Please welcome our guest blogger John and visit his blog Windy City Wonderer please, you won’t regret.
Just a quick intro, for those of you lucky enough to not know me. I’m a Chicago boy, living in financial exile in Ohio following a migraine-related health crash. Before I was robbed of the pleasure, I loved driving, and still love cars. I’m also prone to having weird things happen to me. Here’s a great one, from my “adventures with the traffic police” collection.
I figure most of us have been stopped by a traffic cop at one time or another. Or multiple times, for us leadfoots. I once had a rather … interesting … experience myself.
First, though, just a bit of background. I’m from Chicago, and Chicago and its’ so-called “collar counties” have some VERY tough gun laws. At one time, I was also a World War 2 re-enactor – you know, like those Civil War guys, only we dressed up in WW2 uniforms and shot blanks at each other. So I needed to have a WW2 rifle – and because I had the rifle, by the laws of the land, I needed a Firearms Owner ID card – FOID card for short. It was also an accepted form of picture ID in Illinois, so I kept it in the same slot in my wallet as my driver’s license. This WILL be important, trust me.
So, one late Spring Saturday, some 20 years ago, I was at work, and managed to finish ahead of schedule. I headed home, blasting down one of the area’s “mini-expressways”, a WEE bit over the limit, with the stereo blasting. Along comes some young punk in a little 4-cylinder Japanese car, challenging my V-6 equipped Cavalier. Yeah, I was a bad boy. I blew his doors off. And just as I sailed past him, I crested a hill, and there he was. Le Fuzz.
(Insert 6 of your favourite expletives here.)
I yank my foot off the gas and move over to the middle lane, hoping beyond hope the cop was going after somebody else. Yep – he slotted in right behind me, lights flashing.
(Insert 4 more expletives here.)
So I pull over, put the car in park, and wait for him to come up to me. He asks for license and insurance card. I got to the insurance card first, handed it over, then flipped to where my driver’s license was. Except it wasn’t. I had left it at home, for some unknown reason. I sat there for a second, trying to figure out where it was. And Mr. Officer, looking over my shoulder, sees the FOID card.
The next moment, he’s yelling at me “Are there guns in this car?!?” Actually, I should say I ASSUME he was yelling. I was having a bit of trouble hearing him, as his sidearm’s muzzle was in my left ear.
Yes – BOTH of them re-ascended.
Thankfully, both my brain and my mouth engaged high gear, and I managed to spit out an explanation that a) There were NO guns anywhere in the car; b) He could search both the car and me if he wanted; and c) I only had a FOID card because I was a re-enactor who fired blanks on weekends. At this point, the officer not only relaxed, but got quite chummy – turns out he was FASCINATED at the idea of a re-enactor! We chatted for a couple minutes, then he went back and ran my plates – clear, thank God. He came back, chatted for a couple more minutes, then explained that though he COULD have written me up for more than 15mph over the limit AND no license, he chose (due to my co-operation, according to him) to simply write me for speeding. Quite a bit less expensive, thank you. He gave me the ticket, wished me a good day, and reminded me to slow down, then let me go.
I don’t remember much of the rest of the day. I basically went home and shook for a couple hours. Of course, later the story became quite a funny anecdote, and many people thoroughly enjoyed hearing my tale. And I must admit, I do find it somewhat humourous today. But I will consider myself having lived a wonderful life if I never feel the cold barrel of a gun in my ear, EVER.
So keep your license with you at all times, and if you’re from Illinois, put that dang FOID card somewhere OTHER than right next to your license. Trust me – far better someone nuzzle your ear than MUZZLE your ear!