5 Apologies to the Cops Who Beat Me Up for No Reason
Not long ago, five LAPD officers came to my apartment in the middle of the night, pinned me to the ground, and handcuffed me, sort of by accident. Before they left, I forgot to get a card or a phone number from them, so instead I'm writing this open letter and hoping they read it.
Dear Officers of the Los Angeles Police Department,
Hello there! I don't know if you remember me or not, we met briefly the other night in my home for that spontaneous assembly at 2:15 a.m. I was the guy you hilariously accused of domestic abuse in front of his slack-jawed neighbors. Classic. I just wanted to say that it was a pleasure to meet the whole gang and to assure you again that I would have at least swept the floor had I known you were coming over, and especially had I known you would be jamming my face into it with your knee.
To be fair, I got a good sense of what I'd look like with a spotty gray beard someday. So, you know ... bright side.
Above all else, though, I want to say I'm sorry if I made you feel unwelcome at any point during the night/early morning. The five of you left pretty abruptly, and it would be a huge weight off my shoulders to know it wasn't because I was a bad host. I'm usually very good at entertaining.
Once I had time to retrace the events of the night, I realized there were a few moments where I may have seemed rude and/or inhospitable, and I just want to clear the air so that we can move forward as buddies. This may not mean much to you, but I would really appreciate the chance to say ...
I'm Sorry for the Strength and Stability of My Front Door
At the risk of sounding unpopular, I don't get many visitors, particularly surprise visitors after 2 in the morning who pound on my door and block the peephole with the flashlight. I'm sure that's S.O.P. for you gentlemen, but for me it was, I'm embarrassed to say, a little scary. I think it would have cleared up any confusion if you'd announced yourselves as police at some point, but I certainly don't want to accuse you of doing your job incorrectly, just as I'm sure you wouldn't accuse me of doing my job as a husband incorrectly by, say, beating my wife, except for the one time when you did.
I should also mention that a week earlier, we had a bicycle disappear from the secure parking garage of our building. I'm not asking you to find it or anything, I only mention it because I think it helps set the stage for my emotional and mental state the night you dropped by to hang out. When bikes start disappearing, who knows what's possible anymore? That's why I spent all that time not letting you in. I'm sorry.
For all I knew, you might have been someone who would try to force me to go skiing.
It wasn't until you started kicking and/or throwing yourselves at the door that I finally realized something should probably be done or I would lose my deposit. I stood from the corner where I was huddled, put on a brave face (as well as some pants so that I wouldn't have to die naked), and I answered.
I'm Sorry I Fell So Weird When You Tackled Me
Since that night, I've spent a lot of time mentally choreographing that little tumble we took, positive that if we ever decide to re-enact it, at a Christmas party or something when we're telling all our friends about what happened, I could make our fall to the ground infinitely more polished. See, I'm not accustomed to being tackled by police officers, so I wasn't totally ready when all five of you jumped at my ribcage. I'm also pretty sure I made an unflattering sound that I imagine geese must make when they are punched in the tummy. I want you to know I'm generally much cooler than that. I had never made that noise before and I've never made it again. Please don't judge me entirely by that one sound or my awkward collapse into the linoleum.
It was at that quiet moment when your elbows and knees were pinning me to the floor but just before you slapped on the handcuffs that I started to get the sense that maybe you didn't like me. I have a habit of reading too much into the actions of others, but when you insisted that I "don't fucking move," I couldn't help but notice that your cadence was verging on confrontational. Am I off base? Please know that everything I did after that point was a direct attempt to turn your opinion of me around, and I'm willing to admit, most of it was wildly unsuccessful.
I'm Sorry I Tried to Break the Ice With All Those Jokes You Hated
After you had pulled me up from the floor and pushed me against the hallway wall for a while instead, I had two lucid although unrelated thoughts:
1) I hope this doesn't take long because my front door is still wide open and my AC unit is just burning energy at this point.
2) So this is why no one on COPS is ever wearing a shirt.
I misjudged you based on your appearance, meth head. It turns out we are the same.
But of course you remember all that because I said both of those things out loud. Now, I couldn't see your faces at the time because mine was pressed so firmly into that wall, but it certainly didn't sound like any of you were laughing. I'm the most sorry about that. I am a comedian by profession, but when I don't get a good response from an audience, the delivery of my jokes suffers. It's something I need to work on, I know that.
Two of you went to search the rest of the house while three of you stayed with me and made idle conversation like "Do you have any weapons or explosives in the house?" and "Why didn't you answer the fucking door?" I had some really killer answers lined up for each of these questions as well, but again, my confidence was sapped, so I really don't feel like you got a good sense of how much fun I can be. Instead I answered, "No," and "Because I thought you were trying to kill us," respectively, which I admit is not very funny.
I'm Sorry I Wasn't the Guy You Were Hoping For
Look, I get it. Sometimes people make mistakes. If I saw me answering a door with these weathered fists, these prison pectorals, these intersecting scars across my face like a map of bad decisions, I would have assumed my apartment was a hotbed of criminal activity as well. I'm just sorry that I let you down.
You questioned my bewildered wife in our living room about whether I had a short temper, whether I had a history of violence. You asked if I had ever threatened to kill her. Meanwhile, three of you kept me comfortably wedged against the exterior wall of the apartment under the thrilled but tired-eyed watch of my neighbors, each of them keying up for the inevitable news interviews they would get to do. But don't worry about them, I've already apologized in person for crushing their dreams of celebrity; this is just for you, officers.
When you realized I was not a threat after all, you escorted me back inside and released the handcuffs so that I could rub my wrists like they do in movies. You explained that you had received a domestic abuse 911 call from our apartment landline despite the fact that we have neither a phone nor a landline from which to call. You told us that you had to expect the worst on the other end of the door when we didn't answer. LA is a city full of crazy people, you said.
"In fact, you shouldn't be answering your door past midnight when you don't know who it is."
At this point, now that we were all becoming fast friends, I should have offered you water or juice or anything, really. I don't know why I didn't, maybe it was the thrill of having guests. I'm still kicking myself over my complete lack of social grace. Instead, I stood there like an idiot and asked, "Is it possible there was a mix-up with the address?"
"Sure seems like it," went one of you.
To which I said, "I'm sorry, too!" But I don't think you heard me because you were already trotting down the stairwell and off to your cars, still stinging, presumably, from the insult of not being offered a drink after you worked up a thirst from all that tackling and yelling you did. I'll never not feel terrible about that.
I'm Sorry I Forgot to Suggest Ways You Could Make It Up to Us
If you're anything like me (and I bet you are, because I sensed your dedication to justice and honor), you're probably just as disappointed with what happened that night. You've been racking your brain thinking of ways we could start over, too. Well, allow me to take the first step toward setting things right. I hereby gift to you a list of gifts you could give to me. I'm not mad at you, but it sure would be nice if you made up for tackling and handcuffing me erroneously by:
-Giving me a mulligan on a traffic ticket of my choosing. Maybe you could issue me a card or something that I could redeem the next time I'm pulled over.
-Letting me do a ride-along (where I get to hit the siren at least once).
-Allowing me to pick one item of my choosing from the evidence locker.
-Giving me a snug-fitting tear-away but otherwise official LAPD uniform. I can't tell you why, I just need it.
I think it's time we stop saying "sorry" so much and start saying "you're welcome," don't you? I only ask that you make the effort, too. I've done my part and now I promise, if you knock on the metaphorical door of friendship, I will answer. You know where I live.