Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"I Left my Trousers in My Other Pants"

On a day where I have a few minutes after lunch before returning to the fray, I have a guilty pleasure I indulge. I'll go on line and read the police blotter. If Ross MacDonald wrote in haiku, it would most closely resemble the police blotter. Baseball fan that I am, the police blotter is to a full-out story as a box score is to Damon Runyan byline.

My most favorite 'crime stoppers textbook' (Chester Gould, where are you now that we really need you and how could Madonna and Warren Beatty screwed up Dick Tracy the way they did?) of the moment wasn't in the newspaper (yet) but rather showed up on line at the CBS TV news affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut, WFSB.

It had me at hello: Man In Underwear Held Standoff. I didn't expect video and there wasn't any-no hard feelings, that's why I have an imagination, though a bit more specificity would have helped. Boxers or briefs? White or a color and which color? Inquiring minds want to know (I doubt that in this case, but a boy can dream).

Speaking of questions, savor this line from the story: "Police said officers received a call just after 9 a.m. that a man was driving around his Third Street home (in Windsor Locks, CT) in his underwear." We have a yellow sun, right? I assume that means visitors from Krypton can use their powers of X-ray vision to see through a car door and realize the driver has no place to put his wallet or change for tolls.

And for sheer majesty of language, I'm tempted to notify the James Joyce Society for this pearl beyond price: "While negotiators were called to the home, police said the man tried to elude police by setting off a diversion in the basement and attempting to run out the door." The fellow is in his underpants--how much MORE of a diversion does he think he can create and, that said, why not share with the rest of us what his masterstroke (poor choice of words?) was.

The TV report offers me two BGOs (Blinding Glimpses of the Obvious) to finish by telling me the police took the man for a mental health evaluation (cannot imagine why) and the entire incident remains under investigation (though we at home will NEVER hear another word about this story. Guaranteed.)

For those who prefer newspapers to video, the Hartford Courant version has far superior granularity (it means 'more detail' but sounds so much cooler, it hurts; doncha agree?) but almost destroys the movie in my head because of the detail it offers, lacking in the Channel 3 story, to include the man's name. I like to think of him as nearly the Lone Ranger, wearing underwear instead of a mask. If I'm gonna stand on the front lawn of my own house in my underpants, holding a knife (I read that back about nine times and see no other way to write it), I sure as heck don't want my name in the paper. And don't tell a soul that the police had to taser me. What are we supposed to talk about at Saturday's Little League game, the weather?

In a way, except for the officers who were directly on scene as he was doing his Ginsu knife demo, this was almost a victimless crime. What, I wonder, would an APB read like had he robbed a bank and tried to blow that Popsicle stand? Would anyone have even looked at his face? Or would the cops be on the lookout for SpongeBob, because that's all that the witnesses remembered. And, just me, or didn't the getaway driver look a little like Michael Jordan? (As long as all he shows me is the money, we're fine.)
-bill kenny

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