A year or so ago, I was exchanging emails with Mikey. He was interested in sending me his stories for Just the Facts, Ma’am but was understandably cautious. This is an email I’ve been saving for the right moment to share with our readers. Our topic was what kept us in demanding, suck-the-life-outta-you careers. This particular email was significant to me and I thought you might like it, too.
You Know it in Your Soul
By Mikey, Retired LAPD
In the exchange of emails, you said it is “in your blood.” Nope, it’s in your soul. I’ve spoken to dedicated professionals in other fields and I have the same “feel for the talk,” and it is in your soul. I see it in your words, everyone. You don’t know why or really can’t explain it. Screw the folks who try and explain it to us. Take the third-grade teacher in the Bronx who gets crap for a salary buts does it anyway. The social worker who sees the worst but does it anyway. The copper who has a BA and can pretty much go state or federal but chooses to work the street. Or the writer who really needs to focus on something better, higher, more meaning, but does not.
No, it’s not in your blood, it’s in your soul. I know, and so do you. The key to knowing. You really never wanted to turn your back to it.
I truly, truly miss it, but I’ll share this with you and it is gospel. I intended to work until May 15th, 2008. On May 2nd I turned 60 and my wife and the station threw me a surprise party—kinda cool. On May 3rd, I was on patrol with my best bud, John Schick, yup, that guy. At 2100 hours, on the dot, I am stopped at a red light on Hollywood and Vine. I hear this (I did, ‘cause I was there) “You’re done.”
Brings tears to my eyes this evening cause in my soul, 41 years of being a copper was over. I told John 0400 was a long way off and I was feeling tired. I shut the ignition down for the last time, John took a pic, unloaded the cruiser—shop 88420 and walked into the Watch Commander’s office. The young lieutenant looked up at me and I said, “LT, I’m through.”
His response, “What took you so long?”
Witnesses and all, hugs all around. I got released, not by the LT, but by the hand that held my soul.
This is a message, me to you. You giving us the opportunity to tell our stories, priceless. Thank you, I like sharing with my new and old family.