Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Something I found in my notebook. Oct. 2008?

I always have a knife on me...In case zombies attack or I find myself in a John McClain-esq situation.

So today I'm getting off the subway and I walk by a police checkpoint. You know, those bag searching stations they have to ween out terrorists. A cop, whose name I read is McGovern, calls me to his neat, little table at his neat, little searching station. He looks me over, head to toe, and in a very clear, enunciated voice, like he really wants me to hear each syllable, he says...

"Hand over the book bag, Kid."

Now I've had to do this before, maybe because I look more suspicious than the average subway rider, and each time it's the same thing: they open my bag, look inside, and send me on my way. But not officer McGovern! He's really going at it. Taking out notebooks, my tupperware, flipping through pages of my book. Everything! It's like he's got one of those classic cop hunches and he won't give in until he finds some hard evidence and takes a bite out of crime.

And then he smiles. He slowly raises his arm and removes my keys, letting only one key chain hang down - Yup. My black Swiss Army knife.

"And what do we have here?" Office McGovern says.

"A black Swiss Army knife."

"Is there a reason you have this?"

I pause. I know where this is going, and where my knife is going, too.

"I didn't think so," Officer McGovern says.

He removes my knife, not even asking, and I feel like I'm being robbed and I should call the police. Fuck, right?

"Why are you taking that?" I say.

"Because this is a weapon," Officer McGovern says. "You think we want everyone walking around with weapons?"

Now here is where I want to let my tongue run wild. I swallow and hold my breath. I want to ask why HE has a weapon, why HE'S randomly rummaging through MY bag, and remind him of a little paperwork this country has called the mother fucking constitution, which clearly states you can't randomly search someone without reasonable cause, and how for whatever reason our government has given up on that idea and let a few spoiled eggs take away all of our personal freedoms. "FUCK THE POLICE!" is what I want to say. But I just stand there.

"But my grandfather gave it to me," I say. And McGovern pauses. He looks at me, and what I imagine to be the puppy dog eyes I now have, and he looks back to my knife he's still holding.

"Your grandfather?" Officer McGovern says. And then I say something real bad, so bad that I'm pretty sure it'll send me to hell one day.

"Yup. Right before he died."

It was a lie. My grandfather didn't give it to me. He probably didn't even own a knife. I actually stole it from a friend, if you want to know the truth, so if there's kharma out there then I deserved to have it taken away, regardless of my "damn the man" internal dialogue.

Then Officer McGovern pauses. He looks from side to side, waiting to see if his cop buddies are looking in our direction, and he hands the knife back.

"I'm sure your grandfather wouldn't carry that around the city, though," McGovern says. "And you shouldn't either."

Then he tips his hat, like a cowboy in the old west would, and I scurry back to the crowd, lost in a sea of zombies, which, stupidly enough, I still imagine I might have to fight off one day with old trusty.

And so it goes...On this day, empathy beats suspected crime.

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