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Fear and Joking in Dolores Park

Posted by on August 17, 2007

I’m writing an article about the SFPD’s K-9 unit, which means Wednesday found me standing in Dolores Park taking pictures of a couple of cops and three dogs that are trained to kill me where I stand.

I don’t know whether you’ve spent a lot of time around cops. I haven’t myself, and frankly they make me nervous. They are armed. I’ll say it again. THEY ARE ARMED. I know, I know, it might be tough to explain shooting me for no reason…but conceivably they could do it and get off with just a warning.

When I am nervous I tell a lot of jokes, as my poor in-laws can attest to. (Or “in-loves,” as I like to call them, since Gene and I are not married.) When I am nervous around cops, I tell a lot of crime jokes.

“He’s really calm today,” one of the cops said about her narcotics-sniffing dog. “It’s unusual.”

“Ha ha! It must be because I didn’t take my normal bath! In drugs! This morning! Because I bathe in drugs every morning!”

(I tell BAD crime jokes around cops.)

“Why aren’t you wearing your vest?” the other cop asked her, referring of course to her bullet-proof vest.

“I dunno, I normally do,” she said.

“You should wear it all the time,” he said.

“Yeah,” I said. “I might be packing heat.” Ha ha ha, we all laughed. “After all, this is a really big purse,” I added. Ha ha ha, I laughed, while my new cop friends eyed me with sudden suspicion.

In retrospect, it is probably unwise to try and be funny around people with guns. And dogs. I was allowed to pet the dogs, but now I’m thinking that was just so they could get my scent for later, when the chasing and fear happens.

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