Egg On My Tie
Something strange has happened since we last spoke.
No, I haven’t gone sick with stress.
Nor gone ‘on the square’.
I haven’t even transferred to the colonies with hundreds of my ex-colleagues.
No, it’s stranger than that: You see, I’ve become an old sweat.
This now means that the pens you can see in my pocket are there purely for show, and for filling in the overtime state of course. If you’re lucky enough to be my operator for the day then you may borrow one, if you ask respectfully, to record the details you’ll need to complete the various reports. When you’re done with it, I’ll be in the car.
Old sweat status is something that starts very early in the career of an officer. I mean, you don’t even have to have actually done any real policing yet. You first reach that level five weeks after joining Hendon. This was when the next intake started, and they were the beneficiaries of some sage-like advice from yours truly in the smoker’s alcove over an Old Holborn or two.
It didn’t stop there of course; I mean each succeeding intake needed some handy tips didn’t they? Although they were only recipients of our benevolence if we were in the mood, or they bought us a pint. Only then would we let them in on the secrets of getting through the dreaded traffic week. The awe on their faces was unmistakable.
There was a temporary hiatus in full status when first joining borough and finding oneself at the bottom of the totem pole and struggling to run the tea club at a profit. Remembering to get the milk before each shift is, thankfully, a short-lived task as there will soon be a replacement joining fresh out of Hendon.
This is yet another opportunity to take a sharp intake of breath and let them know how you managed to keep everyone in chocolate digestives whilst making a tidy sum on the side. If truth be told, you actually had to add it to your student debt and will be paying it off for a few years yet.
But that doesn’t matter. You see, there is now someone else to do all the crap jobs you used to do. It gets better too. Before you know it, you’ll be finished your probation and the fun really starts then. Especially when you get to drive a car. Not that you’ll be able to do anything the average motorist can’t at first. But, it’s an opportunity to get those Aviator shades out and look like you know what you’re doing. Even if it’s only to drive to sudden deaths and crime scenes.
At some point, someone will realise you’re no longer a liability and you’ll get to go to driving school to give those shades a real workout on a course. Provided you avoid the ditches and remember to pull before you push, you’ll get sent back to your division as a junior old sweat with your response classification. Now you can really let loose. Where are all the Basic drivers to take those crap calls? It wasn’t like that in your day was it? You always took the triple children’s home Mispers almost before the operator had finished putting the call out when you were a Panda-punter.
At some point you will have had enough consecutive years of not reversing the station van into immovable objects that someone thinks you’re worthy of the ultimate in accolades: The advanced driving course. Now, remember that no-one will ever find out you only got a Class Two unless you tell them. Nuff said.
So that’s it right? You’ve finally reached the status summit? Err…Not quite. There are still many questions left. Like Sergeants for instance. I mean, if they’re still telling you what to do then you’re not quite there yet. If they have to ask you nicely to do your job then you’re nearly at the peak.
Sadly, the final stages of sweatiness are more designed to highlight your advancing years. Before you know it you’ll be working with a partner who is young enough to be the fruits of your loins. Soon after this it’ll be apparent that you could have sired half of your team. That’s not the ultimate step though. That happens when you start working with officers who were born after you joined The Job.
Then it really is time to hang those pens up.
And swing that lamp for all it’s worth.