January 11, 2005

Air Force Blue - part 15

A friend had to go fill the little cup as part of getting fitted for a new workplace, and it reminded me of my military days.

As Security Policemen, and especially since we worked around nuclear weapons, we were regularly tested for drugs. Later in my career, after transferring into computers, they went to more of a lottery system. Every month they would draw 1 or 2 or 3 numbers randomly, and anyone who's social security number ended with that number went in for the ol' golden flow. They claimed it was random, but the same 'suspected' people were tested pretty much continuously. A friend and I volunteered to help out at the Special Olympics one year and got really nice event t-shirts. We tie-dyed them and wore them to a unit picnic, after which we were immediately called in for urinalysis.

Rumor had it that there were certain "signs" to look for to uncover the dopers. Among them were hippy clothes (tie-dye, peace signs, Grateful Dead shirts, etc), and hair parted in the middle. Seriously. Seriously stupid.

Anyways, as a cop we were required to show up for work at least a half hour early to draw our weapons and gear. A few carried .38 revolvers (this was pre-9mm days), a few lugged around the M60 machine gun or the M203 grenade launcher/M16 combo, but most of us carried the regular M16. So we'd draw weapons and ammo and get ready for our inspection before going on duty, called "guardmount".

Usually, guardmount was held in a small room right next to the armory. We'd get the daily passwords, any special notices and news to be aware of, changes in assignments, plus an inspection of our bad little selves. Hair, uniform, equipment, etc. You've seen similar on television on most every cop show from Hill Street Blues to Reno 911.

If there was to be a larger formation or if the higher ups wanted to talk to us, then we'd have to trudge across the street to the cop headquarters building. They had a larger guardmount room there.

One morning, after working a midnight shift, we were told to report across the street for formation. This news was met with boos and grumbling, because we just wanted to turn in our shit and go home.

A lot of cops (me included) made a quick pit stop before heading over for the formation. You can see where this is going, right?

Yep. We lined up and they informed us that it was time for a surprise urinalysis test. They were lucky that we'd already turned in our weapons, because there was murder in our eyes. We couldn't leave until we peed, and many of us had just gone a few minutes before.

Tired and irate, that described us. When we railed at them for not giving us 10 minutes warning, they suggested that we drink water and/or lots of coffee. That was reasonable, but screw that, if they didn't want to be reasonable, we weren't going to be either. It didn't take long to realize that they couldn't leave until we all took the test too. A lot of us refused to drink anything (we had to go to bed, who wanted to be up running to the bathroom every half hour?). It finally devolved into them waking us up every half hour to ask us if we were ready, and gradually our numbers thinned out as nature took its course. Four hours later the last cop filled his little plastic cup, snapped the lid on and handed it over. We never had another "surprise" inspection like that again.

Posted by Ted at January 11, 2005 06:04 AM
Category: Boring Stories

Hahaha RENO 911 is a good show. I remember the piss test days..

Posted by: Headrush at January 11, 2005 12:35 PM
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