This is the 2nd installment in my Bad Luck Cadet Series.
The week dragged by as I waited for the next stage in my police academy entrance tests.
My husband could do nothing right. My kids were driving me nuts, my son most of all. He actually told me I was an embarrassment to our family. My palm itched, but I knew if I slapped him he would call the police just to ruin my near perfect background check.
I looked up Cooper Standards on the internet. It is divided by sex – male and female, factors in age, then gives levels for superior, excellent, good, fair, poor and very poor standards. If I used the good category for my age and sex, I needed to be able to perform one 17.7 inch vertical jump, 28 sit ups and 15 push ups in one minute; run 300 meters in 72 seconds, and 1.5 miles in 13 minutes and 58 seconds.
Were they out of their cotton picking minds?
I was averaging a 14 minute mile and thought that was good. The sit ups and push ups wouldn’t be a problem. But I had no clue as to my abilities on the 300 meters or the vertical jump.
Well, now was the time to find out. I decided to head over to the high school’s track and start timing myself. Maybe I could push every thing up a notch or two in the time I had. I called Veronica for moral support. It took me five minutes to get there. She was already waiting.
It was probably my hardest workout. I was beginning to think I might not have it in me. Veronica was a drill sergeant and wouldn’t let up.
The entire week continued this way.
In the end, I managed to shave a whole minute off my mile. But I was sure that extra ½ mile was going to kill me.
My phone rang at precisely 0800 hours on Monday morning. I was asked to meet at the track at 0800 the following day. I decided to give my body a rest and take it easy. I jumped on the scale and was down another five pounds. I had fifteen more to go.
The following day was overcast, cold and gloomy. I again arrived early but this time got out of my car and went to do my stretches. Veronica had taught me the value of stretching my old tired body. She just looked so much better doing them than I did.
Everyone began arriving. There were only five of us, three men and two women. The other female was a spunky little thing. She didn’t say much to me, mostly just flirted with the guys. I’ll call one Mr. Muscle, and the other two, Curly and Mo. Miss Pony Tail rounded out our crew. Sergeant Spears told us we would be doing the push ups and sit ups first.
The other four recruits (see I was learning the terminology) chose each other as partners. I was left with Sgt. Spears. I actually finished in the excellent category according to Cooper. Next was the vertical jump. I managed 18 inches and raised Sgt. Spear’s eyebrows. It was the only test I beat Miss Pony Tail. Next, we had the 300 meter run. I finished in 70 seconds, two seconds to spare. We then had the mile and a half run. I gave it everything I had. It didn’t matter that I finished last I just wanted to finish under my time.
Mr. Muscle stopped running about halfway through and walked a lap. He still beat me. Curly also walked part of the way and finished before I did. I missed my time by 35 seconds. It put me in the fair category. I didn’t know if it was enough, but I knew I had given it everything I had.
Sgt. Spears said he would call us all the next day. I went home and ate a bowl of ice cream. I then ate another bowlful, but added chocolate syrup on top. I hid my crime by washing and drying the bowl and spoon. I didn’t try to disguise the empty ice cream carton. Everyone would assume it was my son’s handy work.
Torn between dread and anticipation, I tossed and turned for most of the night.
Before my husband left in the morning, he told me not to feel bad that I hadn’t accomplished my goal. He said I needed to pick something a little more attainable the next time. I’m sure somehow he thought that would make me feel better.
The call came early and I was asked to come into the station at 0900.
I was the only recruit there. Sgt. Spears did not look happy. He asked me to sit. I sat.
“Look, I don’t think you have what it takes. I don’t think you’ll survive a week at the academy,” he said. “You don’t seem tough enough and this is a tough business. I think you showed guts though by going this far. I had two young strong men stop running yesterday and take it easy when they could have done better. I don’t think you could have done better but you never stopped. Those two men are out of the program. That leaves three of you. I’m going to include you in the poly and psych test. I also want you to have the physical exam. I’ll give you a chance. You showed “heart” and sometimes as police professionals, that’s all we have.”
That was it. I thanked him and told him I was available for the tests.
I called Veronica as soon as I got to my car. I invited her to meet me for a thank you lunch, then gave her the news. I was not ‘in’ yet, but I was a step closer. Veronica began crying and told me that she was so proud of me.
And in that moment, I was happy Veronica’s mother hadn’t drown her at birth for being so perfect. She was just what I needed.
If you want to follow my adventures at the police academy from the beginning, start with Bad Luck Cadet #1 – Accidents Happen. It’s all about fun, laughter and pain. To be honest, at the time, it was more about pain, pain and pain! — Suzie
My story continues with: Bad Luck Cadet #3 – I Think I’m Crazy and a Liar