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Raymond, my convicted felon friend, was talking to his friend Dabney about caps when I walked in. Dabney, older than Ray-Ray by about ten years, spent his youth near Boston but fled Massachusetts for Florida before high school. They talk a lot about football, cars, the northeast and sometimes drugs. I hear them talking “caps” and ask, “What the hell’s a cap?”

“You know, caps. The freaking caps,” Raymond replies, except he didn’t say “freaking,” he said another word that starts with the letter F.

Raymond has a potty mouth. Heck, so do I, but my sister reads my blog and she doesn’t like gratuitous cursing; she prefers it when I expurgate the expletives. I think they add flavor but she thinks they make everything too salty. As you read this feel free to substitute very coarse ejaculations for the G-Rated ones that I have provided. Or don’t, I don’t really freaking care.

“Those freaks in Nassau County get paid a hundred and twenty grand a year for just driving around in their cars. Starting pay! And that’s all they do.”

Allow me to make another little detour here. I want to make it clear that Raymond is not stupid, not by a long shot, but he, like his language, has a strong proclivity toward coarse impetuousness. Originally from Long Island, he has lived in Florida a little more than a third of his twenty-nine years. He is actually quite bright, though he has an amazing lack of skills when it comes to anything arithmetic, but tends to go for heated statements over more contemplative conversation.

(I also fact checked his Nassau County police officer statement before writing this and, as you likely guessed, it too is a bit off. However, Nassau County cops are paid 40% more than the national average for similar work and over 2,800 Nassau County law enforcement officers had compensation between $120,000 and $612,5oo. Did Ray exaggerate? You bet. Is what he said vis-a-vis pay reflective of reality? Do your own freaking research!)

“Really?” I asked. That’s all?”

“Yeah,” Ray responded. “That and give out speeding tickets.”

“And eat doughnuts,” Dabney chimed in.

“I got a friend who’s a cop. Big guy. From the moment he took the oath he swore he’d never eat a doughnut in uniform.

“You probably like cops, don’t you?” Raymond asked.

Raymond is very hot or cold on most things while I tend to be lukewarm. My hot and easily bothered days have slipped by and now that I’m well into my fifties I’ve reached the IDGAF stage on most things. IDGAF can be read as “Live and let live,” or, “To each his own,” but however you interpret those five little letters I can assure you that I no longer give a fudge about things now like I did when I was twenty-nine nor even when I was on the cusp of forty. Getting old sucks, but it does afford a few compensations.

I looked at him, shrugged and said, “Depends on the cop. I’ve had friends who are cops. Heck! The cop who won’t eat doughnuts in uniform? My nephew. Not that he wears a uniform so much anymore. He’s a detective over by Orlando.”

“Hate ’em!” Ray announced. “Hate ’em all! They’re all scum!”

“Hmmmm. Remember when you told me a few weeks ago that I was weak because I’m neutral on most things? You said I was weak because I really don’t care if somebody’s gay or Christian or Muslim or a Democrat or Republican or a tranny so long as they don’t act like turd tops?”

“I hate trannies!” Raymond proclaimed for the hundredth time in my presence. “No offense, Keith. I know you are one.”

All three of us know that I am not a transsexual. In fact, I am rather conservative in most things sexual and pharmaceutical but take great pride in having friends that are different from me. I deny my supposed transsexualism with my standard rebuttal of, “I’m not a tranny. I’m a lesbian trapped in a man’s body!” and move on from there.

“So,” says I, “think of cop as a religion. Think of any religion. There are people of that religion that you think are cool and ones that you would like to see choke on a piece of hard candy. That’s how I feel about cops; there’s good ones, and there’s bad ones.”

“That makes sense,” says Dabney, a man who can become plenty riled but doesn’t have nearly the same core of easily accessed anger that Raymond does.

“Well I still hate ’em!” Raymond declares.

“I wouldn’t expect you to feel any other way,” I respond. “And guess what? Most of ’em I don’t think of one way or the other, despite having had some really good interactions with some cops and some where I wanted to throat punch the pompous, overbearing butt holes. But you know me, mostly IDGAF.”

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