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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, September 27

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Steve / June 15, 2004 10:51 AM

Stepping up to the man usually just results in a beat-down, doesn't it? Why just this weekend I was at a cousin's graduation party, and Dennis the Cop was proudly wearing his "Nobody Argues With My .45" belt buckle. And since my gat -- a supersoaker deluxe -- was at home, I was indeed in no position to debate the issue.

But with the 4th of July coming up, we get to see just how powerless the man can be, as tens of thousands of Chicagoans will be blowing off illegally imported fireworks all over town. Sure, a squad car may roll down your alley once or twice an hour, but that's just an opportunity to grab a quick breather (or more hootch, since nothing mixes better with liquor than fireworks) and let the smoke clear. Then, it's lights away once more, as we recall our nation's overthrow of tyranny or something like that.

Carly / June 16, 2004 12:46 PM

Once I was working as an adminstrative assistant for a financial planner at big to-do company.

I got these really kick ass red extensions at Milios, nothing too crazy, but I was not well received at the office.

My boss actually insinuated that I must be a lesbian to do something like this and also sublty threatened to fire me.

Unfortunately, I stepped down and took them out. But I still regret not quitting.

Andrew / June 16, 2004 2:29 PM

I haven't been hassled by the man in a long, long time. However, I had a nice Memorial Day non-hassle a couple years back.

We were having a picnic in Lincoln Park near Foster, grilling meats and drinking wine. A police cruiser rolled up and two cops got out to check on us. They reminded us that wine was a no-no, and we pretended that the nice merlot (or whatever) we were drinking was non-alcoholic. That was enough for the cops, who didn't seem very worried about enforcement that day: when we tried to draw their attention to the group of (black) men nearby who were smoking some quite pungeant weed, one of them replied, "Oh no, that's their culture." They drove off in the opposite direction.

jennifer / June 16, 2004 2:42 PM

I was hassled by the man in quite an unusual way. I worked at a coffee shop, and the 13th and 14th district cops would come in all the time, because they'd get their coffee and food for free. One cop, Juan, took a liking to me and would tip me $20s, bring me flowers and buy me presents, which I'd refuse to accept, but he'd just leave them on the table when he left. He'd swing by the shop when I was closing, since I was the only person working there at nights, to make sure I was okay. This continued for a few months, when I just got tired of it, and made some off-hand remark near my boss about Juan the cop. My boss was on the phone with precinct captains complaining about the harassment of his employees. Not a single cop came in after that day, throughout the rest of my time working at the shop. Tips went down quite a bit, but I was a much happier person at work.

Carly / June 16, 2004 2:55 PM

I'm beginning to think you meant cops when you said The Man. Now I'm wondering if I've always misunderstood this misnomer, or if this is just some secret way of saying police and I'm right to have misjudged it.

Andrew / June 16, 2004 2:57 PM

Oh no, "The Man" means any authority figure. Most people just think of the cops whenever authority comes up.

TOOL / June 16, 2004 3:19 PM

"Listen here little fucker . . . I'm the man and you're the man and he's the man as well, so you can that fucking finger and point it up you aaaassssss!"

'That Ian' / June 16, 2004 3:21 PM

I got hassled for a tail-light so I did stepped down. No need to get bent out of shape over something as trivial as a tail-light...

d4ve / June 16, 2004 3:49 PM

stepped sideways

me n a friend got picked up on suspicion for some bullsh*t and held at the station till they worked it all out. He was wearing a neck pouch fulla pot. Right before we were searched we were alone with this one police officer. My friend was desperate and confided in her that he had weed up in this pouch. Surprisingly she took it from him and dumped it down the toilet. A minute later The Man came in and searched his pouch.

how cool is that?!

Jake / June 16, 2004 4:21 PM

Andrew, you narked on some tokers. Harsh, dude. What's your problem, bro? Have a hit of this and relax.

Do bongs!

I've never had any problems with the Chicago P.D. Keep in mind, though, when considering stepping to the Man, that a cop can throw you in jail and charge you with just about anything they want to. I went to jail in Michigan for "hindering and opposing a police officer" after I asked a cop who barged into my friend's 30th birthday party who invited him in. He asked me if I lived there, and I repeated my question to him. He cuffed me and paraded me around the party, threatening my friends with joining me if they did not break it up, blah, blah, blah.

Of course it was bullshit. I hired a lawyer and they dropped the charge contingent on me signing something that said I would not sue them for false arrest. The lawyer cost $1,000. And I was done with it. I could've gone to trial and won and then sued them, but I didn't have any real damages and I didn't feel like dealing with it. Plus, I didn't want my mom to find out about it.

For all the times I totally deserved to be thrown in jail, wouldn't you know I end up getting arrested for some absolute baloney. Karma, I guess. Speaking of karma, one of these days Officer Scott Ramburger is going to get his, that prick.

Andrew / June 16, 2004 4:58 PM

I hardly narked -- anyone within a 100-yard radius of those guys could smell it, including the officers. Besides, we were using the oldest defense in the book: throw blame on someone else.

Eamon / June 16, 2004 5:13 PM

That still makes you a servant of The Man, yo. For shame.

Vit / June 16, 2004 5:14 PM

I was pulled over and hassled once in rural Arkansas, I definately stepped down. Those stupid city stickers Chicago makes me put on my car window were not my friend that day.

Louis / June 16, 2004 5:30 PM

In my extensive experience with the man, it is always best to step down. I've been let off a couple times just for being nice and cooperative when the man has found me with doobage. And yes, Andrew, for shame. Cowardly really.

Missuh / June 16, 2004 9:41 PM

I fought the law.

& yes, the law won.

Lisa / June 16, 2004 10:11 PM

Ah yes... the man.

As I was leaving the city, driving to my parents' home in Cincinnati one Good Friday, I began to get frustrated. The skyway was down to one lane thanks to some construction, so I could not pass the guy in front of mewho was driving 30 miles an hour while gaping at a car pulled over to the side in the construction zone. Annoyed, I blew my horn. One time. BEEEEEP.

Minutes later, when the construction ended (just before that $2.00 toll into Indiana) I heard a siren blaring behind me. I glanced in my rearview mirror and thought, "Ooooh, he's after somebody!" Imagine my surprise when the cop zoomed past me, screeching his car to a sideways halt in front of me like he was trapping a criminal in a bad movie.

Baffled, I stopped, knowing that for once I was NOT speeding. The Man came out screaming. I know better than to argue with irate policemen, so I sat there quietly while he wrote out my ticket, which read:

Riiiiight. Happy ending, though. At traffic court, Officer Friendly he did not challenge the ticket and my good horn-honking name was cleared.

Andrew / June 16, 2004 10:48 PM

Whatever. It was a joke and the cops took it as one, but regardless, if you smoke pot in broad daylight within eyeshot of the police, you take your chances.

Steve / June 17, 2004 9:20 AM

For the record, Lisa deserves every moving violation she's ever been cited for. Times ten.

And you don't even wanna know about her parking ticket situation....

Kenzo / June 17, 2004 1:38 PM

Leave Andrew alone! Put it in perspective. Let's say the young men he "narked on" were not smoking weed. Let's say they were violently masturbating in the park, in broad daylight. I don't think anyone would be coming to their defense. Public masturbation and smoking pot are BOTH prosecutable offenses that should have the attention of law enforcement.

dan / June 17, 2004 1:40 PM

Well, masturbating in public is one thing, but "violently" masturbating in public? There's just no excuse...

Steve / June 17, 2004 1:58 PM

Perry Farrell once sang "Sex is violence." So if maturbation is sex with yourself, and sex is violent, then isn't all masturbation violent?

Sounds like if Kenzo were the mayor, this town would go all Giuliani in a heartbeat. Viva le zero tolerance!

Eamon / June 17, 2004 3:57 PM

I think the issue is that Andrew pointed out a similar crime elsewhere in order to deflect from his own. Kinda hypocritical.

And speaking of hypocritical, I'm not saying I'm above such a thing-- mainly because I sorrowfully admit that I am a slave to The Man.

Shylo / June 17, 2004 5:00 PM

Once, I threw this party and the Man showed up. I'd just made a tidy sum off these pot plants growing in the closet and felt no fear.

I was all, "Cops! Come and try to snatch my crops!" I'd had a few, surely, and was feeling pretty ballsy. Luckily, my peeps pulled me inside and the Man scurried off.

But I'm sure everyone on the floor heard me yelling, "These pigs wanna blow my house down."

thatbob / June 17, 2004 5:41 PM

Eevie and I were drinking pounders and playing Scrabble late one night at one of my favorite spots in Chicago, the concrete barrier overlooking the beach at Juneway Terrace Park. Down the wall some other folks were out enjoying the night. Rogers Park beaches are cool that way.

Some cops came along to close the park at 11. We hid the pounders at our ankles and pled "We're in the middle of a game of Scrabble!" with all the innocence we could muster.

"Almost done?" the cop asked.

"No. About 20 minutes?" we asked.

"No," the cop explained, "I just asked those other people to leave, and you know how that would look if I let you guys stay." (Note: the "other people" were black, and "us guys" are white.)

"Yeah, okay, we understand." We stepped down.

"Not that those people would ever play Scrabble," the officer added, unnecessarily.

Benjy / June 17, 2004 5:50 PM

While the score looks a little lopsided here, I fought the law and *I* won! And I even has "ammo" in reserve I never had to use.

On the way home from work, I got pulled over for running a stop sign on Wrightwood, about a block east of Ashland. While the officer was nice and all, I still got a ticket.

I circled around the block and noticed a big, jacked-up SUV parked in such a manner that it completely obscured the stop sign until I was literally right at the stop sign. So I snapped a few pics with my digital camera for use in court.

However, I never needed those pics. I noticed that the cop had written "Illegal Left Turn" on the ticket. When I went to the police station to post the bond for my license, the cop hadn't come in from his beat. When he arrived, he said to me that he'd caught 3 more people running that stop sign. I commented to him that was funny, because he cited me for "Illegal Left Turn." He asked to see the ticket and was going to change it, but the desk sargent told him to let me off! So I didn't have to post the $70 bond and when my court date arrived I showed up and was basically told I could leave.

Cynth / June 18, 2004 10:12 AM

I didn't say "thank you" the last time I was handed a speeding ticket. Does this count as fighting the Man?

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