Monday, January 08, 2007

Generation Gap

I responded to a theft call from an eldery couple. I arrived to meet an 89 year old retired reverend and his 85 year old wife. They told me how some servicemen were in the house and emptied out a hallway closet to repair a leak. A few weeks later, the couple started to return the items to the closet and realized many things were missing. They had a different perspective of cost as the following conversation will show:

"What items are missing?"
"Well, a gun, ring, silverware, some sweaters, and a men's jacket."
(after getting a description of each item, I asked for the current value to determine the class of theft.)
"How much was the gun worth?"
"Oh let's see. It was an 1800's cavalry rifle so it's a collector's item. I'd say it be worth $25."
"Okay, how about the ring?"
"Oh dear, it was one of kind. I couldn't possibly place a value on it. It was so beautiful and meant so much to us. It was very expensive when I bought it and I'm embarassed to say how much it would be worth now. I paid $300 for it when I bought it. It's got to probably be about double that now."
"All right, tell me what the men's jacket would be worth."
"Well, it was a really nice jacket and we paid a lot for it. We bought that in 1975 and it cost about $35. It's probably worth about $40 today."

They told me the value of the other items and I was finished getting information for my report. The wife then added, "My husband won't be able to testify in court against anybody; He's got irritable bowel syndrome. He can't go anywhere without having a bathroom nearby. He just can't control his bowels anymore."
I expected him to be embarassed over his wife's indescretion but instead he confirmed her description. "Yep, I've got irritable bowels alright. I had to get an excuse to get out of jury duty last week because I knew I couldn't sit on those hard wooden benches for long without needing a bathroom."

Just when I thought I had my fill of unwanted information, the reverend dished out another serving:
"Dear, I bet this officer would love to see your spoon collection.", he offered.
"Oh I couldn't.", she replied. "I haven't cleaned them lately and I'm afraid they're not polished."
"Come on darling, I'm sure he's excited to learn about your spoons.", he insisted.
"Would you?", she asked me.
(No! Please! No!, my inner voice pleaded. It'll be certain death! Don't do it!)
"Of course.", I replied, conquored by her sweetness and obvious desire for attention.

An overload of information poured from her as she described each of the 300 spoons in detail. "This one's from Holland. From my aunt's friend. Emma. She was a school teacher in 1947. Related on my half-sister's side. These were etched in blah-blah-blah fashion -revolutionary for the time period. And these were originally crafted for blah-blah-blah. I almost forgot the blah-blah-blah's. Special and rare due to blah-blah and I know you've seen these, right?"

I made it through her dissertation and was thanked kindly for my time.


At January 08, 2007 7:25 AM, Blogger Thomas Vickers said...

Welcome to the land of the "Older Generation."

My own father is 80 years old and the wierd, and often bitter dissertations on strange crap never seems to end.

Don't get me wrong,I enjoy most of it, but there are just so many "You would never had made it through the depression" stories you can take.

Like you discovered, no issue is taboo. They will talk about bowel movements, swollen prostates, urination problems and so on like children discuss video games. It isn't embarassing, it is just part of growing up.

At January 08, 2007 8:07 AM, Blogger Bardouble29 said...

Awww, how sweet of you to stand there and listen. Not many officers would have taken the time. To me that is the difference in spirit of the law versus letter of the law. You did the couple a service just by listening...Kudos!

At January 08, 2007 8:55 AM, Blogger *Goddess* said...

I agree with BarDouble, that was sweet of you to take the time and listen to her disseration on spoons.

At least the couple wasn't arguing about every little thing like my 80 something parents do. "We paid $35 for that jacket." "No, don't you remember it was on sale blah blah blah" until you want to stab yourself.

At January 08, 2007 9:28 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Uhh, if that genuinely is an 1800s cavalry rifle, it's worth way more than a measley $25.

At January 08, 2007 10:25 AM, Blogger Craig D said...

You see, this is where faking a siezure would've come in handy.

Great story!

At January 08, 2007 3:58 PM, Blogger Wizened Wizard said...

They may have been robbed of some worldly goods, but they haven't lost their pride, their understanding of reality, their caring concern for each other, or their belief that a police officer is kind, understanding and interested in their well-being.

Good work, Officer Gary. You made theirs a better world.

At January 08, 2007 4:53 PM, Blogger Meander said...

you are so sweet and kind! i bet you made their day listening to what they had to share with you...even about the irritable bowel topic. i have so much respect and admiration for you!

At January 08, 2007 11:08 PM, Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I'll bet your kindness and patience made a bad day for them much better. You are so sweet.

At January 09, 2007 12:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been considering applying to the police force here in Lubbock, TX and was looking for information about the training process. Your blog was the only one I have found and I actually just read the entire thing in one sitting. Very interesting. One thing that I noticed is that you haven't said in months that you are having fun. Has it grown old? Any regrets? I am graduating with an engineering degree in May and I need to make a decision about whether to go into engineering (internships have proven very boring but the pay is good) or seeking something more exciting and fulfilling. Please keep the information flowing our way.

- David Hunter

At January 09, 2007 1:10 PM, Blogger Officer Gary said...

David - This job is definately fun. There's not a day that goes by where something fun, interesting, crazy, or downright ridiculous happens. I'm sure you know it's not all fun, though. You mix it up with dirty, smelly, mean, nasty, dangerous, and pathetic people all the time. It can be boring at times when nothing's happening or when completing hours of paperwork. As far as 'fulfilling' goes, I guess it depends on what you honor. Some people would hate this job and for others it's a dream. If you're looking for variety and excitement, I can't think of many other professions where you'd do better.

At January 09, 2007 1:15 PM, Blogger Brandon said...

That was pretty nice of you to let the lady show you her spoon collection. Older people usually are some of the more interesting people that you can talk to & you can usually learn something that you didn't already know.

At January 09, 2007 9:21 PM, Blogger Dirk_Star said...

Wht? No cookies? No lemonade?

Dude, you never agree to do anything with a senior until you see the cookies and lemonade!

Man, you are a rookie...

Yes, I’m running a bit late today.

I spent the better part of this morning dressed in sackcloth, my face covered in ashes as I beat myself about the head and shoulders with reeds in mourning for the Buckeyes...

I’m better now that the doctors have given me the shot.

At January 10, 2007 12:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are the best calls

At January 11, 2007 11:26 AM, Blogger Kimmy753 said...

Wow...very cool of you to tough it out and listen about her spoons. I bet you just made her week. :) must be going to Texas Tech..I'm a Ph.D. student there..go Red Raiders! :)

P.S. Tell Vicki hi and that we miss her!

At January 12, 2007 1:07 PM, Anonymous Rose said...

Ahh, maybe they don't get many visitors and wanted someone to talk to. :)


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