Did you know that “hick cops” actually exist? It’s not just a stereotype or a derogatory name given to small town country cops with unusually strong accents. These cops aren’t necessarily even cops, but more like security guards or deputies with a much-too-high opinion of themselves. They have names like Barney and prefer to be called “Officer” and are ridiculously bossy and unreasonable when it comes to dealing with so-called or would-be criminals or drunken delinquents at an event like a Nascar race. Do you blame them? People who drink beer for 3 days straight are bound to get a little obnoxious or do something a bit out of line at some point. If I was a security guard hired to drive around those campgrounds anytime after 3pm, I’d probably be pretty darn grouchy about it.
To clarify, “hick cop” does not imply necessarily that the cop is uneducated, dumb, or lacking common sense, although this is occasionally the case. It does not mean that the cop should be respected less, etc. So if you are law-enforcement reading this right now, don’t get your panties all in a wad. I’m not calling every southern cop a hick, I’m simply insisting truthfully that some cops are hicks. Moving on.
Saturday evening, well into the bonfire of underwear, with the air smelling like burning polyester (side note, polyester undies: so not comfy guys. Cotton is much softer and probably more airy, which I hear is best for those parts. Just saying), someone decided to take his after-midnight nap on the gravel road/path running alongside our campsite. And at some point “Officer”-I’d-rather-be-feedin-my-hawse-than-dealin-with-this comes by on his Gator (is that what they’re called? Like a golf cart with no roof and big tires…whatever) and stops just short of running our pal over. “What is your freeind doin in the street?” he drawls. And he definitely drawls. Not the cute kind that pretty little southern girls do, or the slurred drunken kind. It’s a country drawl he’s been working on since birth that very few can understand north of Richmond (and even there, the Mond is so full of transplanted yanks…). We’re all a little confused by his question. Firstly, our friend is not really in the road, he’s only half in the road, and secondly, he’s clearly napping. So what’s the issue…? The gravel probably isn’t all that comfortable but we’re not worried. His question is answered by crickets, followed by something like, “Well duh, he’s napping…” But Barney insisted that his hick cop mobile was far too large (in his mind only) to pass by without removal of the sleeping obstacle. It ended up taking 3 or 4 guys big rugby men to haul him to a tent so Officer Grouchy-Pants could move his important self beyond our campsite.
From here it gets better, as our infamous campsite was visited by this particular gem 2 or 3 times more that same night. I believe I missed the best appearance while sleeping in Foxy’s Jeep Cherokee (I need my beauty rest ya’ll, even at a campsite…unrest shows on the face up to 4 days post sleepless night…not cute). Apparently our Gator driving enthusiast was a bit miffed that a large group of slightly intoxicated young adults was not listening to him (shocking) when he directed them to all “go ta BED” the first time around (shocking) so that the second time he was a bit preachy and even more grouchy than before (shocking). I only heard about this the next day when everyone started using the word “multiple” as often as possible even when it made no sense (pronounced MOLTAPLE or MALTAPLE and always with heavy emphasis…can’t decide which spelling is more accurate to portray his ridiculous country drawl, which was mocked by all). I don’t even know that I heard the whole story, except when he came back yet again and not everyone was snoozing in their beds/chairs, he reminded everyone present that he had “told ya’ll to go ta bEd MULTAPLE tymes!” And once again stormed away at 5 mph on his little rent-a-cop scooter.
Examples of “multiple” being used multiple times: How many beers have you had? MULTAPLE! How many free hotdogs do we get at the stadium? MOLTAPLE! How many cars are in the race? MALTAPLE! (Seriously I can’t figure out which spelling is the best…they seem to all do a decent job) How many times do we guess he’ll come by our campsite to yell at us again tonight?? MALTAPLE! I think we’re getting the picture. Even recent perusals of Facebook has shown that this particular memory has not faded from anyone’s mind (news feed = best way to stalk people quickly and efficiently).
Sunday night, a group of real cops on Gators came by our campsite. It was like a prisoner escort, as the front Gator carried 2 cops and a very drunk young man in the back trunk, followed by a Gator motorcade of cops to make sure the prisoner didn’t make a break for it. We don’t know his story and neither did he but we did confirm that our campsite was infamous, as I mentioned earlier. The young man was pretty belligerent and appeared to not remember his own name or much else about himself or what he was doing (<- not sarcasm), and apparently all he could slur out for the cops when they found him was “rugby team.” What a thing to remember. SO, these cops, now being familiar with our friendly group of hotshots thanks to rent-a-cop Barney, brought the young man by to see if he belonged to us. It was all very “Are You My Mother?” taking this kid around, seeing if he recognized anyone or if anyone would claim him. We kindly informed these officers that this kid did not belong at our site and we’d never seen him before. They were extremely skeptical (understandably) until a less drunk member of the team stepped forward and a bit more earnestly insisted that seriously we didn’t know the guy, but if the officer would be so kind as to keep an eye out for our friend with the handlebar mustache, we actually weren’t sure where he was, we’d really appreciate it. As the motorcade drove away, the Lost Boy could be seen in the spotlight of the headlights behind him, his hands in the air as if he were at gunpoint, continuously insisting to no one in particular that they could arrest him if they wanted and he won’t puttin up no fight!
Monday morning was bittersweet. I slept better than I’d have guessed in the back of Foxy’s Grand Cherokee with her and Queenie, and we all woke up to responsible and mostly sober people cleaning up after themselves, giving hugs, packing tents, chugging found beers, cleaning underwear remnants out of the fire pit, and making plans for next year. The whole experience was grand for me, and I attribute at least 80% of that to this group of friends (warning: emotional moment). They’re serious people. Law school, grad school, real jobs, all put on hold to spend 3 days together so as not to lose track of such great friendships. The sacrificed underwear will forever serve as a memory of this – for me at least – epic trip and taking of my Nascar v-card. I don’t know about all of ya’ll, but I loved the camping, loved every hotdog I ate, loved every semi-cool cup of Keystone Light (ick), and loved watching a bunch of cars make left turns for over 5 hours and 600 miles. What I gained in calories from hotdogs and beer, I lost from laughing so hard so often.
As I seem to like to end these janks in a lesson, how about the lesson today be for all those framilies (friend families = framilies) out there who are graduated and moved away from each other, including and especially my own mucho loved Hokie fam. Don’t forget each other, and don’t let little things keep you from making your way back to each other every now and then. Facebook and BBMs are not enough for me to get all the lovin I need, and I’m betting I’m not alone. This trip, although I was an outsider, was fab. And I’ll admit that yes, I actually like Nascar now, and am not any less classy or sassy for it.