Monday, April 27, 2015

I now have a pretty neat trophy.

It's a State Trooper hat. It isn't a repop, but the real McCoy.

I found it in the breakdown lane of the turnpike and almost didn't stop for it. 

I was headed home and saw something in the breakdown lane and said to myself, "Hey, that's a campaign hat!" and pulled over.

Sure enough, it was a campaign hat and it was a State Trooper hat for sure.

Now, these hats cost money and I had no idea if the individual cop was responsible for replacing it or it was the kind of thing the state troopers issued as needed. I figured the trooper was likely out about $100 or more. Campaign hats are not cheap.

On the other hand I didn't want to have some poor trooper get in trouble, either for losing a hat. 

Of course the other side of the issue is that it's a neat find and it fit me like a glove. It is exactly my size and something like this is a real keeper.

Still, I'm not the kind of guy that would stiff a working guy for no reason. 

As I was pulling into the last leg of where I was going I saw an old lion of a city cop and flagged him down. As I pulled over I got the hat out of sight because I didn't want him to simply get all huffy and take it from me then and there.

Truth is, the only reason I did flag that cop down was simply that he was an old lion. Had he been some kind of young cop I wouldn't have bothered. He's have simply taken the lid, made a big deal out of it and given me a lecture of some sort.

I would have gotten angry and told him I was just an honest guy trying to return a lost piece of police uniform and to save the lecture for someone else. There likely would have been some sort of row over nothing.

One thing for certain, he would have simply demanded the hat. That would have been the end of it right then and there and most likely the cop wouldn't have made any effort to return it to the poor cop that lost it in the first place. 

"Hey, a couple of hours ago I found a trooper's hat on the side of the road. While it IS a real trophy and I'd love to just keep it I sure don't want some poor bastard to get into hot water," I said.

He laughed. "Yeah, I see your point. Something like that IS a keeper. Let me think a second. Any markings in it?"

"Nothing but the manufacturers markings," I replied. "I  already checked nothing at all except for the makers markings."

"Let's check. I just KNOW you got it with you. Don't worry, I'm going to give it back." he said. 

He was an old lion. I knew I could trust him and I gave it to him and we looked it over. No markings. He was good to his word. He gave it back to me. I knew that if he was a rookie I'd have lost it. Old lions seldom sweat the small stuff and he knew that while I was trying to honestly return it, if I couldn't I'd keep it as a conversation piece.

"Hmm..."he said. "Let's see how we can do this without embarrassing the officer.  Looks like we got nothing to go on. Frankly I'd say just quietly keep it. Looks like you got yourself a pretty good conversation piece there."

I gave him a mischievous look. "The trooper was just getting ready to put the cuffs on me for jaywalking when I spun around, grabbed his hat and took off.  I had to run ran almost two miles to get away from him!". The cop laughed at that one. Old lions generally have a pretty good sense of humor.

We chatted and I found out we had chewed some of the same dirt over the years. We briefly talked about the places we had been and we had a lot in common.

Then he explained that every piece of city gear had the officer's badge number on it and that it could easily be traced to the officer. He commented that it was odd that the state didn't do the same thing. He also commented that it was likely the trooper would get embarrassed for losing his hat if he got caught. He opined that the embarrassment would be worse than having to cough up for another one and that officers generally kept spares at home.

I drove off with my new trophy but I was not done yet.

I grabbed my cell phone and made a call. I have a friend that was a trooper and asked him.

"What likely happened is that the wind caught the hat and blew it off of his head," he explained. "They tell us not to go chasing hats on the highway for safety reasons. Just keep it. He'll get another one issued. These things happen."

"Hey," he added. "Don't go wearing it around town with the insignia on it... You probably know that already but I had to say it."

Now I have a neat trophy and a clear conscience.

Pretty neat.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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