Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm ready for my interview

Lulu ran a cool little "interview thingy" on Monday. Being the blabberous egomaniac that I am, I promptly begged for a chance to be interviewed. A day or so went by, and then, there it was in my email--my interview!

Lulu's questions are in bold type. At the bottom of the post are the rules, and if any of you thoughtful and discerning readers would like to be interviewed by me, ask away.

1. You have a career in law enforcement, and an impressive sideline as America's preeminent narcozoologist, were those your dream careers as a kid, or did you have another career in mind?

My parents tell me that when I was little (3-5 years old) I liked to wear costumes and played elaborate games where I was an explorer, soldier or cowboy. When I got older, like later in grade school, I decided I wanted to be an actor. I'd say I wanted to be an actor all through high school. I had a blast in drama club (GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS), and then my dreams came to a screeching halt when I experienced the mortification of actually auditioning at the Bucks County Playhouse. That was the moment I discovered that being a bullshit artist probably required less discipline than being an actor on stage or screen, and might be just as much fun.

After high school I had notions of being a film maker or photographer, took some classes (dropping out of excellent programs at Columbia College and UIC) and wound up joining the Army National Guard with MizBubs, both of us enlisting as 91-B, Combat Medical Specialists. A wicked throat infection during basic training at Fort Jackson wrecked my singing voice, but I really enjoyed the training and was probably in the best shape of my life. MizBubs and I were lucky enough to serve before the first Gulf War.

I got a job as a photographers assistant at a studio that did work for Sears and JC Penney, and worked my way up to off-figure photographer. The studio went belly-up, and I ended up working as a campus security officer at Loyola University. My brother was in the criminal justice program there and recommended I take the introductory class. It was free, since I worked there, and I really enjoyed it. I started thinking I'd be good at being a cop. Loyola sent me to the Chicago Police Academy after I'd worked there for nearly a year, and I realized I'd like to do municipal law enforcement better than campus policing. I was lucky enough to get hired by the very first department I tested with.

Almost 19 years later, here I am. I sometimes regret not being a smoke-jumper or celebrity chef, but I'm pretty happy with where I've ended up.

2. Are most officers of the law bourbon-swilling, Tom Jones-loving, punk rock dudes like yourself, or are you an anomaly within the law enforcement community?

No, and not really. To some extent I'm an anomaly in every community I'm part of: I'm either the most liberal, non-confrontational and tolerant person in a group of conservatives, or the most right-wing, gun-happy and bigoted person in a group of liberals.

Cops are a far more diverse group than we were 20 years ago, by the way, but I think we tend to run more to former metal heads than former punks. There are 6 detectives and 2 detective sergeants, ranging in age from 30-44. Only one of them other than me is a Tom Jones fan. Most of the younger guys are vodka or rum drinkers; I stand alone as a committed bourbon enthusiast.

Of the 8 of us, 2 have college degrees, 2 are close to getting them, and 2 more have about 30-60 hours of credit. There's one former Army National Guard member, one former Marine, and one Army Iraq war veteran. 6 of us are married, 5 with kids, and two are single.

3. You seem to have a great relationship with your daughters, what are your parenting secrets?


Not really, I just liked saying that. First off, we made up our minds when our kids were born to not listen to all the negative stuff people would say about having kids:

"I was in back labor 35 hours and then the doctor botched the episiotomy and I had an emergency c-section and puked from the anaesthesia."

"You won't get any sleep for 2 years."

"Just wait until they hit the terrible twos, all they say is 'NO'"

"Just wait until they go to school and start acting like all their friends, they won't be your child any more."

"Just wait until they hit middle school."

"Just wait until they hit their teens."

And so on. We ignored all those warnings and resolved early on to see the entertainment value in all the goofy and frequently infuriating things a kid was bound to do, and that made things easier.

4. You live in the suburb I grew up in, I hated it and left as soon as I could, yet you made the decision to live there of your own free will. Why would anyone make the choice to live in Mt. Plastic?

I made my one off-duty arrest in the spring of 1990, driving east on Montrose from Pulaski on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I thought I was driving up on a block party, judging from the crowd. Turns out the crowd had gathered to watch a shirtless drunken hillbilly cave in the skull of another drunken hillbilly with a Louisville Slugger baseball bat. Around the same time there was a drive-by shooting on the steps of a church near our house that killed two kids; MizBubs used to walk by there all the time on her way to one of the markets. So we decided to move. I didn't want to live in the town I worked in, and we couldn't afford to to move to one of the neighborhoods like Edison Park that were still in Chicago. We kind of went north and west until we found a combination of a house we could afford and a school district we liked. Ironically, we ended up homeschooling our kids for several years anyway, and had we stayed in our house in Chicago I'd be sitting on a half-million dollar bag of money right now. Who knew?

Our kids are grateful that they got to spend their entire childhood in the same house in the same town, but they both hate Mt Prospect and can't wait to move away. If I were a kid I'd feel the same way. Heck, I can't wait to move away from here either, but the reality is that this has been a good place to us these past 17 years.

5. If you had to pick, would you live in Florida or Germany?

Whew, tough one. Back in the 80's I always wanted to live in Berlin. I would have loved to live in Florida back in the 20's or 30's, and if I had unlimited funds I could easily see living in the Keys for much of the year. But I'll have to go with Germany. Old castles, Oktoberfest and good beer beat the hell out of ugly sun-baked sprawl and spring break any day.

Want some questions of your own? Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me!”

I will respond by e-mailing you five questions (if your email is not on your profile, email me your desire to be interviewed so I know your address). I get to pick them, and you have to answer them all.

You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


jin said...

Verrrry interesting questions AND answers!

“Interview me!”

Beth said...

Fascinating, Bubs!

Bubs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bubs said...

Why, thank you Jin.

I'll get your questions out to you tomorrow!

And thank you too, Beth. Fascinating, huh? I'll have to show that to my kids. I'm not sure "fascinating" is the word they'd use. I'm still pulling the wool over her eyes.

Beth said...

That's your job as dad. Now, go pour yourself a shot and sing along to "Delilah."

"jew" "girl" said...

you're a very interesting fellah. great answers, bubs!

Johnny Yen said...

Great questions and great answers!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

So much is made clear now!

Dale said...

It was great reading your Genesis and some of the other stories in your bible Bubs.

Melinda June said...

Please interview me, bubs. It's time for something completely different.

Coaster Punchman said...

Great questions & answers. Interview me! (Your questions are on the way.)