Growing Up

A whimsical look at growing up—with apologies to all my former field supervisors.

When you’re a little boy, you can’t wait to grow up. To be a big guy. To be an “adult.”

Then at some point, maybe in your late teens, or early twenties, when you’re living life and just having a great time, maybe getting into a little trouble here and there, you stop and look around. Perhaps being an adult isn’t the greatest thing.  A lot of “fun” things are not necessarily “adult” things.  You begin to think, “If I really grow up, will life be fun any more?”

Maybe—just maybe—that’s why I loved being a street cop in Chicago. The city essentially gave me a car with a full tank of gas, a revolver and 12 extra bullets, and told me to go out and look for trouble. Dispatchers even gave me hints on where to look, over the radio. And the city paid me!  Let’s see… I was 28 when I came on the force and I worked the street for fourteen years. Patrol and homicide. That means I didn’t even have to think about growing up until I was 42. It was great!

Then I made Sergeant. Suddenly I was responsible for other people. Pity… it was downhill from there.

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14 Comments on “Growing Up”

  1. Jim says:

    Kind of like wanting to get married and have kids!!!???

  2. Kathleen says:

    OMG, Jim you hit the nail on the head. I had so much fun for 17 years… Then I made Sergeant, thought I would have a posse and it was going to be even more fun. Shock…had to grow up…ended up with more kids than I had at home! Lol and like the ones at home…funny stuff isn’t so funny when mom and dad show up!

  3. Dan Cirignani says:

    Yep Jim…but look at all the ‘fun’…you know ‘fun’ you had taking care of your compadres. They weren’t a bad lot now that you think about it. One thing about being a policeman in Chicago you had your buddies looking out for you ,just as you tried to look out for them…every now and then you had a real bad apple that the ‘pope ‘ couldn’t save, a lot of thime they landed on their feet and did better off the job than when they wore the blue…I like to think it’s still that way…but as the world changes so does that job…it served me well,I tried to keep my nose clean and got out
    unscathed…another trip down memory lane,once a policeman always a policeman. As we approach that roll call in the sky and meet back up with all our friends that have left us….I like to think the job maybe…just maybe it hasn’t changed..I hope so!!!

    • jimpadar says:

      You are right on target, Dan. In retrospect, the vast majority of the people that worked for me were great and caused little or no problems. Many of them remain good friends today. But the sad fact for me was, with each promotion I was having less fun. As I have said so many times before, if I could repeat any part of my law enforcement career it would be my 11 years in homicide.

  4. rodger the dodger says:

    Only six extra bullets Jim, but if you needed more you could always ask the Watch Comander for extras if you had the guts.

  5. Pat Cronin says:

    Yeah, for the most part I tell people my official job title and they don’t usually know what that means, so I say, “I play with cats for a living.”

  6. I’m a lawyer who now realizes that I should have become a cop for bthe exact reasons you have set forth. Where else can you get paid for driving fast, having a gun, and taking “bad people” off the street. At 68 years of age I would still love to do it and my many on the job friends feel that I could do it. Maybe in my next life….

  7. Cindy says:

    Delightful observation!

  8. Joe Hartford says:

    My wife says that I had better stories before I made Sgt.

  9. Jay says:

    No regrets; no wrong decisions. The road you didn’t take might have lead to something worse. If it didn’t lead to prison or the hospital it was right. If it led to worse you’re not reading this. Thanks for the blog; your writing is very clean and descriptive.


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