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The Blotter Paper of the 90's
A Razor's Edge Column
by p.l. frank

Perhaps it's alienation and anomie brought on by the Age of Technology. Maybe it's a natural response to overcrowding or the apparent breakdown of close, personal bonds within the family and community. Whatever the cause the result is apparent: modern society is having a real problem problem-solving.

You have probably heard of the rage that seems to permeate our roadways and airlines these days but not everyone decides to take matters into their own hands. For a growing number of folks the best alternative to finding their own creative solutions is to call the police. This practice of calling law enforcement officers to solve simple, everyday problems is a growing trend all over the U.S. From large, impacted urban areas to working-class and upscale suburbs, to small rural towns, an increasing number of people are turning to the police to resolve everything from problems with their neighbors to, well, see for yourself:

The following items were taken directly from Police Blotters during the second week of October, 1998. The locations are irrelevant; it could be Anywhere, U.S.A.

Item: October 7
A woman reported that the girlfriend of her ex-husband stood outside her home, yelled obscenities, and made obscene gestures with her hands.

Uh, do you really need to call the police for this? As I see it you have a couple of other choices here. Number One: get your video camera out, film her acting like a maniac in public, and then mail the tape to her employer. Number Two: call you ex-husband and tell him to reel her in or you will tell his coworkers about his secret penchant for wearing rubber gloves and adult diapers during love-making. [Note: It does not matter whether this is true, the imagery is so good the result will be the same either way.] Number Three: Shut the windows, draw the curtains, and turn the stereo up.

Item: October 8
A man reported that three teenagers shouted obscenities and spit at him as they drove by.

Ridiculous. Everyone knows that teenagers would never behave this way. This guy obviously just needs some attention. Volunteer at your local shelter or take up a hobby. And leave the police alone.

Item: October 7
A resident reported that a woman was verbally abusive to her over the phone.
Item: October 9
A man reported that someone allegedly left a harassing message on his answering machine.
Item: October 10
A woman reported that someone kept calling her and hanging up.

Now apparently we as a society have really lost our creative problem-solving skills. This is a TELEPHONE, folks. Do we really need to file a police report? Next time try this novel approach: IGNORE IT.

Item: October 13
A man reported that several items were stolen from his unlocked vehicle. The items included a video camera, cellular telephone, stereo/CD player, twenty-five CDs, a DVD player and a computer.

Can you spell "Insurance Fraud"? At least let's hope that's what this is. If not, this guy doesn't need the police. He needs a crash-course on Basic Living Skills. What person in their right mind would leave this sort of stuff in an unlocked vehicle in this day and age? This guy should have his belongings stolen just for being a moron. Someone this stupid doesn't deserve to have all that stuff.

Item: October 13
A woman reported that her boyfriend yelled at her and threatened to hit her with his bong.

Leave him. Immediately. He needs Anger Management classes and YOU need to learn to distinguish between genuine personal endangerment and idle threats. Everyone knows that pot-smokers would never do anything to damage their gear.

Item: October 14
A man reported that his back door was unlocked when he returned home. He stated that this is the fifth time in six months the door has been found unlocked but nothing has ever been disturbed or removed from the residence.

Forget the police sir, here's some creative problem-solving strategies: Number One, call a lock-smith. Number Two: have a giant garage sale and replace everything you own. Five break-ins and nothing was of value enough for burglars? It's time to upgrade.

We'll have to continue this later. There are several more items but I have to stop here and look up the phone number for the police station----the neighbor's cat just peed on my lawn.

Do YOU have a problem you would like help with? A number of readers have suggested I offer an advice section from time to time in my column. Screwed-up as the world is, I have decided to step up to the plate and do my part to help (smirk). Send me your problems, frustrations, or observations via email!

Disclaimer: All letters should be sent anonymously. It should be recognized that this is a totally irresponsible venture and therefore neither myself nor Mindjack are responsible for the consequences of any advice actually used.

b i o
P.L. Frank enjoys writing both nonfiction social satire and funny, thought-provoking novels.  Dr. Frank has been a researcher in the field of Behavioral and Social Sciences since 1983, and has worked as a university professor and therapist. 

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