blow under the spare, I was calm—if a tad pissed—and thinking how, exactly, I might increase my changes of getting off with a warning. I was also muttering “goddammit” a lot while scrambling for the necessary papers, reminding myself not to say it to the cop.
I spoke first: “How fast was I going?”
Instant screw-up on my part. I forgot to finish my question with the all-important bootlicking password, the one which assures Mr. Law that I would indeed prostrate myself before him, as long as it wouldn’t scuff my natty sky blue gold slacks, that is. The word, of course, is “Officer.”
“You were going 55, Mr. Van Dyke,” he said with smooth authority, like a man who knows full well he has at least one of my eggs in the fascist forceps of the law.
It was here I made a bold move, counting on the elements of shock and confusion to somehow elicit a warning, and spare me a citation.
“Well, could you please hurry with the ticket? I’m late for my tee time.”
Turns out one man’s bold move is another man’s moronic move. The Ray Banned jackboot wrote the ticket, all right, but he wrote it real slow-like—slower than Jethro Bodine taking a physics exam.
And the greens of Northgate were only seconds away …