An American Idol, I am not

The other day I was sitting in a typical haunt shooting some lidar when a car pulled up next to me.  The driver smiled and said something to the effect of, “It looked like you were playing air guitar.”  I smiled and said something amazingly witty.  She giggled in return, bit her lip in that “My, he’s charming” kind of way and drove off.   (No, I did not make that up…and so what if I did?)

The truth is I was probably playing air guitar.  Or air drums.  Or singing.

Now, before you start blathering on about motorcycle cops and bad 70’s disco (as opposed to good 70’s disco?!?), I should tell you I’m a very musical guy.  I played the piano when I was a kid.  Later in life, I taught myself both the guitar and drums.  I’m not saying I’m ready for the main stage or anything, but they were something that held my attention span for a brief period. 

All through my early days in school and then high school, I would study while listening to music.  I’m not talking Mozart.  I’m not talking relaxing, help you concentrate, music.  I’m talking Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Van Halen.  I’m talking loud.  Used to drive my mom insane.  She’d come into my room and tell me to turn it down.  Here’s some foreshadowing for you with regard to my smart aleck nature: I’d tell her, “Mom, when I start pulling B’s, I’ll turn down the music.”  Lucky I didn’t catch a smack, but apparently my logic was sound.

I have spent quite a little bit of money on music.  When I was a kid, I bought records.  More often, I bought cassettes.  When I hit college it was CDs.  I spent more money on music than I did on beer in college.  I drank a lot of beer in college.  Do the math.  I juggled my bills month to month, but if Jon and the boys had a new record out?  BAM!  That sucker was mine.

And singing?  I’ve been known to toss back a pint or two and belt out some Wanted Dead or Alive.  Matter of fact, I proposed to the Wife after doing Bed of Roses in front of about 200 people on a cruise ship.  (Have I made it clear that enjoy the guys from Jersey?)

If I had to sit through a ten hour (or longer) shift without music, I’d lose my mind.  My solution?  One earbud in my right ear and dispatch in my left.  Works like a charm.  Consequently, if you see your friendly, neighborhood motorcop strumming away on a lidar or beating the gas tank-cum-snare drum or even warbling Kyrie (Mr. Mister, everybody!  Shout out to my thirteen-year-old self!) just a bit too loudly, you’ll finally know it’s me.

Kyrie eleison, y’all.  Kyrie eleison, indeed.

Have you ever been caught rockin’ out in your car?

American Idol logo courtesy of

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

15 thoughts on “An American Idol, I am not

  1. While in Iraq, several of our soldiers got thrashed by the MPs for noise violations when the systems that they had in their vehicles were too loud.

    We didn’t have a system, but we had an IPOD hooked up to our vehicle intercom so we were able to hear it over our headsets. Music is the only thing that kept us going on those long convoys in our ASV..

  2. Too funny! I’m not an LEO but I believe I was caught rockin’ out to Adele this morning.

  3. I rock out like a retard in my car whenever I get the chance. Most of the time is to some good electronic music, but sometimes you’ll find me going down my classic/alt rock playlist and doing the same thing.

    It’s one of my little guilty pleasures in life. Also one of the reasons I want to upgrade my car’s stereo a bit, not so it’s that much louder, but so it’s clearer, when it’s louder.

    The best part are the looks I get from people passing me.


  4. I agree on the needing music. I use my iphone a few times a shift and it makes the daily station clean a good bit easier. Geographically, my engine can have long response times on mutual aid calls, and usually we will know it’s a working job and our second- or third-due assignment pretty early en-route. So we have a little mix CD we play (Highway to the Danger Zone, amongst others), underneath our county/city radio traffic.

  5. I’d pay money to see a uniformed cop doing air guitar – hilarious. 😀 Also, I’m impressed that you can relax enough to listen to music while also listening for calls from dispatch and watching out for bad guys. I’d be too keyed up and worried about missing some big emergency. (Which is like Reason #87 I would make a terrible cop.)

    I sing all the time too – especially while driving. I keep the windows up for the sake of other people’s ears, though.

    And ditto on the music while doing homework. I finally figured out in university that if I got bored of studying, turning on some music made me good for a few more hours. Rob Zombie got me through the readings for my Ph.D. specialist exam. 😉

  6. I knew there was a kinship somewhere … music indeed! I grew up with a family garage band … of course that’s interesting when you have a brother and two nephews that are all drummers. Fortunately they play guitar also. I have a stage piano a guitar and a mandolin, I suck at all of them but it’s fun. Bon Jovi is one of my all time favs! Hey, you have to do something to entertain yourself out there. Rock on! PS, I’m sure she did think you were cute!

  7. I drum on my steering wheel. What is nice is that I play drums left handed so I can actually tap the bass drum pedal with my left foot. I don’t know if I should be telling you this.

    What is a lidar?

  8. When I was doing law enforcement back in the early 90’s, there was more than one time where I was in my patrol car on midnight shift having Z-Rock (remember them?) cranked up while driving around – and also having the walkie mike on my shoulder up louder also….

  9. my shift partners were known to play ‘911 is a joke in your town’ over the PA when responding after 2 am.

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