Whenever I see a black 1962 Fairlane just like we used to have , like this ad for a Police Ranger (or is it “Defender?) it inevitably makes me think of my departed father. Since today would have been his birthday, I allowed myself a brief flight of imagination of what he would have been like if he had been a police officer.
Brief, because I shut down that line of thinking very quickly.
As many of you by now know, he chose a very different career path as a neurologist, Becoming the most prominent in the field of electroencephalography (EEG). Here he is at the console of a vintage Grass 16 channel EEG, with the paper readout of 16 squiggly lines rolling off the machine on the far end. Nobody could interpret those squiggly lines better than him.
Of course to us he was first of all our father, a role which he embraced somewhat reluctantly, as it seemed to be more of a distraction from his work and other passions. He was complex and complicated, and unless you knew him well, most of all outside of his professional sphere, his eccentricities and blind spots became all-too obvious.
He initially had history in mind as a career, but somehow that went by the wayside, or maybe it was his father’s influence, who was also an MD, along with with two other doctorates. The point being is that he had what is commonly called an encyclopedic memory, and I’ve never met anyone to whom that expression applied better. And he had an excellent grasp of most sciences, at least in general terms. And he was very precise. And had infinite certitude.
Back to my line of imagination:
Do you know why I pulled you over?
Um, no. I never saw your car.
I was sitting way over there in the far corner of that parking lot and I timed you on my Swiss stop watch from the time you passed that power pole on the corner of Clinton Street to the one on on the corner of Dubuque Street. That’s a distance of exactly 191.25 feet. It took you exactly 4.735 seconds. This is a 25 mph zone. You see the problem?
Um. I’m not so sure I really do….
That means you were going exactly 27.352 miles per hour. Did you have trouble with arithmetic in school?
Or maybe it was him at the site of a crash, looking at the tire marks of a hit and run car:
It was obviously a 7.35×14 Wards PowerKraft tire, black wall, and based on the deceleration rate, tread deformation, track distance to the faint other tire mark and other details, I will say it was a…1961 Chevrolet, a blue Bel Air sedan.
Responding to a distraught burglary victim:
Please stop externalizing every fleeting thought and tell me why you don’t have triple deadbolts on your door.
Ok; enough already. Let’s just say it was good that he found his calling in EEG, and left police work to others. The thought of him riding around in a black Fairlane Police Defender just isn’t working for me. But then the thought of any police riding around in one is hard for me to visualize, as I never saw a ’62 Fairlane cop car. That’s probably a good thing.