Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Category: Rumor Central Sez

What You’ve All Been Waiting For


“What we’ve been waiting for is a damn post,” they interrupt testily. “Didn’t you say something about trying to write every day…again…”  Well, I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. “Then why didn’t you write about it?”  It never stops, nevernevernever stops…

Ahem. My birthday was Saturday, and featured a surprise VISIT FROM NICK, with his mate and pair of spawn in tow, all in red shirts. I don’t think that man knows how to dress unless some type of uniform is involved. (No, Nick, I will not take fashion advice from someone whose shoes fall apart.) I also got a SURPRISE HUG from the same individual, which mildly alarmed me, and a birthday card congratulating me on turning 85, which just goes to show that a beast can’t count. Seriously, I’ve always wished there were specific cards for all ages–“To A Special 37-Year-Old…” Did you know that Rom once thought he would die at 37? See, he’s not always right. I once dreamed I died at 83, on March 16 of whatever year that would be. (Now who can’t count?) I ought to sign up for one of those services that send you an email from yourself on a specified future date. On March 16 Whatever Year, I’d read “Have you died yet?” and promptly die of fright. I would die as I’d lived, namely, ironically.

Thornton’s gave me 10 cents off a gallon of gas for my birthday, showing a lamentable lack of knowledge of my buying habits. Lands’ End gave me a 20% off code, which I will not use to buy green gingham shorts, unless I happen to be drunk at the time.


Stephen Colbert informs us there is currently a national surplus of cheese. Rom & I are doing our best to address this, thanks to a recent shipment of Wisconsin cheese from my sister. You all need to help out and eat an extra 3 pounds of cheese a year, or the extra cheese will…get moldy, I guess. Moldier.



In spite of my charming/disarming tell-all tone in this venue, it is my habit to keep my personal plans to myself, in case…well, in case someone uses the information against me, I suppose. It’s like when I’d go with colleagues to the FOP Club in the 90’s. I’d drink too much, turn sullen, then call a cab, slip out and wait for it on the corner, without telling anyone I was leaving. You know, being mysterious and stuff. Or the way I never want to tell my co-workers which shift I’m picking until the last minute, even though I always pick the same one anyway. SO, recently I caught myself thinking, “I wish I could tell my FanBase what I’ve been doing lately,” and realized, What’s stopping me? It’s my own blog, after all.

“…which nobody will be reading if you don’t get to the point,” they point out. 


What I’m getting at is, when I turn 62 at this time next year, I’m planning on retiring. (I already feel panicky, like I should qualify that–I mean, it’s always possible that the numbers won’t add up like I think they will, since I’ve already proven I can’t do math.)

I went to one of the retirement workshops sponsored by our pension fund. I ran into someone I used to work with, which was kind of embarrassing, in that “Well, what are you doing at this whorehouse?” sort of way. I also picked up a magazine called “The New Retirement,” put out by AARP, who ought to know, I suppose. It included an article about financial planning, which mentioned that a professional financial planner can help you come up with a plan for your pension and Social Security. You mean, other than letting them send me a check every month? Because that was my plan.

So this will be the last year of the Crisis In Progress department. I will now be a lame-duck dispatcher. I’ll be doing a bunch of stuff at work for the Last Time, probably getting sentimental about stuff like being yelled at on the phone. “No one will ever say they’re paying my salary again!” Perhaps I will become dangerous and yell at them on the phone. I hope to have a drunken retirement party–if you play your cards right, you may get the “House of the Rising Sun” karaoke I’ve been threatening for years. And if I take up skydiving in retirement, you’ll be the first to know.


Crisis In Progress: How To Get Rid Of Me

This is going to be mostly job-related, so those unrelated to my job may want to skip it. I personally find every aspect of my job fascinating, even its annoying aspects, but you might not be so lucky.

First, I went to a gathering celebrating the departure of my former colleague L.K., who decided she’d rather dig holes for a living. (She should consult with Nick, who likes to dig holes and then curl up in the cool mud.) We had an appetizer plate of deep-fried geometric shapes (cubes and rods of different kinds of cheese, and blobs where you had to guess if the contents were cauliflower or mushrooms–perilous for me, since I like the former and dislike the latter). Anyway, I drank 2 frozen strawberry daiquiris in rapid succession (rapid enough to cause throat pain). This is turning out to be quite a social month!

“But how do we get rid of you?” they ask, hypothetically.

Well, everywhere I go, someone asks me when I’m going to retire. And it’s been pointed out to me that now I’m not only #1 in seniority, but THE OLDEST PERSON HERE! (If anyone else is over 60, feel free to correct me. Then I will curl up in a spiny ball.) So, the short answer is I DON’T KNOW!! But there’s always a longer answer, so here are hypothetical situations which would hasten my departure.


(All have some connection to reality, however tenuous.)

–They relocate Dispatch to the jail. Unacceptable for 3 reasons:

1. Too far away for someone who doesn’t drive.

2. Doesn’t it sound like a wee bit of a security risk? Just a little?

3. Could you possibly make the job a little more depressing?

–We go to 12-hour days, or 16-hour days. Why is there this idea that people working a stressful job should have longer work days than the rest of the world? “But then you’d get three days off!” I DON’T CARE! We tried 10-hour days once, and I spent the first day off catching up on sleep, so it was meaningless.

–They take away the union.

–They take away pensions.

–They decide to have one statewide dispatch center. I have dealt before with Just Because We Can Doesn’t Mean We Should, so I won’t go into it now. And why stop at statewide? Why not one national 911 center? Many callers already think that’s the case.

OK, one non-job-related fact: Chocolate is not, in fact, better than sex. I carried out a comparison study last night.

Not Writing About Celebrities

“More like not writing at all,” they whisper..

Today’s title is brought to you by the fact that every so often, I temporarily acquire a new reader just because I once wrote about Halle Berry, and someone Googled “Halle Berry movie where she played a dispatcher.” OK, who’s the most famous person you can think of? I’ll work their name in too!


(As played on Justified by Walton Goggins–maybe someone will Google him!)

“I learned how to think without arguing with myself.” I wish I could learn that. I always argue with myself, and both of us lose.


“So you’re letting someone stay with you whose last name you don’t know?” I ask rhetorically.

“Yeah,” he answers offhandedly, like that’s something everyone’s done from time to time.


I accidentally encountered Nick the other day. He had been out running errands–getting his rabies shots, getting my name tattooed on his rump–the usual needle-related tasks, and he graciously provided an armed (and winged) escort across the street, for which he was paid in oatmeal cookies (Will Work For Food). He is refusing to beg me to come to third shift, because he knows that I argue with myself about this every six months when the subject comes up, so he may as well spare himself the ordeal. (Not that I want to start a frenzy of schedule-related speculation among those below me in seniority or anything.) (By which I mean everyone.) #gloatingisanuglything

Unwept, Unhonored, Unsung, Etc.


When you start a call with “Do you think I’m paranoid? I’m not paranoid!” do not follow it up with an account of the cameras around your house.


“So you didn’t call the police as soon as you saw a strange naked man in your bedroom?”

“Ma’am, people are allowed to ride the bus. It’s public transportation.”


A Certain Person was recently invoking the specter (or, if you’re reading this in England, spectre) of the old F.O.P. Club (or, if you’re reading this in England, Ye Olde F.O.P. Club). I said awayz back that I should  dredge up some of those stories from the mid-90’s…




–Officer J.K. (no longer with the department, so stop guessing) shoved his face into a dispatcher’s birthday cake. (No, it was an actual cake, not some blues-style sexual euphemism, but still.)

–Officer L.N. showed us his  third nipple.

–Officer J.E. told us a story about crying as a small child, at the instigation of A Certain Person.

–A fellow dispatcher saw me in a tank top for the first time, and asked, “Are those real?” When I answered in the affirmative, she said, “What did you do, pray?” I had not yet gotten religion at that point, so it would have been a gratuitous act of God’s mercy. (Disclaimer: I believe she was grading on a curve.) (No, the pun was not intended.) (Really.) (Seriously, anyone who thinks I would intend a pun can just leave right now.)

–I squeezed a deputy’s rump while we were waiting at the bar, and acted oblivious when he turned around.

–I rubbed some of my perfume on the collar of an officer’s leather jacket while he was out of the room. (Sorry, Charles.)

–I used the men’s restroom.

–Somebody later claimed I left the building and laid down in the middle of Louisiana Street, but I have no memory of that, so it must not have happened.


–“House of the Rising Sun” karaoke



Yes, I am aware that I haven’t posted since the 8th. What of it?


This will be my 300th post! Isn’t that exciting? It’s not? (Sulks.)


User’s Guide 2.0

Brought to you by Redd’s Apple Ale–now in cans for my convenience! Ooh, the pull tab is red–how exciting! It’s not quite cold yet, but I’m carrying on bravely anyway. And I have a new can cozy, which I paid 99 of my own cents for, because the one I got from my stepdaughter (by saying, “Are you going to use this?”) is wearing out under the strain of too many cans of Diet 7-Up.

Yeah, I’m on vacation again, hence the apple ale.

It occurs to me that I can indeed offer useful information for new readers, by repeating/refreshing the old information. So here goes:


I like to say I invented the blog, which causes people to raise their eyebrows and edge away slowly. S.G.. was originally an e-mail sent out to a dozen or so co-workers beginning in 1990, when we were going through a stressful (made extra-stressful by bad management) transition time at work. You can find an account of that buried somewhere deep in the archives. I know I’m supposed to link to it, but I can’t figure out how to do that, which is something you’ll get used to after awhile. This publication was eventually transferred to the Internet, where it has a readership of, oh, about the same as it had back then.


You can, I’m pretty sure, click on these and get posts that feature the type of material you’re seeking (or the type you’re seeking to avoid, like if you’re sick of reading about Nick. I must caution you, however, that many posts fit into more than one category, so your avoidance may be incomplete.)

CRISIS IN PROGRESS: Stories of the bizarre and infuriating from the world of 911. The title derives from a button I saw at a truck stop, on the way to a mandatory training session. No, the session was not held at a truck stop. It would have been less boring if it had been.


I often forget to use this. Work-related misinformation.


They used to always keep things hush-hush, because “We don’t want rumors to get started”–unaware of the fact that THEY GET STARTED ANYWAY. Caution when perusing this section–sometimes I start them myself.


Material dealing with the aforementioned Nick the Beast, a member of the police department and licensed to tase and stuff. He started life as a dispatcher, and was so impressed with me when I trained him (an experience I have absolutely no memory of), that he set himself to befriending me by the time-tested method of Cornering & Pestering, and I’ve been making him pay for it ever since.

FANBASE FOLLIES: Material about you, the readers. Whether callous neglect or feverish up-sucking, my temperament is to believe in extremes, as R.E.M. says.

LET’S GET SERIOUS: Just what it says. I’m outraged, or at least indignant, about something, and you need to know.

MILDLY AMUSING ADVENTURES: My daily life outside of work, about which some people care, for some reason. I have many opinions, and you have to read them all here. Otherwise you’d never know, since I don’t talk.

SOCIAL PAGE: Again, just what it says. Reviews of any social event I’ve been invited to. These are few and far between.

STAB FROM THE PAST: Past history (um, what other kind is there?).

WORLD LEADER PRETEND: The title is another theft from R.E.M. What I’d do if I ruled the world.


In a world of countless conspiracy theories, I add my own. This one has the advantage of being completely made up. As World Leader, I battle my nemeses the Baby Corn (in the spring/summer) and the Dancing Union Suit (fall/winter), with the aid of my faithful companion, reader, and former co-worker the Foxy Lady, who actually came up with these entities.(Not only do I make stuff up, I steal a lot.)

I’m thinking of adding a new category, WATCH OUT–I’M DRUNK!, which is, again, self-explanatory, although that won’t stop me from attempting to explain it.

OK, tune in at sometime in the future for ACTUAL CONTENT! Although I can’t guarantee I won’t wander back here when I’ve finished this can of ale. Off to try nail-polishing under the influence–try this only at home!

Born With a Smirk, Smartass Till I Die

(title edited by Rom, who thought that sounded snappier)

This blog is brought to you from my somewhat monastic-looking office, usually in the dead of night. It is published erratically and distributed sparsely, as my best friend in high school used to say about the underground newspaper I (among others) wrote and she edited. It was 1971/72, I had bad acne and a Jane Fonda mullet (which we called a “shag” back then). We drifted apart years later–first she became a Communist, then I became a Catholic (sounds like a wacky ideological sitcom, doesn’t it?). But before that could happen, she introduced me to Rom, so all was not lost.


That which I have feared has come to pass.


Nick’s dinner gave him the actual ability to breathe fire, but since having a fire in your belly is actually kind of painful, he went on a rampage, seeking revenge on all pizza joints. It hardly seems fair, but he is only a beast, and not quite as smart as a human. (Can I say that after my recent diversity training? I guess so, since it didn’t mention dealing with nonhuman beings.) So I told him to go immerse himself in ice water, and the fever did indeed pass. One can only hope he remembers this with gratitude, BECAUSE…


…or whatever he is.

I asked Nick, just kind of hypothetically, “If we went on a ride-along, where would we go eat? And would you rather drive or have Sam do it?” That’ll give him something to chew on for awhile, I thought smugly. To my surprise, he responded at once. “Canton, of course. Driver.” Dear FanBase, there are a few things wrong with this scenario:

–1. The fact that he didn’t have to think about it means he’d already been thinking about it, daydreaming while lying on his back in the sun (I understand his underside remains pasty-white regardless), brooding about it while locked in his cage…you get the idea. It is not pleasant to contemplate.

–2. The problem with Canton is that he and Sam usually deliver food to Dispatch from there, and I don’t relish the idea of being brought back in and paraded before my colleagues like some prisoner of war. Actually, the question of where we eat is academic anyway, since I have little appetite on (and for) ride-alongs.

–3. Dare I ask why he intends to drive? (“No,” he answered.) Maybe Sam can find out for me. It’s on a need-to-know basis, and I NEED TO KNOW.


This conflict broke out between 1st and 2nd shifts. 2nd shift was roundly defeated, and there has already been at least one casualty. Tonight (last night? I haven’t slept yet. {Whyever not? It’s 0414.}) there was no chair at all at my assigned workstation, and I was kind of afraid to ask for one. (I don’t like working standing up. I find it distracting.) Soon no one will be left standing. I mean everyone will be left standing.

The above views in no way reflect those of the City. Or, indeed, of anyone, for I am just a still small voice, typing in the dark. Speaking of which, you know those Internet quizzes that say “What Kind of Animal Are You?” You notice they’re always some noble kind of animal? It’s never “You’re a hyena” or “You’re a blind naked mole rat.”

Few and Far Between

…Am I alone here? No, I am not on medication. Yet.


Now that I have entered the Wonderful World of Texting, I must put in a word for the much-maligned auto-correct. {Bizarrely, spell-check just informed me that “texting” is not a word. I think my desktop is jealous of my smartphone.} It seems to me that the problems everyone has with auto-correct are actually their own fault, for hitting the wrong word, and then failing to read over their texts like I do. (You mean you’re supposed to just fire off texts spontaneously? What?) But how can you not admire a program that not only figures out what words are commonly used with each other, but is figuring out which words frequently use? (“Ride-along” is one of them. Hmm.)


I dreamed I was test-driving a black Mustang. They make great birthday gifts, you know. And you only have 1 month + 1 week to shop.



Caller: “A pickup truck pulled up in front of my house, and now they’re acting like idiots.”

Me: “What are they doing, exactly?”

Him: “I don’t know what they’re doing. But if you don’t get a cop out here, I’m going to become involved.”

Me: What do you mean by that?

Him: I’m just going to…{ominous pause} become involved.

Me: But what are they doing?

Him: I don’t know what they’re doing! You just need to get a cop out here quick!

Me: But are they threatening anyone, or fighting, or…”

Him: You know what? I’m done. {click}

And so was I.


I was reading the latest installment of the omnipresent training material, which was (once again) threatening us with texting to 911, coming to a PSAP near you! (PSAP means Public Safety Answering Point, and may I just mention that I hate cutesy acronyms, and if anyone hears me use PSAP in a conversation, or refer to myself as a “telecommunicator,” or even worse, a “TC,” they should slap me. {Spell-check says PSAP isn’t a word. Good.}) As always, they were claiming that people are demanding the ability to contact 911 via text, and social media, and as always, I’m wondering, Who is demanding this, exactly? Who is saying, “Talking into a phone is too much trouble. I need to be able to get hold of 911 on Facebook and Twitter” ? It’s as if They think that if we don’t give people this capability, they won’t make use of our services. We should take the money we (or whoever) spend on billboards saying “SEE A RECKLESS DRIVER? CALL 911” and spend it on billboards saying “TALKING IS STILL FASTER THAN TYPING.”

By the way, the above attitude is one of the many reasons why I’m un-promotable. I’m not pro-active and visionary and stuff.


Speaking of scary future stuff, here’s something even scarier. Now they have computer programs that tell you what questions to ask people who call for police assistance. And, like such programs tend to do, it’s not treated as a set of guidelines, but as a set of cut-and-dried, mandatory steps, invoked in the name of Standardization! and Consistency! I can see this working for ambulance services, where it’s already widely used (although it tends to irritate callers, who don’t understand why they’re being asked the same questions twice). But police runs are more complicated, with variables and, dare I say, the use of intuition, and a lot of thinking as you go, which is probably what they’re trying to eliminate with the use of these programs. But I don’t think the unpredictability factor can be eliminated–I’ve been doing this a very long time, and I still run into things I’ve never encountered before. But the great god Liability gets invoked–if you just asked the questions the computer told you to, you’re off the hook! And don’t you dare ask any others. ROBOT DISPATCHERS, COMING TO A PSAP NEAR YOU!

Whining and Rumor-Mongering


Someone called three times to report that someone had broken into a nearby residence. Each time she gave a different address. Officers responded each time, and were unable to locate a break-in. They finally requested that I call the caller back and ask her to step outside to talk to them and point out just where this was occurring. She told me, “Is this the help I get when I call 911? I hope this happens in your neighborhood!” and hung up on me. Maybe it’s just me, but someone personally wishing me harm when I’m trying to, y’know, HELP, is hard not to take personally.

By the way, the above paragraph is a good illustration of becoming sulled-up. Rom corrected the derivation of this term–he did not get it from his own relatives, but from his ex-wife’s relatives.


…that the dress code in Dispatch is about to be changed to allow naked dancing.


We are about to be without a union steward. Don’t look at me–I have been tried and found wanting.

Technological Advances, Why We Must Fear Them

Let’s be semi-serious here (as serious as a person with glitter all over her hands from a failed nail polish experiment can be), in an attempt to distract ourselves from THE WEATHER WHICH IS GOING TO KILL US ALL. Let us, therefore, pretend that we have a future, and proceed to complain about it.

People, by which I mean supervisors, in this business are fond of telling us, “Texting and video to 911 is coming! It’s on the way and there’s nothing you can do about it!” Firstly, why do they always sound so gleeful? Secondly, let me head off the nothing-you-can-do-about-it smugness RIGHT HERE. A certain supervisor, who shall remain nameless because she, um, still works here, used to tell me, back in the Bad Olde Days (refer to the post I wrote about the History of Dispatch, back in the Somewhatte Olde Days) (NO, YOU CAN’T HAVE A LINK, WHAT DO YOU THINK I AM, TECH SUPPORT?), “There’s no use complaining, it won’t change anything.” Well, it sure won’t change anything if you don’t complain. So complain away.

(So will you be getting to the point anytime soon? they ask. Well, sure! I’ve got a shower to take and bed to go to!)

OK. I can see situations (you’re locked in a car trunk because you’ve  angered a.) the Mob, or  b.) a serial killer, or c.) the Dispatch Board) where texting 911 rather than talking would be the way to go. But seriously? In the majority of circumstances, it’s faster to talk than text. And I don’t care how young and tech-savvy you are, it just is. (By the way, my not caring that you’re young and tech-savvy is something you can generally count on.)

OK, that was a passably-reasonable objection. My objection to video will be whining, plain and simple, so consider yourselves warned (because whining is something you so rarely encounter in this blog).


if i’d wanted to actually see icky crime scenes, i’d have become a cop. what’s next, smell-o-vision? we already have enough people saying, “can you hear what he’s saying to me? do you hear that loud music? listen!” now we’ll have people saying, “do you see that? look!” dispatchers used to sometimes have to go to court and testify about calls and radio traffic. that has been largely eliminated through improved logging technology. ironically, the inexorable march of technology will now lead to an increase in us appearing in court, because we’ll have to testify about what we saw. or how about the liability for what we didn’t see? some attorney saying, “you should have seen that guy sneaking up behind them on the video! wasn’t the murder weapon lying there in plain sight? what do you mean you didn’t notice it because you had someone calling on the radio at the same time for the 3 fire runs you were monitoring? that’s why we should replace you people with robots!”

Ahem. Anyway, as usual, I don’t have a solution. Thanks for bearing with me. Yes, I know I should say that at the end of every post.

Crises in Progress

English: Northern curly-tail lizard (Leiocepha...

English: Northern curly-tail lizard (Leiocephalus carinatus armouri) in Morikami Gardens, Delray Beach, Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No, not really. Someone just wanted to know what the plural of “crisis” is.


No, not with a red-hot iron (sorry, Nick, maybe some other time). It’s just that I read that yet another celebrity is starting a “lifestyle brand.” Now, the rationale for the celebrity is obvious–sell as many products as possible. It’s the rationale of the consumer that gets me–“I want my clothes, furniture, everything, to look just like The Celebrity’s.” So you’re saying you have no taste. Not in the usually-taken sense of having bad taste, but having no taste at all. This is a chilling prospect. But I’m as willing to make money off a chilling prospect as the next person (at least I believe so–I don’t think the person sitting next to me has expressed an opinion on the subject). Therefore, I propose the SCRATCHY GLITTER {trademark, copyright, patent pending} brand, featuring, among other things yet-to-be-thought-up:

–rose-scented body wash

–home decor featuring strategic use of spiderwebs (by “strategic,” I mean “not within my reach”)

–glasses, whether you need them or not

–soft stretchy clothes

–a refreshing lack of trendiness.

More to come, as that’s what the Lifestyle concept is all about. But right now I have a pressing errand…


“We’re off to seek a lizard,

The horrible lizard named Nick,

Because, because, because, because, BECAUSE–

Because of the terrible things he does!”

….I’m actually by no means certain that Nick is a lizard, although the scaly tail and predilection for burrowing would lead one to think so.

I found him pacing, restless and glittery-eyed. I was armed with his vial of pain pills, which his owner had given me to assist in reasoning with him.

He whirled, his tail knocking several toys to the floor. Luckily, everything in his den is unbreakable, although most objects have been chewed on at one time or other.

“Accursed wretch who troubles my quiet, what is your will?”

“You can skip the ceremonial language. When are you coming back to work? You seem greatly improved.”

“Improved enough to pace my cage! My wings are cramping! I tried chasing my tail, but then I caught it, and the thrill was gone.” He came to a halt before me. “I wasn’t allowed to play in the snow,” he growled.  “The cubs got to do it, but I had to stand and watch.” The faceted eyes were brilliant–in fact, they seemed suspiciously wet.

“Beast, are you crying?”

“No,” he said coldly. “Your eyesight is faulty.” He crouched down. “I’ll take that pain pill now, if you please.”

I toyed with the idea of hand-feeding him, then decided that would be a good way to lose a hand. After all, he looked all too ready to spring. I tossed the pill to him, and he caught it with a snap of teeth. The eyes, normally gleaming with malevolent intelligence, became cloudy and dull as the drug took effect.

“Is everything OK in here?” his owner inquired brightly from the doorway. He stumbled over to her and collapsed at her feet. From this vantage point, I could see that his haunches are, indeed, lightly furred.

She crooned to him. “Don’t worry, I’ll release you soon. Very soon. Maybe for Christmas, how would you like that?”  Watching this tender scene made me wonder–could the best taming method possibly involve kindness and consideration? Surely not!

To be continued…inevitably.


As I was getting my drink at Phillips yesterday, I leaned over to reach for a cup, and my arm hit the 7Up lever, getting 7Up all over my sleeve. Luckily, my coat is waterproof, and hence sodaproof, so I brushed the droplets off smugly. I became un-smug when I reached work. I set my cup down on the decorative Central Dispatch Wall in front of the building while I fumbled for my key. When I then grabbed for my cup, it almost tipped over. Ironically, while attempting to prevent this, I squeezed it a little too tightly, and my thumb went through the styrofoam {trademark of Sty-Ro-Foam Corporation} and ruptured the cup. Most of the 44oz landed on the ground (squirting like a ruptured artery), but a good shot of icy liquid went up my sleeve, on the inside, where it isn’t waterproof. I am a cup-crushing force to be feared!

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