I want to be a COP. I’ve put in probably at least a man-week or two on paperwork, hours and hours and hours of physical training, and I hate both paperwork and PT. But I want the job, so . . . .
Two years ago I started getting a funny feeling. Less than a yearanahalf ago I went for a ride-along. Last fall I filled out the paperwork for applying to the local Metropolis’ police academy. 50+ pages to fill out, with lots of chasing down obscure details about my own life. I went to turn in the application and they didn’t want it at first. They had stopped allowing people to download the application a DAY after I downloaded mine. If I had not been really hot on the case they would have turned me away immediately; but I had filled it out in something like record time (2 weeks) and that showed motivation. They had 40% more applicants than they wanted so what would one more hurt? I was barely going to squeak in under the wire.
Then at work I did something I have done lots and lots of times. I jumped off a shelf to the floor. Not even from head height. All my little piggies but one got the message to pull up out of the dive, and I broke a toe. It’s tough to take a physical readiness test with a broken toe. So I left my transcripts with the recruiters and waited.
This year came and a new academy class started without me. Then I caught wind that they were going to take applications again. I downloaded the new form and filled out 50+ pages again. The radio news said there was a line around the building on the first day of accepting applications. The recruiters said on the phone they were still taking applications, but to hurry. Instead of months like last year, they held the application period open for 14 days, and I got there on the last day. They barely took the application – but they did take it.
I make little enough money for someone with four children, but it (barely) pays the bills. The Police Academy is eight months long and it does NOT pay as much as my current job. My Darling Wife was supportive as we went through the books. It would cost us $3,000 for me to be a Cadet, and then an automatic raise would kick in and we would be okay again. That $3,000 was in the bank, and I could only be a Cadet because we had it to lose.
Then the garage door broke. And my car needed repairs. Okay, so we tighten the belt a little. Then the water softener went out. Tighter still on cash, but still on track for being okay to survive police academy’s cadet pay. Then I turned up needing two root canal fillings and two crowns placed. Where’s your $3,000 now, smart guy?
Last night at Church I was talking to a guy about what I might do “if the police thing doesn’t work out.”
That night, 59 days out from the admissions testing date, I got an e-mail from the recruiter saying if I didn’t have a certain form already submitted, it needed to be submitted A.S.A.P. . . . and by the way, it usually takes 60 days to get this form back from Uncle. Somebody was supposed to let me know this form was necessary but it was the back-up email blast that let me know, and that was literally a day late. I began to think about the possibility of not making it into the police force. Up till then, I was thinking only of 1) getting in and starting a new career, or 2) getting in and not making it through to being hired on as a COP, and maybe going back to my current job.
False Dichotomy: (also called false dilemma, the either-or fallacy, fallacy of false choice, black and white thinking or the fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses) a type of logical fallacy that involves a situation in which only two alternatives are considered, when in fact there are additional options.
Sometimes the owners of my company buy things I would not have bought. When confronted about these purchases, they will reply with “well you have to take what you can get, man!” but there has been a small sanity injection lately. After years of argument, it seems they are starting to realize that you don’t have to take what you can get. You can also leave it where you found it and wait for a better deal.
I was on the way to work this morning and thinking about not necessarily having to take what you can get, and about the idea of this possibly not being the right timing for me to be a Metropolis Police Academy Cadet. I was also thinking about how our nice little money cushion was drying up pretty convincingly, and how if I REALLY pushed for it, I could still probably get in to the Academy. We could come up with the cash somehow.
I was merging from the surface streets onto the highway, and I went to roll up my driver’s side window as I was thinking of all this . . . and the window would not roll up. I said a bad word, but it did not help the window go up. I got to work and opened up my door instead of clocking-in. Little pieces of drive belt fell out. I was thinking, “Hey, we have a drawer inside labeled ‘BELTS BELTS BELTS’ I wonder if . . . ” and not one but TWO brand-new, never-used belts also fell out of the door panel.
I have been inside this door before. I do not recall seeing spare belts inside.
God doesn’t send my phone TXT MSGS but it seems like this might be an awfully-close next best thing. I can NOT afford $300 or whatever to fix my window, but I can change a belt if I have a spare. I can NOT afford to lose $3,000 while I go through training anymore, either . . . and I think maybe I ought not to try. First a broken toe, then a broken wallet, and maybe I can stop at 2 hints before my house catches fire or something.
I see more ride-outs with the local PD in my future, but otherwise I’m not sure what to expect.