As a policeman you see and hear a lot of things, the same is true for those in the military (I am doubly blessed, being both a policeman and a sailor), and for those in many careers.  Doctors, nurses, EMS, reporters, cabbies all see and hear a lot of unusual things.  Here are a few of the things I have heard and/or seen in the last few months.  I make no apology should your recognize yourself, or someone you may know. 

      As a Navy Recruiter, I often speak to parents and grandparents before their family members join.  I often hear, “I don’t want little Johnny or Susie to join the Navy, I appreciate what you people do, but I don’t want my Johnny/Susie to join!”  I always ask, “So just what sort of people do you think we are?”  You should see the reactions I get.  Typically young men and women who choose the vocation of serving their Country could have and would have been successful at what ever path they chose; and many have already proven themselves in other arenas.  They are mentally, morally and physically above average.  They are from all walks of life.  They come from middle class, poor and wealthy families.  They are short, medium build and tall.  Some are handsome or beautiful, some are average, some homely, and some perhaps ugly.  Some are high school graduates, some are college graduates, many are somewhere in between.  Some were home schooled, or attended other alternative educational programs.   The one thing they are not is what folks believe, and that, quite frankly is someone who turned to the Navy (or any other branch), because they had no other choice!  Sadly, over 60-80% of today’s high school graduates are unqualified for military service.  Most can not pass the entrance examination; many others are disqualified for moral and/or legal issues and others are physically unqualified, mostly due to obesity.  So next time you see someone in uniform, thank them for their service, and know they are truly a cut above the rest.
     A few weeks ago my family and I were visiting a neighboring parish and there was an old world map hanging in the vestibule. It depicted the known world at the time before Christ’s life.  I couldn’t help but over hear an older lady telling a guy how horrible the Muslims were, how they were going to cause the end of the world as we know it.  She considered Islam an evil empire.  She said they were out to destroy all Christians, and were no better than the Nazis of WWII Germany (no argument from me that that was an evil empire, in which many good Germans were trapped).  I asked her, “Just how many Muslims do you know?”  Her answer, “None”, was not surprising.  Having lived in both Asia and Southwest Asia extensively, I just happen to know a lot of Muslims.  They really aren’t that much different than most of us.  Most are hard working, very religious, family people, who frankly want the same things out of life that most Americans do.  Several folks from that parish evidently overheard my conversation with this woman, and appreciated me shutting her up, at least for a while.
     I can’t even go to the gym without running into folks like this.  I often jog on a treadmill while at the gym.  One morning a woman came into the room and sat down on an exercise bike right in front of me.  She was obviously more interested in watching the television and reading her magazine, than in getting her heart rate up or actually exercising.  She would continually look back at me jogging on my treadmill, obviously annoyed about something.   The whole time, she never pedaled her machine more than a few rpm.  When I got up to wipe down my machine, she said loudly, “Thank you for giving me a headache!”  Don’t you just hate those folks, who go to the gym for reading and social hour with their friends, and get in our way?  I know I do, so I told her I didn’t give her anything and if she didn’t like it she could go elsewhere to socialize and watch television.  There are other cardio areas at the gym.  She next asked me why the treadmill was so damned loud…  Hmmm, perhaps, because I weigh 245 pounds and was running at about 7.5 mph.
     Last month, there was a guy, who got into an altercation with another man, over a girl (I know that isn’t so shocking).  He killed the other guy, and was caught pushing the dead body rolled up in an old carpet, down the street (a major street, mind you), in a shopping cart.  He was evidently heading down to the riverfront in Paducah, to dispose of the evidence of the murder.  This guy is a definite contender for this year’s Darwin Award.  Just what the hell was he thinking?  At least transport the evidence in a less obvious manner, maybe in a trunk, or truck.  If you don’t own a vehicle, you can usually rent one for around $20.00, no questions asked, though I doubt he would have been smart enough to wash the blood stains out before he turned it back in.  Or perhaps, calling the authorities afterwards, after all if the other guy is dead, he couldn’t very well contest your story. 

      All I know is people are amazing.  Just when I think I have seen and heard everything, I meet or hear about someone like those four.  Yes, they do walk among the rest of us.  It is because of people like this, that you can’t purchase a cup of coffee without a warning label stating it is Hot!  Or buy a hair dryer, without a label telling you not to use it in your tub.  They are why every fast food restaurant in our country has had to block and cordon off their drive thru lanes to warn folks before stepping into the road.  My Grandfather use to tell me, sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.  It is a shame so many can’t or won’t follow that wisdom.
Respectfully Submitted,