Crisis in Progress: Technical Terms

by pjmcbride

Disclaimer: In view of a current Indiana court case involving a blogger–This blog is for entertainment purposes only. Not for, say, scaring-people purposes, and certainly not for contempt-of-court purposes.

Terms used in 911 calls:

“Actin’ a fool”: covers a lot of ground, really. I actually have a certain fondness for “actin’ a fool” (the expression, I mean, not actin’ one myself). I was impressed when a woman called in describing a person as “actin’ the biggest fool in town.”

“Clownin'”: like actin’ a fool, it lacks specificity. It has never been established whether it is, in fact, synonymous with actin’ a fool. Clownin’ has never been known to involve an actual clown, but wouldn’t it be great if it did?

“Putting his/her hands on me”: in theory, once again, unacceptably vague. In practice, however, it usually involves behavior (pinching, poking, shoving) that shouldn’t really be an assault charge, but the caller thinks it should be.

“Verbal abuse/violence”: Seriously? Remember what sticks and stones (and hammers, and Thanksgiving serving forks) can do, vs. what words can do. “Terroristic threatening,” on the other hand, really is/was an actual charge in Kentucky. (I know this from my previous job purging court records in Columbia, Missouri, where I worked after dropping out of journalism school.) (There’s no end to my educational fails, is there?) You might be a Kentuckian if…

“Baby daddy/momma”: makes me think, So how’s that sexual revolution working out for you?

“I just know.”: the invariable response when you ask how the caller knows there are drugs in the house.

“Friend”: as in “my friend beat me up/took my money/terroristically threatened me” etc. News flash: that’s not your friend.

I may think of more of these later (probably when I’m trying to sleep), but these will have to do for now.