My ProblemPosted: November 9, 2012 Follow @JimPadar
I had an inordinate number of contacts in my cell phone—they just sort of accumulated over the years and then when I switched from an Android to the iPhone, the program that transferred them made duplicate (and sometimes triplicate) entries for all of them. Android and Apple never did play well together, probably never will. But I discovered if you backup your contacts to Apple’s iCloud, you can easily edit them there, online, with your keyboard and full screen computer. And so it started.
It’s simple, but I had over 2,000 entries to review individually and so I took it gradually, one or two letters of the alphabet… when I had time… when the mood struck me. My problem reared its ugly head rather quickly. There are dead people on my contacts list. I just never delete entries of friends who have passed away. Maybe it’s silly, but when I run across their name, I remember them, in most cases fondly, for a moment before I go on with my business. But with more than 2,000 contacts, maybe it was time to address my problem head on. Ruthlessly.
By chance, the very first dead person was easy—an individual that I never really cared for and who had passed away many years ago. Highlight the name, click “EDIT,” scroll down, click “DELETE.” It was surprisingly simple. I was on the road to solving my problem. That is until I got to Danny. Danny, a longtime friend of my son, and our entire the family, had only been gone a few months. He has been mentioned twice on this blog, in “The Chill” and in “In Memory Of…” Danny was a cop. Danny committed suicide.
As I sat at my computer screen, my mind flashed back to a scene in this very room, over ten years ago.
Danny, a police recruit at the time, sat in the recliner with his semi-automatic pistol, holster and athletic sock. His holster was too tight—all new holsters are too tight.
“Get a sock Danny,” I had told him earlier. “Put the pistol into the sock and then into the holster. Work it in and out and then leave it like that every night when you put it away.”
So Danny had appeared at our door that evening to visit with our son, already a police officer. He brought his pistol, sock and holster with. He could work with it while he updated us on how he was doing as a recruit at the academy. Our teen-age nephew Ryan had also stopped by.
The weapon was in the holster now and Danny struggled to break it free. The holster was way too tight and maybe the sock was a bit too thick. He was a strong young man, but he fought, he grimaced, he turned red in the face as he tried to get the pistol free.
Ryan sat on the far side of the room, obviously uncomfortable, pressing his back against the couch as if to put some extra distance between him and the weapon.
“The gun’s not loaded Ryan.” I said. “I checked it myself.”
Still, I could read Ryan’s mind; This guy’s going to be a police officer?
The pistol broke free and Danny began to work it back into the holster. Maybe he caught a glimpse of Ryan, or may he just sensed the moment. Danny gave me a look that was both innocent and sincere.
“Am I ever going to be a good cop Mister Padar?”
“Of course, Danny. Of course.” I tried to sound confident and sure.
Danny did become a good cop, serving most of his career in one of Chicago’s toughest districts… until his untimely death.
I refocused on the computer screen and the bright red DELETE button. Then I moved the cursor to the SAVE button. Danny would stay in my contact list.
I came upon Mike near the end of the alphabet. Mike was a cop. Mike was my partner. Mike committed suicide. He had been gone almost ten years, but he was still in my contact list.
It’s hard to explain the depth of the partner concept to those outside the law enforcement arena. The closest non-police can come is the term currently in vogue; “work-wife.” That’s a good word and it does come close, but it’s not quite enough to describe the frank intensity of a good partner relationship on “the job.” I tried to capture some of it in a story on this blog simply titled “Mike.”
My hand had memorized the sequence; highlight the name, click “Edit,” scroll down, click “DELETE.” The bright red DELETE button stared back at me expectantly. Nope, it wasn’t going to happen. I moved the cursor to the SAVE button and clicked.
So in the end, I had done very well. Over a thousand duplicate entries had been deleted along with most of the deceased. Just two remain, but that’s my problem…
…but I am all right with that… I really am.