Terms of Service and Irresponsible Journalism

by pjmcbride


Nick (Photo credit: JayTurner2009)

First off, a correction–Amanda pointed out that in a previous post, I confused crack with crank. Hate it when that happens, and so, I imagine, do the users thereof.


The question occurs to me at this late date–am I maybe picking on Nick (infamous though he may be) too much? Maybe someone who just discovered this blog is thinking, “She’s actually stalking this guy! Call the authorities!” First, I’m the authorities you would be calling. (There’s a movie idea for you–The 911 operator is a psycho!! It would do better than that Halle Berry movie, which apparently vanished without a trace. No, I didn’t see it, and I’m betting you didn’t, either.) Second, since Nick is a police officer, with additional military experience, and I’m, well, not, I’m hoping he can take care of himself. Also, as anyone who knows him is aware, this is not exactly a battle of wits with an unarmed person. It only seems like it because he doesn’t have a blog. (And I better hope he doesn’t start one.) Smile, Nick, and tell the people you’re OK. Please don’t deny my colleagues food from Canton on my account. I’ll accept it if you just don’t bring me any.

This leads into the more general topic of, well, me picking on people in general. Sometimes people smile and say nervously, “You’re not going to write about this, are you?” OK, the ground rule is: If you don’t want me to write about a given incident, or never want your name mentioned here at all, for that matter, I won’t. But you have to tell me. Again, we want to avoid assuming I should know what stuff other people want to keep private. As this blog probably reveals, I have enough trouble making those judgements in my own life.

…Which leads inevitably (or maybe evitably, I don’t know) to the question: Don’t I have a job which requires me to make certain judgements about very important matters? Well, they’ve kept me on for over a quarter of a century, and my Permanent Record contains about an equal number of reprimands and commendations, so I assume my performance is adequate. For some reason, that’s not in the same category. Just think of me as a Vulcan, and it’ll start making sense. (A similar mystery: I can make snap decisions on the job, but if Rom asks me if I plan on going to bed at 3AM or 4, I’ll stare at the clock helplessly until he says, “OK, make it 3:30.”)

OK, this post was kind of laborious, but I felt it was necessary. It’s like those Terms of Service they give you for software or websites, where it goes on in such lengthy tiny print, and promises to be so brutally boring, that you click “I Accept” without ever reading it. You could have just sold your soul to the devil, for all you know. In fact, the Devil should probably adopt that tactic. It would work more reliably than the standard temptation technique. OK, now I’m telling the Devil how to do his job. The 911 operator is a psycho!!