20 life lessons they don’t tell you about

By Lt. Steve Rose

If life has taught us anything, it’s taught us that life can hold a lot of unexpected surprises: some good, some not so good, and some just plain ugly. There has never been a rule book about all the things you probably need to know. Somehow, regardless of how many people have had similar experiences, there never seems to be a pass-down of even the really good things you need to know, at least in the real world.

There is no one “real world.” My real world is different than someone else’s. The real world to the upper crust may be no Starbucks within a five-mile radius while, two miles away, the real world means your meth dealer got popped by the cops and your connection just dried up. Either situation can be the universal bummer.

But I believe there are fundamentals, or absolutes, that most young people would benefit from hearing. Learning from others can be beneficial. One person may suggest: “Help those who are not as fortunate as you.” I’m good with that, …

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Off-duty: Maybe I should just forget my age

My iPod is missing.

This is the second time. No one stole it; it’s just missing.

To make it worse, it’s only the size of a stamp. I don’t even know why they bother with an earphone. I could just place it in my ear — but I’d probably forget where it was and how embarrassing would that be when you show up at the shrink’s office claiming to hear voices and he pulls your iPod out of your ear?

The last iPod I lost was found in my car by the car-wash girl. She found it two weeks after it went out of warranty. I remember having it in the car, along with the receipt, because the battery was bad. Where do these things go?

One thing I learned from other detectives back in the detective days was to eliminate the probable and start looking at the improbable, and then the nearly impossible. Well, that never works when you lose stuff. I looked all over for the first missing iPod and could have sworn I checked that car up and down.

One car wash later, that teenage girl politely placed it in …

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Off-duty: Weekends are our escape from insanity

We are a funny species. How did we get to be the supreme beings of Earth’s food chain and how long do we expect to be in first place, the way we’re acting?

Booze and drugs have accounted for most of the craziness — not to mention insanity, a noble defense for parents of teenagers — but I think we teeter closer to the edge than ever before. And we don’t need much of a push to get us over the edge.

We’re packed like sardines into these cookie-cutter communities surrounding the city, thanks to idiot politicians and deep-pocketed greedy developers who somehow convinced the aforementioned idiot politicians that building high-density residential communities, producing a few hundred thousand cars on the already taxed infrastructure, was a good idea.

The drive to Atlanta from Gainesville now takes roughly three months. Driving through Dunwoody or Sandy Springs is like driving through Marietta or Douglasville. Strip malls and subdivisions and streets filled with cars with people who …

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How you, too, can be an identity theft victim

The story begins at a sandwich shop. I go in, order a turkey on wheat, lettuce, tomato, pickle, oregano and a shot of spicy mustard. The employee — I guess the manager — is frustrated. He’s making a sandwich while talking on his Bluetooth phone, trying to get one of his employees to come in because his 11 a.m. guy didn’t.

I’m second in line behind a woman who’s facing away from me as she stands at the checkout line. The manager is running behind as a result of his noon employee being late. He’s making sandwiches and handling the cash register, too.

As we stand in line, he is ignoring the cash register, focusing instead on constructing the woman’s sandwich. She looks of normal height and weight, has long hair and wearing a sport jacket, jeans and a pair of boots. She looks maybe 30 to 40 years old from the back but I can’t see her face so I really don’t know.

(In this situation, men tend to fill in the blanks so I asked my imagination to paint a mental image of her face for …

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I, too, have a chicken story

Not too long ago there was a loose pig running around near I-75. Efforts to find the pig fell short and as each day went on, the pig remained free. Even though he enjoyed his freedom, the cards were stacked against him. Unfortunately, there’s no future for a pig on the loose. With no education or local contacts to hide them, most pigs will end up on the streets at the beck and call of some pimp.

Every so often the animals get loose and run the streets for a while—usually after a livestock truck turns over on the expressway. The last big one I remember was a cattle truck that overturned on I-285 near Roswell Road some 20 years ago. Some of the cattle were killed but many escaped to terrorize a nearby upscale suburban community for days. Numerous cattle sighting were called in to 911 by panicked homeowners:

“911—what is your emergency?”

“Aughhhhhh! There’s a cow in the back yard! He’s slowly lumbering around the yard! Help please!!!”

“Ma’am, it’s a cow.”

“Aughhhh!!! Send the …

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Scammers often target the elderly

I read a report this week that a woman received a call from a man who said he was her grandson. She didn’t know which one so she listed the names. He stopped her at Bryan. He told her that he was arrested in Madrid, Spain, in connection with a drug charge. He needed her to send him bail for the charge.

He told her he was going to testify against the real bad guy but needed to be out of jail in order to help. Another man got on the phone and said that he was a member of the U.S. Consulate’s Office. Still another man got on the phone and said he was an attorney.

All three convinced the woman to send two payments — one for $3,400 and a second for $1,500, plus more than $200 in transfer fees — to a Western Union address.

The woman later became suspicious and then called her grandson Bryan’s mom. She learned he was in college, safe and sound, in Texas.

She’d been duped.

Now you read this and say “How the heck does someone just take the word of someone on the phone and just send …

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Good people come forward, help injured ex-cop

I guess one of the hardest lessons a young person must learn in life is that life isn’t fair. There are some good people who get the short end of the stick and some bad people who continue to thrive. It’s just the way it is.

The recent saga about former Fulton Police Officer Paul Phillips is riddled with irony. If you are not familiar, here’s the short version from an ajc.com story late last week:

Paul Phillips, former Fulton County police officer who was wounded by a Duluth police officer in 2008, holds his daughter, Raleigh, in this Facebook photo.

Paul Phillips, former Fulton County police officer who was wounded by a Duluth police officer in 2008, holds his daughter, Raleigh, in this Facebook photo.

“Phillips had served with Fulton County police for 12 years when he was shot Feb. 1, 2008, by a Duluth police officer, Jay Dailey.

“Police say a drunken Dailey was off duty when he crashed his car in Sugar Hill, then flagged down a woman and asked her to call 911. Moments later Dailey inexplicably went on a rampage, smashing her car window, pepper-spraying her and threatening to kill her, according to police.

“Phillips, driving …

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Off-duty: Guys, mess up Valentine’s Day at your own peril

Two years ago, in the evening hours of Feb. 14, I was in the grocery store picking up some egg whites, low-cal bagels, fake butter, 2-percent milk and fruit, and all the while cursing the really-in-shape woman ahead of me who had a basket full of steak, pasta, beer and some greasy chicken fingers. Passing the greeting-card aisle, I found a truly sad sight.

Five men stood in front of what was left of the Valentine’s Day card section, desperately trying to find something that didn’t look like a leftover card. There were none. It was the aisle of the doomed.

The following year, I made the trip on purpose to see if history was going to repeat itself.

It did.

Valentine’s Day is two weeks away. Guys, go now and save yourself the heartache and months of abstinence that lie ahead if you screw this up — again. Enough said.

Remember, it’s not designed to be fair

Let me point something out. Valentine’s Day is the day to celebrate your love and commitment to each other, now and forever. …

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Off-duty: What I think about when stuck on Ga. 400

I couldn’t sleep.

I normally hit the sack around 11:30 and get up at 6- or 7-something. It wasn’t working out that way. (I think peace of mind is a rare luxury now days.) I woke up, contemplated the pros and cons of going back to sleep —all of which kept me awake and defeated the purpose — I got up around 4:30 with about five hours of sleep under my belt.

Coffee, some Corn Chex, a brief discussion with the schnauzer, shower and I’m off.

In the car, I was trying to concentrate on the NPR program this morning. It was about some country that I didn’t recognize or could pronounce. The woman reporting on the country that I had never heard of was putting me to sleep. She had the NPR clear, precise voice I wish I could have listened to five hours before. I tried to focus on whatever she was talking about but I never could figure it out.

I went through the CD case and nothing stood out that I particularly wanted to listen to. Talk radio was on the early morning recycling of stuff that …

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Snowed in with cabin fever, hoping for new scivvies

Greetings from the Frozen Tundra.

Snow turns to ice and yet many still think that is the time to go to the store — which is probably closed, by the way. I’ve been here since Sunday. Two things are starting to weigh on me. First, I don’t have enough underwear to last much longer.

Secondly, I’m entering into cabin fever. I’m talking to myself. I’m doing it because there aren’t many people near my office to judge me. And by talking to myself, I can rationalize my thoughts with a second opinion — the other me. While I talk to myself, I’m holding the phone to my ear so people won’t think I’m crazy.

It may be too late.

Back to the first problem: You never miss the things you love until they’re gone. Without underwear, we are just animals. This realization goes back to 52 B.C. when Julius Caesar was said to have touched on the subject, along with his other famous statements:

“Alea iacta est.” (The die is cast.)

“Veni, vidi, vici.” (I came, I saw, I conquered.)

“Anei nomo shortsa”

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