Thursday, August 25, 2005

Have you ever talked your way out of a speeding ticket?

I had a girlfriend who was shocked the one time she was unable to. Purely coincidentally -- I’m sure -- she’s a cutie with giant gazongas. When she got the citation, she worried that she was losing her touch, that her glorious cleavage wasn’t eye-catching anymore.

She tried to reassure herself, saying the officer must have been gay or visually-impaired or something…

“Yeah,” I said. “He was probably more of an ass-man.”

Or maybe he was just doing his job…

One of the first jobs I ever had was back in high school. I got an afternoon gig, working at a record store. It enabled me to pick up more heavy metal than a crane at a steel mill, and yeah, sure I’ll use my employee’s discount for your new age crap, just stop by the mall. The 20-something manager dudes at the store see the hot goth teens coming to see me, they’ll think I can hook ‘em up with Siouxie and her Banshees, so they’ll assign me the cushy details like sorting the CDs (less work, since not everything was out on disc back then).

Anyway, I was able to have this job -- and thus some spending money -- because I finally got my driver’s license. But I nearly jeopardized all that.

I was always late for work, so I always sped to get there, and so I got busted for speeding.

Twice in one week. By the same cop, in the same place, same speed, same time of day.

The officer walked over and peered in my window. A look of recognition washed over his face. “Michael, right?” he said. (He actually called me by my last name.) “You don’t learn, do you?”

Man, was I frustrated. Not at the cop… just my own stupidity. “Look,” I said. “I drive past here everyday. You’ll see me go by in this broken-down mint-green Buick Skylark. I’m the kid with the stupid tie he has to wear… to his job at a record store, for chrissakes. Which I won’t be able to keep because I won’t be able to drive there if I get this ticket.”

There was some rule in New York, I think, that in your first six months of getting your license, you were on some kind of probation. If you got more than one moving violation, your license was suspended.

“If you see me speeding again, write me a ticket and I’ll be off the road for good. But gimme a break this time and I swear it won’t happen again.” The cop looked at me. I figured he remembered my name, we were like old pals now, right? I said, “C’mon. You already got me once.”

He shrugged and said, “Okay, ya get a freebie. But just this one time.”

I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even have to try to bribe him with a discount on vinyl or cassettes. What would he like? Do the police listen to The Police? What the hell is Texas Music?

In the following months, I would still do over 60 in the 30 zone, but I always slowed down within a mile of that cop’s speed trap. And in the years since, I’ve gotten plenty of moving violation tickets. Maybe things woulda been different if I was a babe with boobs, maybe not. Some of the cops were rude, and some were perfectly civil… but I always remember that first guy.

‘Cause he’s the only one who ever gave me a break.


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