The tough off-duty cops sat at one end of the bar, the ex-cons at the other.
The cons let the cops drink in peace. The cops didn’t bother the cons. Neutral turf for both.
Bob Morrissey, Toledo detective, walked in and sat with the cops. He ordered a beer, put his hand in his pocket, was surprised by what he found and smiled to himself.
Bob unwrapped the tablet in his pocket. When lit, it smelled like marijuana. He used it when he visited schools to talk about drugs. On his way back from the head, Bob lit one up and placed it in an ashtray on an unoccupied table. As you might expect, when the smell hit the fan pandemonium ensued and Bob, the smiling practical joker, left the bar in chaos.
That’s Bob Morrissey., a man who might have been a comedian in another life, but in this one Bob worked 33 years as a Toledo Police Officer, two of them with East Toledo’s Unit 2, the paddy wagon with the motto, “You call, we haul.”
Morrissey, 73, now lives in Port Lucie, Florida. He just released his second book of stories compiled while on the job. It’s titled 2 nd Humorous Beat: Actual Funny Police Stories.
This is true crime, but the names and places have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent. For example, would you admit this blunder. Two hunters who were heading west to hunt bear purchased 357 magnum hand guns for back up. They needed a place to practice and one of the men knew such a place, down by the Maumee River near the Lost Peninsula.
The two men took a bottle of wine to the property owner and, seeing an old car by the river, asked him if they could shoot it up. He said, “Yeah, go ahead and shoot it.”
They did. They blew out the windows, tore up the dashboard and perforated the steel doors. On the way back, they asked the man how long the car had been down there. He replied, “I don’t know. I never saw it before today. It probably belongs to a guy fishing down there.”
Bob took the police report.
Domestic disputes can be the most dangerous calls for a cop, however, they can also be humorous. Bob recalls one such call. Seems a wife trying to interest her husband in sex reluctantly went to an X-Rated book store. She was so embarrassed she picked out a video without looking at the title. That night she lit two candles, gave her husband a cold beer and a plate of his favorite food, popped in the movie and left the room for a few minutes. Suddenly, she heard her husband screaming and saw him shaking and pointing to the television. The racket concerned the neighbor who called the police. The movie was The Secret Love Affair of a Gay Man.
Those are just two calls Bob found funny enough to document in his daily journal. In 2002, Bob wrote Humorous Beat: Actual Funny Police Stories. The book took off when police officers around the country saw it on a trade website. Bob sold more than 7,000 copies. That led to this sequel.
Not all of the 58 stories are funny. There are sad and touching ones. In one, Bob recalls how he taught a combative boy with a terrible home life in the inner city how to swim. The boy parlayed those lessons at the Boys Club into a college scholarship and a successful career.
Bob grew up in North Toledo. He and his buddies used to cross the Ash Street Bridge to play football against the East Side boys for a trophy they scrounged from trash. They called it the Purple Toilet Seat.
Bob later played football at the University of Toledo and for the semi-pro Toledo Tornadoes. Today, at age 73, he competes in the Police Olympics in racquetball and swimming.
Bob’s next book will be called You Gotta Laugh. It’s in honor of a fellow officer who was fired for no reason and who said as he was leaving, “From now on there’s a million laughs in this body and I’m going to let them all out.”
A police officer can be put in a life-death situation emerging from the most innocuous event. To cope with the stress, some turn to drinking, Bob turned to humor. “To save your sanity, you better laugh,” he says.