Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Coaster Punchman reveals the man behind the myth

I've gone interview happy.

A couple of weeks ago bombshell CPS teacher Lulu interviewed me, giving me a welcome chance to talk about myself.

Now I get the chance to entertain questions from urban sophisticate Coaster Punchman, the interweb's best-loved strategic sales executive. It's a classic confrontation: a slick member of the east coast elites grilling a simple middle-American cop. C.P. has been busy lately, fielding questions from Beth, Lulu and Melinda June. But he's a multi-tasker, and he's found the time in his busy schedule to send me these questions:

  1. Put the following breaches of public decorum in order of how much they annoy you. Compare/contrast.
    1. Littering
    2. Cutting in line
    3. Graffiti (the illegal kind)
    4. Spitting on the sidewalk
    5. Honking unnecessarily
    6. Improper attire (e.g. flip flops at a funeral, or being naked from the waist down while pleasuring oneself in one’s car.)

2-Improper attire
3-Cutting in line
Honking unnecessarily
Spitting on the sidewalk

Littering just pisses me off to no end. It's like a big f*ck you to the whole world, the self-centered desire to have someone else pick up after you writ large. A very close second is improper attire. I remember the days when people dressed up to travel by airplane. I think we all looked classier then. I refuse to own a velour track suit even for joke value. It bugs me to go to a swanky restaurant and see guys sitting there in baseball hats. Don't get me started on fannypacks. The only time a fannypack is permissible is if you're using it to conceal a handgun. I'm also tired of seeing people shamble into church on Sunday wearing short pants and carrying their Starbucks. In my opinion you owe it to the people around you to look as nice as you can.

Cutting in line follows at a distance; it still represents a lack of courtesy, but so many people are driven to distraction by their frantic schedules that they may not notice how rude they're being. The rest are just nuisances, and the person spitting on the sidewalk might be doing it as part of a ritual to ward off a hex, or the evil eye. Can't get mad at that.

2. You are obviously an excellent writer. Do any of your law enforcement friends possess a similar ability to string multiple sentences together in such an entertaining manner? And would you let any of them read your blog?

You are a world class flatterer, aren't you? Other than reports, I've never seen any writing samples from my coworkers. Most of them are excellent conversationalists, though. We spend a lot more time talking than writing.

I haven't shown anyone at work my blog, but it wouldn't bother me if they found it. While I'm not that concerned with concealing my identity, I make a point not to mention my department by name. You never know who's going to take offense, and there have been multiple cases around the country of cops getting disciplined for material they put on their personal web pages. I've never compromised anyone's privacy on here, or mentioned case specifics, so I think I'd be ok.

3. Judy or Barbra?

Judy. Her life was a glorious train wreck; Barbra bores me. Plus, as a young woman, MizBubs bore a more than passing resemblance to the young Judy Garland.

4. Setting aside for a moment the fact that you met a wonderful woman, married her and had lovely children, tell us about one or two of the happiest moments in your life. (Meeting your spouse, marrying her and having kids are out because those answers would be too obvious.)

I've never settled for the easy answers, CP, and I'm glad you don't either.

I thought of a few moments, and checked them with my family to make sure that my happiness was not just in my head, but was visible to others. Here they are, in no particular order:

-When I finished my first Chicago Marathon in 1999. I can't describe the absolute rush that was for me, a 37 year old, overweight, cigar smoking asthmatic with an arthritic knee, to complete that. Granted, I ran like I had a piano on my back, but I finished upright and still running.

-When MizBubs' birth mother died on my birthday in 2001. She was truly one of the worst people I've ever met in my life (and I'm including my professional life). To give you an idea of how bad she was, one of her sons sidled up to me the day of the funeral and said "so, a guy couldn't ask for a better birthday present, huh?" Seriously, though, her passing lifted a dark cloud over our entire extended family, and I was happy to see it.

-When I'm traveling, seeing places I've never been before, especially if I'm outside in a wild place.

5. If you could choose one thing about the world that you would change, what would it be and why?

You know, I've never even thought of that. I suppose I'd like to take all of our cumulative knowledge, save it, and then turn back the clock to the mid-1800's. Hopefully we'd behave better and ravage our earth less if we had a second chance.

Wait. Does that count as more than one thing?


Coaster Punchman said...

Excellent answers! For starters, this line made me laugh outloud: The only time a fannypack is permissible is if you're using it to conceal a handgun. And the mother-in-law thing was hysterical. Although I might secretly be kind of glad when Mama Gin's time comes, I would be afraid to say anything to the family. Although at least a few of them will probably say it to me.

You should blog about some of the evil doings of this woman.

Splotchy said...

Bubs, I noticed a little pep in your step on your birthday back in 2001, but didn't know to what degree the pep was.

I guess I should count myself lucky that I had as little exposure to your MIL as I did. In the few times I came into contact with her (thankfully, only over the phone), she gave me a deep sense of the heebie-jeebies.

Johnny Yen said...

This has been one of my favorites of the interviews I've read! Great job, both of you!

I remember the stories you and Mizbubs told at the Tiki Terrace of the evil MIL. I count my blessings every day that I have the nicest mother-in-law (and father-in-law) ever.

I agree with you on the littering! That irks me to no end someone walking down the street, throwing garbage down with flourish. There's a special place in hell for them.

Katie Schwartz said...

you are a trip and a half and a most fascinating individual at that!

the fannypack rationale was hilar. my favorite was your monster-in-law peeling out as gift enough for your birthday.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Spitting is okay? - think about the tuberculosis, dude! Although I do have to agree that 1-3 should be punishable by being drawn and quartered.

And you don't know how relieved I am that "boring Barbra" spells her name wrong.

Joe said...

Barbara, I can imagine your relief at the "Barbra" difference. She bugs me, and I'm not even sure why. And I think the TB risk is small compared to getting a hex put on you.

JG I could fill pages with m.i.l. stories, but most of them would fall more into the horrible and sad, not horrible yet entertaining, category. I don't write about her for the same reason I don't write too much about stuff that happens at work.

Johnny, as I recall you got the tip of the wretched iceberg in terms of m.i.l. stories that night. Consider yourself lucky.

Splotchy, you are a perceptive fellow.

CP, glad you enjoyed reading the answers as much as I enjoyed writing them! Since you asked nicely, maybe I'll do a special mothers day post about the departed.

Mob said...

I love the inappropriate attire comments, as I despise people leaving their homes looking as though the rolled to the edge of the bed and suddenly thought "Hey, I need to buy groceries!" and scampered out the door.

I always want to nudge them and whisper "You realize you're outside your home right now, don't you?"

I feel weird leaving the house to go through a drive-though without putting on proper clothing.

Some Guy said...

Great interview, guys!

Yeah, fannypacks. Lame.

Coaster Punchman said...

Yes! Mother's Day special on dead MIL's!

Dale said...

Loved the questions and your excellent replies Bubs. I'm glad I don't litter anymore.