October 29, 2002

So Glad I'm Not a

So Glad I'm Not a Trooper

I went out to eat with my former college roommate and best friend, Troy, last night in Winona. He's now a Minnesota State Trooper working Winona County after a two year stint patrolling the metro area around Hennepin. Talking with Troy always serves as a reminder why I'm actually content to sit behind a desk while he deals with the dregs of society and the daily drama that ensues on highways due to accidents or just bad decisions.

We went to a bar for a beer, and there were pictures of a former waitress adorning the walls in tribute-like fashion. She died a few months ago due to a motorcycle accident (she wasn't wearing a helmet). I sat there, studying her pictures. She was a pretty thing, with a stellar figure and a stunning smile, obviously a girl who made friends easy and sent male libidos into overdrive.

"I had to do chest compressions on her," said Troy as he sipped his beer and toggled his glances between the photos and Monday Night Football.

"Really? I didn't know that," I said. "I knew you were on scene but I didn't know you were so involved."

"It was pointless," he muttered. "I could see blood squirting out of the back of her head each time I pushed down. Turned out that she didn't have a back of her head. It was gone."

Troy has seen more death and gore during the past four years, I can't even imagine. He's cleaned up after suicides, wiped brain residue off light posts, and has seen the charred remains of a motorist who was unable to escape his burning vehicle. And yet, he maintains a detached aura about him, as if the stench of death ceases to exist once he's off duty. It's an amazing mental trick, and I admire that strength about him. Still, I had to ask how he deals with seeing people his age or younger with their life force snuffed out, usually in the most gory way imaginable.

"You have to believe that each person has their time," he explained. "If you dwell on it too much, it could really start to bother you. I've seen pukes that have no reason to live walk away from accidents, and I've seen good people with bright futures killed by drunk drivers. If you believe that each person has their time, it's actually pretty easy to work around it."

We sipped our beers and watched the Eagles beat the Giants, while outside a distant siren wailed.

Posted by Ryan at October 29, 2002 09:34 AM
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