Saturday, February 11, 2006

Never Apologize, Never Explain 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comA colleague was at one of the quieter reference desks on an upper floor when she smelled the undeniable odor of marijuana. She went to investigate, and in the stacks, not 10 feet behind the reference desk, were two guys in their early twenties passing a pipe back and forth.

“This may be a stupid question, but what do you think you’re doing?”


“You’re smoking pot. In the library.”

“No. No, we’re not,” one of them said in a “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” tone. The other coughed, allowing a little cloud of smoke to escape out of his mouth.

“You’re surrounded by smoke and I see a pipe in your hand!”

They looked at each other and shrugged. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

They strolled off. My colleague, a little stunned by their gall, called security and described the two. “I think they’re headed down out the security gates.”

Sure enough, they were. The guard stopped them. “Would you two please step inside the security office?”

“No, I don’t think so.” They continued walking outside. Right then another patron set off the security gate alarm. The library security guard isn’t a police officer, so he decided to turn his attention to the other patron who had set off the alarm.

Although I certainly don’t appreciate pot smoking in the library, I have to give them credit for their brazen audacity, as well as their sense not to go into the security office. Polite non-compliance and a "Never Apologize, Never Explain" policy really is the best course at times. I remember when I worked at the Sheriff’s Office how many people would willingly let police officers search their car without a warrant, believing that if they would just cooperate with the police that the police would cut them a break. Wrong! They just made the police officer’s job easier. 90% of the time, the police officer would have just let the person go, vehicle unsearched, rather than go through the bother of obtaining a warrant. My advice? If you’re ever pulled over, and have something to hide, be polite, but never, ever agree to a search.

In the excellent Bangkok 8, a pot smoker receives a terrible punishment. In the passage, the narrator, a Eurasian dectective, is called to the station to interview an American backpacker who had walked into the police station to ask for directions. When the tourist had asked for directions at the counter, he reached into his pocket, and a huge bag of marijuana fell out. The tourist wasn’t acting appropriately scared; he actually seemed rather smug, like he was pulling one over on the police. Acting on a hunch, the detective asks him if he writes for Travelertales.com, an ‘extreme tourism’ website where travelers post their adventure tales of getting into trouble in foreign countries. The tourist goes pale. The detective explains to the sergeant,

Kids get them themselves in jams in faraway countries, nail-biting situations which could land them in a Thai jail for five years, or get them stoned to death in Saudi Arabia, or strangled by a boa constrictor in Brazil, but there’s always a First World safety net of course, which makes it all quite safe really. Then they write about their heroic escape from the jaws of disaster in a foreign land. It’s a way of getting published. Getting caught with ganga in Krung Thep is a a favorite. According to the Net, the standard bribe is 5000 baht for this quality dope.

The sergeant, a man infamous for his temper, asks the tourist for the 5000 baht. The tourist, with a smug, knowing smile, slaps the exact amount on the table. The sergeant burns the money in front of the tourist, and then makes him roll the entire bag of marijuana into one giant joint, the size of ‘a crooked, white chimney.’ He stands over the tourist and forces him to smoke the entire, giant joint, ensuring that he inhales deeply and properly. He then orders him dragged into 'the hole,' a dank, pitch black pit, for ten hours of solitary confinement. When the tourist emerges, he is sobbing, his sanity barely intact.

Instead of the hole, as a fitting punishment, maybe we could have thrown the pot smokers into our purportedly haunted basement until closing time.

foxy mama, the link to the haunted basement is broken.
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