One of the more enjoyable aspects of crushing crime is the anticipation and participation in drug screening tests to determine that your behavior is not altered by chemicals, alcohol, or second hand smoke from a recent Allman Brothers concert.
In other words, they prefer you go wacky all naturally—which is fine, and surprisingly easy to do.
My Uncle Dewey spent so many years drinking that we accepted this as his natural state. He finally quit drinking after his last arrest where he showed up at his probation office in the stolen nun’s habit, reeking of Prince Ivan Vodka, and carrying a chicken. In sobriety, he intended to and expected to fit in with normal people but normal to him was the Moose Lodge at 2 a.m.—or Wal-Mart on Saturday mornings.
In our business, a good quality is to be systematically unsystematic. No patterns and hopefully a minimum of predictable habits. Patrol officers should not do the same things day after day and so on. Drug testing is designed to be unsystematic as well.
The computer supposedly picks a random number of officers to be tested each month. They want officers to be in that percentile of what they perceive as normal. If they’re not, they want to know if or not their behavior is artificially induced. That may explain why I was “randomly” picked every two weeks.
Here’s how it went:
I get a call from the Internal Affairs guy who said I need to go see the drug test guy sometime that day. The Internal Affairs guy makes a sort-of joke about how I shouldn’t do crack today. I offer a small courtesy laugh and let the following awkward silence spoke for itself.
An hour later I arrive at the place and meet the drug testing guy offering a small joke about how I would have been there sooner but I stopped to drink a gallon of some weird Chinese tea to flush out my system. He doesn’t even offer a courtesy laugh. The awkward silence again spoke for itself.
He began the questions. They were, and he was, quickly irritating to me.
“Okay Mr. Rose, are you taking any medications?”
“Uh, yes, Flomax.”
“Yes, Flomax, you know, for that prostate thing.”
He looks at me like he’s trying to decide if I’m lying—the same look the polygraphers give you when they ask you questions like “Are you human?”
The drug test guy keeps giving me the look like he’s on to me.
“Okay……Flomax? Okay, do you have a prescription for that?”
(What?) “No, I’m buying it on the street from the members of the International Flomax Cartel. My symptoms must be giving me away. I urinate at suspiciously regular intervals and hang around guys who appear to be over 50 who also are not frequently urinating while taking long and happy canoe trips. Was it that or the consistent complaining about the side effects?”
At that very moment, it occurred to me that I needed not to make enemies with the guy in charge of my drug test under the same theory that one should never make a big deal of food that isn’t cooked just right and demand it be returned to the kitchen until it’s done right.
“Here’s your pork chop sir, sorry for the problem and thank you for yelling at me in front of the other customers. How’s that pork chop now?”
“Fine I guess. Say, does anyone else smell cow poop?”
I quickly dropped my sarcastic attitude and thusly the plan to leave my hands slightly wet after washing them and then shaking the drug test guy’s hand on the way out—something that I assumed was their greatest fear.
Nope, I was going in the direction of sucking up to the drug-test guy, not because there was anything in that specimen but rather my hope that my results would not contain the product of revenge courtesy of that drug-test guy, who maybe should be on the testing schedule himself—I don’t know…I was getting more and more paranoid by the moment.
The last thing I needed was to get called into the Chief’s office with the conversation starting off with, “Okay Steve, can you explain the presence of plutonium in your urine?”
“Plutonium? Isn’t that nuclear stuff?”
“Yes, and quite frankly, we’re a little concerned.”
Nope, more than anything, I wanted this guy to like me.
Well, it turned out it was all for nothing. Who cares of the drug test guy is a little eccentric? Why should that irritate me?
Meeting me for the first time is an eccentric experience for normal people. No, I was fine, my urine was fine, my prostate was the right size, (although I was still complaining about the side effects to my prostate support group,) and there wasn’t a hint of plutonium to be found.
Even so, I felt bad about how awkward I made the experience so when the drug-test guy called me later to thank me for the new ShamWow he received in the mail, I finally felt warm and fuzzy—which, now that I think about it, is a symptom of plutonium digestion.