Are you getting scared by all the real-life film-as-it-happens cop shows on TV?
Last night, I watched two back-to-back episodes of COPS. I think these people are running out of locations that will have them. They never seem to shoot in large cities, where the real crime is. This particular episode was shot in Skunk Pit, Arkansas. During this first half hour show, I witnessed a 40 mph car chase ending with an exciting speeding ticket, after which the cop got back in the car and expounded for the camera about how the whole world is in such a hurry, and his granny, bless her soul, always said that folks ought to just slow down and smell the flowers.
Next, he arrested a prostitute who happened to be smelling flowers at the time.
There followed a jaywalker and a six-year-old boy who had stolen a piece of candy (followed by a lecture to the camera about what a shame it is for one so young to be turning to a life of crime; followed by the officer’s “great” imitation of Don Corleone).
End of the first show.
I left the room to take an Alka-Seltzer (I think it was the Don Corleone impression that did it). When I came back, the second show was in full swing, focusing on a 911 domestic violence call. This show was shot in Bupkis, Arizona.
“Have to be really careful going in on a domestic violence call. People inside could be armed. Emotions are running pretty high,” the officer said, looking grimly into the camera and narrowly missing a pedestrian.
Arriving at the scene, he immediately called for back-up. While he waited, he pulled an accordion out of the back seat and entertained the viewing audience with renditions of “Lady of Spain,” “The Beer Barrel Polka,” and Mozart’s “Jupiter Symphony.” Just before I slipped into a coma, the back-up arrived. In record time, too…only took twenty minutes.
And what back-up! Twelve police cruisers form the three surrounding towns (Bupkis only had the one cruiser, apparently). All the officers hopped out and crouched behind their vehicles, guns drawn. It was really starting to look like “Alice’s Restaurant” revisited, with our Officer Obie, once again, in charge. Photos were taken of the outside of the house. Tire track casts were made. Bloodhounds were turned loose.
And this was before Officer Obie even rang the bell.
As it turned out, the phone inside had been mistakenly knocked off the hook, and the family had been watching a television special about spousal abuse when the cat stepped on the 911 speed dial button.
But things were not to end there, as much as I prayed they would. God was obviously not finished torturing me yet. Another call came in. This time, it was a report of disturbance of the peace. Off Officer Obie sped.
“The report said that there’s screaming and yelling going on at 322 Webb Lane. He passed the time on the way to the scene by performing an assortment of coin tricks, while simultaneously coming within inches of two trees, a bridge abutment, and a house.
At last, he arrived at 322 Webb.
The Presbyterian Church.
Apparently, he was supposed to arrest everyone for participating in choir practice. The complaint, it was later discovered, was lodged by the choir director of the Methodist Church next door.
It makes me proud that police are serving and protecting by tracking down these sorts of miscreants and desperadoes. Tell the truth…don’t you feel safer?