I have a tough time not laughing when I think something is funny. I suspect that other people know this and try to make me laugh at inopportune times. Often, they don’t have to try at all. Twice in a row, law enforcement personnel have inadvertently tested my ability to keep a straight face. Given the circumstances, I’m quite proud of myself for suppressing laughter.
The first time, I was waiting to get into a maximum security area of a jail after hours. There was some kind of problem with the normal intake area for attorney visits at the facility, so a detention officer had to walk me around the outside of the building to the back entrance for employees. The detention officer was a very wholesome-looking girl in her early twenties, short and frumpy with long brown hair and a bounce in her step. We walked up to the back entrance, and she informed me that she didn’t like entering that way because she had to undergo a “rectal scan.” Would I have to endure one as well? Confused and understandably worried, I kept my mouth shut. She skipped up to a door, punched in a number on a console to the right of the door, and put her eye up against a little, colored glass patch above the keypad. The door clicked open and I relaxed, confident I wasn’t going to be the victim of an anal cavity search. The word “retinal” just isn’t in her vocabulary, I guess.
The second time was during the examination of a witness. An officer in a DUI case was explaining why he stopped my client. The officer, who was sporting a flat-top hairdo that made him look like he came straight out of an 80’s action movie, indicated that he stopped my client because my client was driving “erotically.” Taken aback, I inquired about what exactly my client was doing with his compact car that the officer found to be erotic. Demonstrating with exceptionally clear diction that he had no clue “erotic” and “erratic” are different words, the officer said it was my client’s random speeding up and slowing down. He continued to use the word “erotic,” at all times employing extremely precise pronunciation. He indicated that erotic driving was a very common trait among drunk drivers. He would always stop drivers when he witnessed erotic driving, and to him, drunks tend to be the most erotic drivers of all. If I was better at keeping a straight face, I could’ve kept the questions coming forever, but alas, being deadpan is not my strong suit. I really need to work on that.