Thirty-one years of wild requests, screwy questions, bizarre behavior and outrageous demands have left me with a permanent twitch and an uncontrollable craving for chocolate. Don’t get me wrong. Working as a 9-1-1 dispatcher can be very rewarding. BUT - some days I felt like the whole world was nuts and holidays bring out the worst in people. What? You actually thought that for a couple days a year folks would get along? Peace on Earth and all that goodwill crap? You’ve been sucking way too much eggnog, my friends. It’s a myth.
Instead of a nice grilled hamburger and all the fixings I got to inhale a stale baloney sandwich. Instead of the fairy tale of a happy family gathered around a campfire at the lake to watch the fireworks, I got to deal with reality and reality sucks. Take this call for example:
“I need to find Grandma’s house,” a drunken idiot said.
Digging for my supply of Tylenol, I responded, “Sir, 9-1-1 is for life threatening emergencies. We don’t give directions.”
The drunken fool cried, “You’re 9-1-1; you know everything.” Wonder where he got that idea?
“Sir, I have no idea who your Grandmother is or where she lives.”
He sputtered in surprise. “You don’t? But… But I’m late for dinner!”
The guy was really starting to annoy the hell out of me. “Why don’t you pull over and I’ll have a nice officer come and help.” Yeah, right to jail, you moron; driving while intoxicated is against the law.
“My pleasure and have a great Fourth of July.”
Downing a handful of Tylenol, I answered another call and could hear people screaming blue bloody murder. “9-1-1 emergency, what is your emergency? Hello?”
An out-of-breath woman cried, “We need the cops. My three brothers are fighting over the last beer.”
Not quite sure I had heard her correctly, I repeated, “They’re fighting over a beer?”
There was a loud crash and the woman shrieked, “Omigod! There went the front window, please hurry.”
I quickly typed the information in. “Ma’am, does any of your brothers have a weapon?”
The woman shouted, “What kind of stupid question is that?”
One I need answered, dearie. “Ma’am, I need to know if any of your brothers are armed with a weapon.”
She huffed, “Just get someone out here before Rex gets his chain saw started.”
“Chain saw? Hello?” The line was dead.
The moral to this story is: the family that fights together gets to go to jail together. Ho. Ho. Ho. Merry Christmas. Ugh, wrong holiday.
Some citizens of our fair cities have absolutely no idea of what an officer can or cannot do. They aren’t plumbers, electricians, alligator wrestlers (don’t ask) or allowed to shoot your neighbor’s noisy boom box. Give your poor overworked 9-1-1 dispatchers a break and don’t call unless you have a real emergency. Anyone have any chocolate?