Monday, September 13, 2004

Brush with the Law, ver 2.0

I left the Army after my four-year stint, determined to do something useful with my life. My high school grades were pathetic, mostly because I always put in just enough effort to get by and nothing more. I decided to start at a community college since I met their rigorous criteria (with student aid, I could pay for the classes). I attended for about a year, maintaining a near perfect GPA, and planned to get an associates (two year) degree before transferring to the state university. I was pursuing a programming degree, although what I really wanted was to be a writer.

Their core curriculum required taking a couple of social science classes, so I took basic and abnormal psychology. Basic went fine, but I hit a snag when I took abnormal the next semester. Our teacher required us to complete one of two projects. We either had to purchase a philosophy textbook, read it's overviews of the various philosophical beliefs, then write an in-depth essay about which one appealed to us the most. As an alternative, we could write a personal essay about anything in our psychological makeup that gave us serious concern. Our professor constantly reminded us that he was the big scary brain guy, and that he would know if we were being anything less than honest. He also stated that anything we wrote would be held in the strictest confidence, so we could just relax and say whatever came to mind. (Wait for it - don't get ahead of me.)

I wanted to do the philosophy thing, but I couldn't afford another college textbook (financial aid wouldn't help since it was an assignment, not required for the course). I spent a week searching my soul and discovered the following: my dog needed a flea bath, but the shampoo irritated my skin. That was the worst I could find. Despite being extremely poor, I was happy with my life. For the first time I was completely on my own, not under the direct supervision of my parental unit or the military. I had a low-paying McJob working armed security, but that was okay because I could work it around college and sometimes study while on duty. I had a cheap little house in a bad neighborhood, but also a gun to protect it and not much worth stealing anyway (side note - my dog was actually stolen twice, but she always managed to escape and return). Other than that, no real complaints. So, what to do? (Wait for it.)

Part of the reason I took abnormal psychology was because I had an idea for a novel written from the POV (Point of View) of a whack job, and I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. After a Sunday night spent at a rock club with friends, I returned home half drowned in alcohol but still unable to sleep. So, with the deadline for the project drawing near, I sat down (now early Monday, a few hours before class) and wrote a ten page essay from the POV of a potential serial killer. I was careful not to include any overt threats, focusing instead on what I claimed to be my state of mind (bad bad evil cackle glee etc.) I got a couple of hours of sleep, then (very hungover) I took the report to school and turned it in.

When I was completely sober (this took a few days) I began to wonder if what I had done was, in fact, incredibly stupid. Oh well, the deed was done. No point in obsessing. There will be water if god wills it, and so forth.

Our papers were returned and mine had a smiley face drawn on it, 30 out of 30 points, and a note from the good doctor (I'll call him Dr. Bumperhumper from now on) saying this was a serious matter that needed to be discussed. That threw me into a panic - what was I going to do now? Should I try to act crazy (me, with my permanent poker face and a brick wall's ability to emote)? Should I act normal and hope he doesn't catch on that I made the whole thing up? Fortunately, after class I had a haircutting appointment which I used as an excuse not to see him (I didn't tell him, I just slipped away).

The next day I returned to school, wondering how to handle my meeting with Dr. Bumperhumper, lost in my thoughts as I dragged my crutches from the back of my Ford Ranger (side detail - I had recently broken an ankle on the job, so I was hobbling around on crutches). When I looked up I saw I had been surrounded by campus police (three cars and four officers). They took me into custody and drove me to their office, keeping me surrounded the whole time. They deposited me in front of the guard captain, who told me to sit and pulled out some paperwork.

The first thing he did was go around the room and have every officer tell me his time in service and stressed that they were a serious police force. Then he read various underlined sections from my essay to me, starting with some passing reference I had made about campus security, sardonically calling them the local constabulary. At that point he stopped and reiterated his opinion that they were worthy of respect. After reading the worst sentences back to me, he demanded an explanation. At this point I was still too shocked to say much, but I started by telling him it was not true. He interrupted me and said "We already spoke to Dr. Bumperhumper, and he assured us that this is real."

He then asked if I had any weapons on me. I told him no, but I did have some spare bullets in my coat pocket (I had a few left over from my last ammo box, and I didn't like them rattling around). They stood me up and frisked me, noting on their report that they "found" bullets in my pocket. They took my picture and told me never to return to the campus under pain of arrest. The captain also recommended I seek therapy, but admitted he had no authority to order that. He told the youngest officer to escort me out, who seemed to agree with my unspoken thought that they were going a wee bit overboard. Trying not to laugh (and half succeeding), he told me not to let this get me down, just to regroup and go to another school.

Since this is turning into such a long post (even with minimal details), I'll save the multiple police investigations and legal proceedings (and other stuff) for later.

Busted, out

4 comments:

Ash said...

http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail89.html

I suggest you listen to that; there's a song that might help you with that second paragraph.

Lor said...

Ooh... that explains it.

Grant said...

I have poetic license. I can do that.

Nice catch, smarty-skirt :P

Frogstar said...

Holy...crap. I mean, really. Holy crap.

I'm amazed that you did something like that...of course, you were drunk, so that explains it. Wow.