Sunday, November 9, 2008

That Rare Bird...

... at least for me, was something I caught yesterday. In other words I had to work yesterday. While it has not been an unfamiliar thing for me over all the years of my career, it has become a rarer and rarer thing in recent years as I near retirement. The truly strange thing about yesterday is that I volunteered to work the day. Without going into details just let me say it was a potentially dangerous set of duties for me, as it is for all others who are doing the same thing. I would talk about it more, but am not allowed to do so. It was a fairly mundane day as far as they go if only because nothing bad happened; but I can tell you without a doubt that I was on high alert all day long. The others I worked with seemed to be fairly relaxed, but at the same time also at orange alert all day long (using the states of alert I have learned in firearms training that is the one just under red alert when the shit has actually hit the fan or is at least imminent). It certainly has a way of getting one wound up, and learning how to relax properly, as soon as you get off duty, after a day like that is nothing I have ever quite gotten the hand of. Sure you relax, over time, but you wind up taking some baggage home with you, and you need time to shake it off; someone who is understanding an cuddly helps also. I did not get any help yesterday. As a matter of fact I was up for most of the night. Slept on and off but was not able to get any solid sleep. I only crawled out of bed about an hour ago. I don't know how I did things like this when I was younger, but I did, and I slept a whole lot better then too.

This all brings to my mind an intense movie I saw recently on television called No Country For Old Men. I thought so right after watching it, and I am convinced now, that the whole moral to that story (and yes there was a moral) was that old men should retire from law enforcement because it is definitely not for them. Old men being those who are eligible to retire, and while the retirement age for law enforcement officers is pretty low you can bet you are too old for the job once you hit about 50 to 55. There is a reason for that younger retirement age. I guess it has to do with all the foul things and terrible people we see and experience over the years, and with the abuse we take, and I guess with all the abuse we do to ourselves, and I suppose with all of the odd hours we keep, and with all of the baggage we bring home to our loved ones, and all the darker deeper stuff we never tell even them about (the stuff we hide away that we do not even want to believe ourselves), and with our fears.

I am in my mid fifties. Yep, I guess retirement time is knocking at my door. I don't know if I am going to be able to make it another year as I have been planning, but not because of anything to do with what I just mentioned. You see, even with all of the kind of things I just mentioned, there is no other type of work I would rather have done for my career now that I have experienced it. As a matter of fact, there is no other work I would rather do right now, and no other purpose that I would choose to fulfill than the most basic purpose of my job. That is exactly why I volunteered for a potentially dangerous assignment. It is not that I am unconsciously suicidal or anything like that; I take the prudent precautions that some others do not (such as wearing my body armor yesterday), practicing what I have learned in training often, trying to stay somewhat in shape (not doing to well there lately), and so on. No, the reason I like it is because there truly is no other job, no other adventure, quite like it. I still enjoy the actual down and dirty work. Once I get down to the bottom line of my work, once all the paperwork, all the politically correct bullshit, all of the rules are covered, my job is one of the most interesting, one of the most adventurous, one of the most enjoyable jobs that anyone could have. Well that is not quite right, because not just anyone was cut out for it, but you get my drift - it is the best type of job for those who actually choose it for their career and stick with it because they like it and because they realize the purpose of it. Hemingway was right in what he said about the manhunt, though I don't suppose he really understood the underlying reasons as to why someone would choose to hunt men, he sought only the thrill and not the fulfillment of the purpose.

"There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter."

Hunting for men is the ultimate challenge whether they be armed or not; and when you come right down to the bottom line that is my job but for a purpose. That in its simplest terms being stopping bad men from doing bad. I will admit though I don't get to do it as much now as some years back, and I miss that part of it. Yet as I said, Hemingway was right and I can attest to that. In all, I have been doing it for some 29 years now and the actual hunt of bad men, the challenge of it, still fills my soul with a purpose as simple as good prevailing over evil. It makes for one heck of an adventure, and in my eyes the life of a lawman is the ultimate adventure. No Country For Old Men?- Hmm, I may not yet be quite that old, not just yet.

All the best,
Glenn B