There’s no limit to the ways that Britain isn’t like the U.S. and I’ve just found a new one. But the story starts back a step or two. Mine always do.
In my most recent post, which wasn’t one of my best, I mentioned that in Britain cops and donuts aren’t fused together in the public mind the way they are in the U.S. That led Dan Antion to ask how on earth British cops managed to waste time if they don’t hang out in donut shops. Dan always finds something inspired to drop in the comment box, even when I’m not at my best.
As it happens, I thought I was well placed to answer that and I asked a friend who’s a retired cop and who will remain anonymous even though he’s retired and anyone who knows him could figure out who he is. But never mind. It adds to the mystique. Let’s call him–oh, let’s say his name is Anon.
Anon, I asked, how do British cops waste their time if they don’t eat donuts?
Well, he said, looking as if he’d been waiting all his life for someone to ask him exactly that question, his team had a rule: Anyone who was late had to buy donuts for, so they did eat donuts. Lots of donuts, because someone was almost always late. That led to a competition over whether they could eat a donut without licking their lips, and the only way to do it, he said, since donuts always leave sugar on your lips, is to stuff the entire donut in your mouth in one bite.
Yes, but how did they waste time? Did they hang out in cafes with all-day breakfasts?
He ignored the second question, which I took as a no, and launched into this story:
Back before CCTV was everywhere, between 3 and 5 a.m., when the streets were empty, they could close off a stretch of street with a police van at each end, set a line of traffic cones down the middle of the street, and take one of the small cop cars at they used at the time, which had a choke, and they’d set the choke so it would drive slowly, then stand on top of the car and use two dog leashes attached to the steering wheel to slalom the car through the traffic cones.
Is that even physically possible? Did he make it up? All I can tell you is that if it isn’t the truth he made it up in record time.
Can any American cop top that?