I hope this post finds you well. It is the middle of the week here at Casa Finley and once again, I get questions on when I will post the next blog. Usually it starts off……..
“Hey haven’t seen a new blog lately and need to know how you are feeling.”
“Well I can tell you right now.”
“No…thats ok. I’ll read about it when you post a new blog along with a new story.”
I’ll cover the health issues first. I’m doing OK. The pain in my throat comes and goes but seems to be lessening. I am weaning myself off the pain medications but some days, need the full dose. Overall, the pain seems to be abating. Fatigue is still there and I’m fighting it. The missus is telling me to listen to my body and relax while I can but I guess the Type A part of my make-up is telling me to fight through it and use the time to get stronger. Don’t tell her but I imagine the Missus is right, but it’s hard to do something that you have never really done before.
This week I’ve been coughing up a lot of mucous. I think that’s a good sign? I go see the Dr tomorrow for a regular check-up and will find out then. My coughs are not sounding normal and the Missus (former nurse) is afraid they are sounding like the coughs are coming from my lungs, not my throat. Again, we shall find out tomorrow. Lastly, the last couple of days I’ve been running a low grade fever. (99-100). Nothing to panic about but in the evenings, I just don’t feel great.
Appetite / Diet – Still holding around 155. Oatmeal for breakfast..some sort of egg concoction for lunch and for dinner, I’ve been branching out a little. I actually had pizza the other night (minus the crust), and most of a Firehouse subway sandwich the next night. But then last night, tried to eat chicken noodle soup, which I’ve had before, and couldn’t get it down. This diet/appetite is the strangest thing. Can’t figure it out at all.
Latest on what I look like….
Special shout-out to Shannon and the rest of my buddies at TTPOA for the cool gear. Wearing it proudly, if not a little loosely.
Like I said earlier, headed to a regular check-up with the Doctor tomorrow and should have a better sense of if I am on track for recovery. Next week, 5/2, is when I have my CT scan scheduled and that is the big test to see if treatments were successful.
The outpouring of prayers, calls, texts, emails has continued to be overwhelming. I believe if I had a negative mood that the outpouring of positive well-wishes would certainly change that. It has meant a lot to me and my family and while I can be somewhat talkative and loquacious, (Who me? I know!)…I really can’t come up with the words to express my appreciation and what all of this has meant to me. These simple words don’t do it justice but…. Thank you.
UNRELATED STORY TIME….or…. “He needs the Stick!”
I have been hesitant to write this story…. basically because it shows a person in a bad light…..but the absurdity of what happened has won out. I’ve asked others and they have convinced me to go ahead and tell the story. As I said, it shows a person in a bad light and that person happens to be a female police officer. Now let me say this before I say anything else…. I have nothing against female police officers. I have worked beside quite a few. From my perspective, for every incompetent female police officer, you have the same ratio of incompetent male police officers. There are some very good female police officers out there and some I would work with and trust my life to, at any time. The one in this story happens to be not one of those.
I won’t use her real name so I will just call her “Jane” as in “Jane Doe.” Jane was my 3rd and final Field Training Officer (FTO) when I was a rookie with the Dallas Police Department. If you have read past blogs, the training program for rookies consisted of serving 6 weeks with a different FTO on a different shift and then moving to the next one. My first FTO, Eddie, was great He was very active and got me into all kinds of activity from car chases to busting up drug houses to all sorts of fun stuff. That was during the evening shift. The next shift was the daytime shift and I had Dirty Joe. Joe was a “old head” and the pace was much slower but I still learned a lot from him. We actually tracked down some bank robbers… well Joe did… I watched… and he taught me more investigative skills. Plus, every day with him was an adventure. Next up was the deep night shift (12m – 8am) and my FTO was “Jane”. Jane had three years of time on the street when she trained me. (not a lot) During your training, as the weeks progress, you, as a rookie, do more and more of the paperwork, decision making, etc as the weeks progress. I’m glad I had the order of my trainers because by the time I got to Jane, I knew a little, which was good, because she didn’t know much more than I did.
I could tell the story of how I took some initiative one night and some hard work on the computer and tracked down a serial rapist and she took the credit for it…. but instead, I will tell the story of how she almost got my butt kicked.
A little background… Jane is about 5’3″ and I wouldn’t say she was in great shape. I’m sure you have heard the expression, “about as wide as they are tall”. That was Jane. She was also very country in everything she said. About a year before I joined the department, there was a guy high on PCP and there was a big fight with a lot of officers and she joined in with her night stick and apparently hit this guy a couple of times and that was her claim to fame. Whenever we would run across someone that was bad, or she would hear about someone that was bad, her reaction would be.. “Well he just needs the stick!” It was sorta funny the first 20 or 30 times you hear it but after that, not so much. She was enamored with her night stick.
One night, about 3am, it is slow and nothing is going on. I’m driving and bored and one of the things you are graded on as a rookie is your initiative so I began looking for cars to pull over. Finally, I see the ultimate car to pull over. One headlight is out, the muffler is almost dragging against the pavement, a tail light is out, a rear view mirror is missing… I mean..this car was a mess. So I get behind the car and turn on my lights and the car immediately pulls over. I use the radio and let the dispatcher know where we are and get out of the car and start walking up to the other car.
But first, a little background on police tactics. When you have a partner and conduct a traffic stop, as the driver, you are in charge. The partner basically covers the driver. The partner parallels the driver up to the car and while the driver is asking the driver of the other car about his license and so forth, the partner is shining their flashlight in the car looking for other people, guns, etc. Obviously, if the partner sees anything, he lets the driver know about it.
That’s what happens when the driver of the vehicle you have pulled over stays in the car. However, on this occasion, the driver got out of the car. And when I say got out of the car, I saw him get out of the car, and he kept getting out, and getting out and getting out. This guy was huge. I remember looking down at my flashlight thinking that if I have to use this on the person, all I am going to do is break my flashlight. I think briefly about my nightstick and think all that will do is piss this guy off. Maybe, just maybe, if I have to shoot this guy, the bullets won’t bounce off. I am still walking up to this guy and he finally gets all the way out and I stop the appropriate distance away from him and look up at this guy. This guy is huge. I am hoping my voice won’t crack when I say, “I need to see your license and proof of insurance.” Thankfully, it sounded manly enough. The driver responded, in a very deep voice, “Sure thing officer. But it is in the trunk of my car. Is it ok if I get it?”
Now all sorts of alarm bells are going off in my head. Who keeps their license in the trunk of their car? What else could be in the trunk that he needs? He already has the ability, and then some, to thoroughly whip my butt without needing anything from the trunk. So all these thoughts are going through my head and after a few seconds, I say, “Sure. Go ahead.”
I step back and make sure that I can see whats in the trunk, while keeping a safe distance from him when he opens the trunk and the only thing in the trunk is a duffel bag. The driver says, “Officer if its OK with you, I need to reach into this bag and get my wallet.” Again, all sorts of things COULD happen but this guy is going out of his way to make sure I know what he is doing and not making any rash movements and being very cautious. Again, I tell him to go ahead. He unzips the bag and reaches into a pair of pants and pulls out his billfold. He hands me his drivers license. I ask him about insurance and he tells me he doesn’t have any. I look back down in the trunk to his open bag and see some clothes in there with fringe and spangles and sequins. I ask him if he is in entertainment? He tells me he is a professional wrestler. I ask him what name he fights under and he says, “Tony Atlas”.
Now back in high school, my buddies and I used to watch wrestling….with Junkyard Dog and Dick Murdock and The Iron Shiek and Haystack Calhoun and Andre the Giant (who I actually met one time in Pat O’Briens but that is another story). In college, I had some fraternity brothers that still watched and I had heard the name Tony Atlas. He was a former bodybuilder and a former Mr USA and Mr Universe. Here he is:
He was also known as “The Black Superman”. Now Tony (not his real name) was bout 6’4″ but had to weigh about 275 during this time. And while he had a shirt on, you could tell he was very muscular. So I ask him why he was out so late and he told me he just finished a fight in Ft Worth and drove to Dallas because he is fighting there later that night. We chit-chatted a little bit and he was a very nice guy.
So I go back to the car to decide what to do with him. Technically, in Dallas, if you have three violations on someone, you could take them to jail, but no officer likes to do that unless you think there are a bunch of drugs in the trunk or the driver has really pissed you off. The next option was to write him tickets. Now I hated writing tickets but as a Rookie, you were expected to and this guy had about 9 violations so I had to do something. If he had been an A@@hole, I would have had no problem writing him all 9 but he was a nice guy and he went out of his way to make sure I knew what he was doing so I decided to only write him three.
I got back out of the car and went up to him while he is standing by his trunk. I tell him that I have written him three tickets and what they are for and his signature is not an admission of guilt, its just his promise to take care of them…etc…when he interrupted me and said, “Officer, I know you could have written 3X that amount and you didn’t and I want to thank you. I’ll gladly sign.” Oh…ok. So he signs the tickets and I had him his copies and I tell him to get his lights fixed and as I begin turning away from him, Jane decides it is her time to talk. She hasn’t said one thing during this entire traffic stop but she decides she has to now. Again, remember, she is 5’3″ and he is 6’4″ so she stands in front of him, takes out her nightstick (!) and starts tapping him on the chest (!) and says….”You need to get this piece of crap off the road before we run you in.”
I’m thinking that he is going to grab that stick, jam it down her throat and use her to beat me.
Instead, he looks down at her, looks at me. and starts laughing….loudly.
He turns around and gets back in his car. I am trying to stifle my laughter and immediately get in our car. Jane is still standing out there sputtering. She finally gets in the car and I know where she is about to go so I immediately do a u-turn on the divided road and go the opposite direction from Tony. Sure enough, after about 5-10 seconds of sputtering, she says, “We need to go find him. He needs the stick!”
I say something like I wish we could but due to traffic I can’t turn around, blah blah blah. For the rest of the night, she went on and on how he needed the stick and it was all I could to keep a straight face.
Nice moves Tony.