Every profession has its legends, and police work is no exception. Here's the latest wild and woolly yarn to do the rounds in Fairfax County law enforcement circles:
Seems a local motorist was pulled over by a local police officer. The motorist had had a bit too much to drink. Correction: He had had a lot too much to drink. He flunked the Breathalyzer test, the walk-the-straight-line test and the get-out-of-the-car-without-falling-on-your-face test. So, as any cop would in this situation, the officer announced that the motorist was under arrest.
But at that very moment, on the other side of the road, a terrible accident took place. The police officer ran across the road to investigate. Because the accident was a messy one, the officer was busy with it for quite some time. So the inebriated motorist figured the cop had lost interest in him. He hopped behind the wheel and drove off.
However, the wheel the inebriated motorist hopped behind was the wheel of the police car. When the cops finally tracked the guy down a couple of hours later, they found the police car parked in his garage. The motor was still running and the dome lights were still spinning and flashing.
Ever since, according to the story, the police have been so embarrassed by what happened that they've tried to hush it up.
However, Fairfax County police spokesman Warren Carmichael says there's only one thing wrong with the story: It almost certainly isn't true.
"Certain stories develop, and they seem to get a life of their own," Carmichael told researcher Karina Porcelli.
This one has had an especially long life. Carmichael said he first heard it about two years ago, and has been hearing it around Fairfax County ever since. Capt. Curt Durham of the Fairfax City police confirms the yarn's longevity. He says he first heard it about 18 months ago at a party, and has been hearing it steadily from then on. But neither policeman has been able to verify the story -- and both say they'd know about it if the incident had really happened.
I can understand why people would want to spread this one. As legends go, it's top-rank. But since its truth is doubtful, let's give the tale early retirement, okay? The police have enough troubles without being accused of losing cars they almost certainly didn't lose.
This is a world of honor and order. Except when it isn't.
Louise and Don Douglas of Mount Vernon are the latest to discover "when it isn't." They were wandering through Springfield Mall when they passed a chocolate chip cookie dealership. "Why not?" said each to the other. So they took their places at the end of the line.
It was a fairly long line, but when chocolate chip cookies await, who's clockwatching? After 10 minutes or so, the Douglases had almost reached the counter. But suddenly, here came a Mom and a 3-year-old.
The new arrivals marched up to the counter, without so much as a glance at the waiting multitude, and ordered a cookie. The teen-aged counterperson filled the order without mentioning the line or the people in it. So Don called the manager over and protested.
Replied the boss: "A man of your age ought to know what it's like with teen-agers."
In other words, the manager agreed with Don, and blamed the whole incident on his teen-aged help. But would he do anything to right the wrong? Such as telling the intrusive mom to wait her turn like everyone else? Such as reprimanding the employe? Such as giving Louise and Don a free cookie or two for their trouble? No, he wouldn't.
Some people simply don't realize that fair is fair -- in love, war and chocolate chip cookies. But every counterperson and every manager should realize it -- and they should remind those who don't.
For 31 years, Camp Kaufmann in Plum Point, Md., was the summer home for many of Washington's Jewish children. More than 24,000 children and staffers were Kaufmannites between 1953 and 1984. But when the camp closed two years ago, the victim of underfinancing and a shift of Jewish children to other camps, an important storehouse of local memories closed, too.
But the memories have been rekindled by The Jewish Historical Society Museum, at a summerlong exhibit in Camp Kaufmann's honor. It's called "A Kaleidoscope: Thirty Years at Kaufmann Camp." It features a wide variety of camp memorabilia. If you're a former camper or counselor, the exhibit is a must-see.
It runs through Sept. 30 at 701 Third St. NW. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays, or by appointment. Appointments may be made weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. by calling 789-0900.
One note for the reunion-minded: This Sunday, April 13, the museum will hold an open house for Camp Kaufmann alumni. Hours are 1 to 3 p.m.