Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hard to Fool

A friend of mine sent me a joke this morning about an overly punitive policeman harassing a farmer for a minor traffic infraction. In the punchline, the farmer points out "circle flies" around the cop's head. The farmer explains that "circle flies" are the ones typically swarming around a horse's ass. The "circle flies" are hard to fool--they know when they've found the appropriate host to bother.

Anyway, I immediately remembered an analogous incident I'd personally experienced many years ago, so I sent my friend the following reply.

Well, I do believe I've met that-there gentleman before!

When I lived in North Carolina in 1984 there was a time when I commuted from Chapel Hill to Raleigh to work at the newspaper. I was getting ready to move to an apartment in Raleigh, however, because the commute was stupid, expensive, and put too much wear on my aged car, which I could not afford to replace. One Friday after work I had collected a bunch of moving boxes (from where else? Grocery and LIQUOR stores) and tossed them in my back seat. This was an enormous car, mind you--a white 1969 Mercury Montego with blue underpaint and a half-torn-off vinyl covered roof. I loved that car because it was a completely reliable V-8 and I knew NO ONE would ever try to steal it because it was such a godda*ned eyesore.

Anyhow I was heading home from Raleigh to Chapel Hill with the million boxes loaded. The road I took was Route 54 (through Durham). At that time there was not an expressway between Raleigh and Chapel Hill like there is now--only a piddly two-lane. How surprised was I to find my lil' ol' self with a Smokey on my tail? I had never been pulled over or had as much as a parking ticket in my life.

Sure enough, Smokey was pulling ME over. Honestly, he had the Smokey hat and the big beefy Smokey chest and the shiny badge and red face and the black belt and everything. I was so innocent I blushed fiercely and got a case of the fantods (that's a great thing to do, nearly faint in front of a state trooper). Worse, I had no idea what I was supposed to be ashamed of! To add to this royal embarrassment, my pulling over on a two-lane road caused all the da#n Friday traffic to go around me and everyone of course was gawking at the stupid blonde girl in the junker car.

I handed over the usual paperwork, and he went back and sat in his car for a dog's age. Up to this point he had not said a word to me about what I'd been pulled over for.

When he came back he started up a little conversation. Such as, why was my car full of boxes, and could he please see what was in those boxes, pretty please? I snorted with nervous laughter (the second thing I should not have done). I explained that I was moving on the next weekend, the boxes wree for my move, and that I had gotten the boxes from where else? Grocery and LIQUOR stores. Well Mr. Smokey jes' had to see fer hissef. He opened the back door and started rifling through the EMPTY boxes, for goddsakes. He kept rifling until he had examined every darned one.

When he was satisfied that I wasn't carrying contraband liquor, he backed off a little. As a world-traveler you may know that in NC you have to go through friggin' security gates and show your ID and stand on your head while juggling and singing "The Star Spangled Banner" if you want to enter an ABC store--and I forget what ABC means but the A is "alcohol." (How about "alcohol, bullets, and cigarettes?" Sounds close to me.) Also there are all these rules about limits to volume and what various combinations you may legally acquire in a single purchase. My guess is Mr. Smokey man was hoping he had intercepted a major moonshine run to assure a forthcoming bonus check, but he had found himself out of luck.

After he shut the door I asked him, "Officer, for what did you pull me over?"


"Miss, a crime has been committed and the getaway car matches the description of your vehicle."

Well, bless his heart. I soooo wanted to say, "Officer, could you please give me a complete description of said 'getaway vehicle'?" But I didn't want to make another mistake. I quickly remembered that I had been a Thespian in high school and now was the time to put my acting skills to good use because it took every ounce of self control I had not to crack up right in his face. RIGHT! If there was a single other white 1969 Mercury Montego with blue underpaint and a half-torn-off vinyl roof still on the road in the continental United States at that moment I would have eaten my own head. I still would!

Finally there was a tip of the hat and an "I apologize for taking your time, Miss. You take care and BE SURE'N CHANGE THE ADDRESS ON YOUR LICENSE when you move."

I believe I saw circle flies that evening.


At 3/09/2007 3:43 PM, Blogger Nance said...

My friend's daughter attends college in N.C. When she goes to see her, she only slows down in that state. She has been pulled over enough there to have finally learned her lesson. She can speed like a demon in any other state between Ohio and there, but in N.C., she takes her foot off the pedal.


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