Bad boys, bad boys, here’s a tip or two


Terry and I have been getting into reruns of Cops lately.

We all know the show. Most of us have even seen an episode or two. But until recently, it wasn’t something the two of us considered for regular viewing.

(Isn’t television a goldmine of potential brilliance these days? When I was growing up, three national networks, PBS, and a generation that watched Saturday afternoon movies on UHF television stations. Now there are dozens to hundreds of stations and streaming options. And how about Game of Thrones? I know. Anyway… Cops…)

Terry and I had finished watching a couple of shows we had recorded, and the regular signal was set onto a network broadcasting Cops. Not really looking for another full show before calling it a day, and slowly drawn in by the situation playing out, we kept watching. And were treated to what has to be one of the greatest segments in the show’s history.

(For those wondering, I’ll start by saying can of corn. If you watch regularly and have seen the show, you know exactly what I mean (and are likely laughing uncontrollably). If you don’t watch the show, I’ll just address it by asking you to imagine a can of corn that was used by one person to hit another person, denting the can and cracking it open.)

From that moment, we began recording and watching more episodes. And, while scenarios seem almost too similiar here and there, or stretch on for a bit at times, the reality is there are chunks of the show that are just flat-out awesome.

Having seen several episodes now, I’m feeling the need to share a few tips for would-be-criminal-activity-suspects. (These shouldn’t be viewed as sincere advice tips. I don’t want anyone breaking the law, and certainly don’t want to assist in such. But… well… you’ll see…)

Number one – Pull up your pants!

There are certain images that immediately hold potential for where a story is about to go next.

Farfetched example? Ok. You’re watching any show, and suddenly the image on screen is a person wearing sunglasses with one lens broken, a three-quarter length tank top, speedo-style or bikini bottom, a sneaker on one foot and a sock on the other, holding a large duck.

Does it make perfect sense? No. Are you going to be happy but how it plays out while you continue watching? Maybe. But there is definite anticipation for what is about to happen next.

On Cops, the equivalent of one sneaker and a duck is the suspect fleeing the scene. Taking off, running for the so elusive dream of freedom. There is so much potential built in to that one decision, that action. Will the suspect get tackled? Will a dog arrive on scene and be released? Will the cameraman keep up?

One thing that seems to happen more often than it doesn’t is the alleged-but-not-yet-proven-to-be criminal taking off with pants mid-thigh. You know the style, the waistband of the pants positioned closer to the bottom of the butt than the top.

If I placed you at the starting line of a race, took a belt and tied your thighs together, how fast do you think you’d run? Would it be even remotely close to your best possible time?

So why, for the love of all that may be sacred to you, would you break the law while making a style choice that compromises your chances of hitting personal top speeds during a getaway? Is it just another poor choice on a day filled with poor choices? Is there some unwritten code about giving the authorities some type of bonus?

Pull the damn pants up!

Number two – Stick to the story

There’s an old joke based on the idea of telling the truth with the punchline being never having to remember what you said since you told the truth.

Fair enough.

There’s another old joke based on the idea of telling a lie, sticking to it, and being willing to go down in a ball of flames with it.

I won’t say fair enough to that, but if you’re going to travel on the path of a lie there’s something to be said about staying on that road and in your lane.

On Cops, as an audience we instead get treated to twists on the famous Monty Python witch scene.

First, they don’t use drugs. Then, they might do drugs, but they don’t have any drugs with them now. Next, they have no idea how the drugs got into the car. Oh, wait, yeah, there’s a chance they might have taken some drugs that morning. Ultimately, they claim to have no clue who put the pipe in their pants because… wait a minute… maybe these aren’t their pants.

Yes, I made that hypothetical progression up. But watching the stories begin to unravel, turn toward the ground in a plummeting spiral, and continue to get worse along the way is honestly a combination of funny and shocking.

You have two choices: the truth, or, shutting the mouth. That’s about it. Any other decision is trouble. (But honestly, if you’re going to lie, stick to the path. Don’t embellish.)

Number three – I’m with you on sitting down

One scenario that plays out where I can definitely sympathize with suspects though is when they get asked to sit down on the ground.

In recent years, I’ve begun starting any low to the ground project by planning the end of the effort, placing a stepstool nearby or setting up within reach of something to grab when I need to stand up again. I’m not headed to the ground without a plan for getting back up.

Now… handcuffed? I have a hard enough time getting down to the floor or back up on my own even when I can plan for assistance, never mind lowering myself to a four-inch-high curb with my hands cuffed behind my back.

Yes, karma, getting arrested for doing bad things. Takes the sympathy level down a bit, especially when cases roll around involving difficult suspects where you could absolutely understand a (my words, and you know what I mean) “watch your head” moment while guiding a suspect into the back seat of a patrol car.

Still… I cringe a bit when people try to sit or stand with handcuffs on.

Number four – Obey the law!

This one seems stupid on the surface. I mean, OF COURSE we should obey the law. Duh!

That’s also not even remotely what this tip is about. After all, you don’t get a guest starring role on Cops by obeying the law. Instead… if you’re going to commit a crime, don’t attract attention to yourself.

It is stunning the percentage of people that are involved in simple actions that raised the eyebrow of the authorities.

Making a turn from the wrong lane. Jaywalking. Not slowing down for a stop sign. Seems like every episode or two involves a person that never would have been approached if they simply switched on the turn signal or used a crosswalk.

Yes, I’m making some jokes about scenarios that while presented in an entertaining fashion may honestly not be all that funny at times. Still, Terry and I are convinced that many of the suspects absolutely have their friends over for a party whenever the episodes featuring their arrest is broadcast. (Nothing like telling people you’re going to be on TV.) So, we’ll wrap it up with a word of advice…

If you’re going to be on TV… pull up your pants.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at