Monday, November 06, 2006

COLUMN: Shaq Ball

Here at the newspapers, our motto is "Always Be Prepared."

Well, it would be if those stinkin' Boy Scouts hadn't laid claim to it first. I think our motto's actually something about customers always being right or first or something. Actually, I have no clue what our motto is. But it SHOULD reference preparedness in some way.

After 9/11, we installed security doors all over the place. When the anthrax scare hit, we opened our mail at a separate location. Point is, by golly, we're just about ready for anything. Just about.

When I opened my newspaper Monday morning, I wasn't expecting to hear about our office being attacked by Bambi of the Damned. If you didn't hear, a deer -- obviously suicidal over the news of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes setting a wedding date -- took a kamikaze dive through the front window of our Moline office and caused mass higgeldy-piggeldy until the poor thing had to be euthanized.

So a moment of silence, please, for the late, dear deer. It gave its life so that we, as a people, could finally unite as one and get new carpeting in our lobby.

The shocking thing is, that's NOT the weirdest thing I've read about this week.

Did you hear about the botched police raid in Virginia last month? Apparently a task force was cracking down on kiddie porn, and the cops had a good lead on some random sleazoid pervert. Armed with a search warrant and posse of crime fighters, they burst through the door of the suspect's house and held the occupants while seizing a truck full of computers, cameras and DVDs.

Mission accomplished, right? Problem was, they got the wrong house. Turns out they'd gotten the IP address of the suspect wrong, so they stormed into a random guy's house and ransacked it. Weird? Sure. Weird enough? Heck no.

Here's the brilliant part: Assisting in the raid was none other than Deputy Shaquille O'Neal. Yes, THAT Shaq.

Turns out Shaq fancies himself a bit of a lawman, and wants to pursue a career in police work after his retirement from the NBA. So the Bedford, Va. police made the Miami Heat center a deputy and took him along on the botched raid.

Now imagine you're sitting down for breakfast with your family when suddenly -- BOOM SHAQ-A-LA-KA! -- a team of uniformed police AND basketball superstar Shaquille O'Neal kick your door down and ransacks your house. This, friends, is one of the few times in life where you would be justified to make a mess in your pants. At the very least, I would be assuming that someone laced my Frosted Flakes.

Sorry, Shaq, but do you really think you'll have a fruitful career in law enforcement? As WHAT exactly? A 7-foot-1, 325 lbs. undercover cop? I get this vision in my head of Shaq running around with a bad wig on, expecting no one to recognize him.

"Sure, man, I'll sell you the heroin, but has anyone ever told you that you look exactly like Shaquille O'Neal?"

"Uhh, nope."

"I tell you what, here's a ball. If you're NOT Shaq, I need you to make at least five of the next 10 free throws."

"Kazaam! Foiled again!"

Or Shaq as a traffic cop? Look, if I knew that Shaquille O'Neal was setting up speed traps, I'd be whipping u-turns and going 100 miles an hour all over town just in hopes of getting pulled over by him.

"I just need to write you this ticket, sir."

"Not a problem, Officer Shaq. Hey, could you make that out 'To Shane'?"

Admittedly, it WOULD be intimidating to look out the driver's window to an officer's KNEE. And having Shaq on patrol would definitely make episodes of "Cops" a lot more fun to watch. After all, this is a guy who sleeps in a 10-foot bed adorned with a giant Superman logo (not to mention the one that's tattooed on his bicep.)

So maybe we should invite Officer O'Neal to join the Q-C boys in blue. After all, we ARE the 87th most dangerous city in the U.S. now. Something tells me having Shaq on guard might make that number drop a tad. At the very least, he would've done one heck of a number on that deer (though, it must be said, the deer probably had a better free throw shot).

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