Shit magnets and the Q-word

shit magnets

Are you a shit magnet? Warn your colleagues with a handy patch available from online retailers.

Just about every police officer I have ever worked with shares the same small superstition. During the shift, no one dares to say the word ‘quiet’. The sentence – “Wow, we’re having a really quiet shift” – or variations thereof, is strictly forbidden. If you do say the     Q-word, and you then get called to anything more serious than a shoplifter, you are immediately given the blame. And you will be reminded of it throughout the rest of the shift plus named and shamed to anyone who asks how your shift is going.

It is acceptable to say it five minutes out from the end of your shift when the next crew is kitted up and ready to go. You can have a little fun and say it to them then. ‘Yeah, we had a really quiet shift. Hope yours is quiet too.” Then you give a little chuckle and make yourself scarce, because you just infected their shift with the Q-word.

It’s a silly little superstition and there’s actually next to no proof that it is real. More experienced coppers know that the real way to gauge how busy your shift will be is by whether or not you are partnered up with a ‘shit magnet’. A shit magnet is an officer who, through no apparent fault of their own, is always in the middle of the action when the big jobs go down. They will start their shift by warming up with an armed robbery before finishing big with a double murder.

People skulk around in the locker rooms before their shift saying things like – “Do I have to work with [insert officer name here]? S/he’s a real shit magnet, we’re going to get smashed.”

The shit magnet will almost always deny being a shit magnet, but anyone partnered up with them will recognise it and try to bribe the roster clerk so they never work with them again. The only officers keen to work with a shit magnet are generally those with a minimum of service and an overabundance of enthusiasm, who want to ‘experience’ everything the Job has to offer. Every station needs these officers.

I myself am pleased to be an anti-shit-magnet. Through good luck rather than good management, I have a special knack for avoiding the big jobs. The officers on the shift after mine are at risk of it all going pear-shaped, because shit happens daily, just not on my watch. I haven’t managed to identify what makes me teflon-coated but when I do, I shall bottle it and become rich. In the meantime, I’ll make the most of kicking back to watch the big jobs on the local news, rather than seeing them first-hand.

I’ll make the most of my quiet shifts… damn it… I said the Q-word… I only have myself to blame now…

 

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The prank with the lizard

lizard pic

It was lying in wait under a chair – big and green and spiky. Photo credit to http://www.animalpictures123.org

Who doesn’t love a good office prank? It’s almost like a competition, to see who can come up with the most elaborate or cunning idea to trick or amuse their workmates.

Most of them are harmless. We have an internal email system. I doubt there is an officer in the state who has not accidentally left their email open and had a prank email sent out on their behalf. Most popular targets are new officers to the station, who tend to invite every one at the station to their house for a togs-optional pool party or a lingerie party where they will do all the modelling.

One of the most memorable pranks which I have had the dubious pleasure of witnessing involved a very large lizard. The mastermind behind it had put some thought into the prank, elevating it beyond the usual slapstick. At the back of the station were a couple of low wide chairs. Coppers would hang out here for smoko or a chat. There were about five or six of us chatting at shift change one afternoon. I was the first one to spot it – there was an enormous lizard laying under one of the chairs. I’d never seen anything like it before. It was like a komodo dragon. I know, you don’t find these in the Australian countryside, but you get the idea. It was quite clearly dead, evidenced by the fact that it had some of its insides hanging out of its mouth. Someone had placed road-kill under the chair. Ha-dee-ha-ha. I moved backwards as I drew everyone’s attention to it. The woman sitting in the chair jumped, shrieked and ran. Everyone put a safe distance between themselves and the lizard, just because of the sheer size of it. So that in itself was a crude but effective prank. People got a fright, there was a little bit of yelling. But that was just the set-up. The best was yet to come. After we all decided it definitely was dead, we moved back into the area again. One of the blokes decided to do the right thing and get rid of the creature. So he grabbed a broom, which happened to be leaning up against the chair. All of a sudden, the dead lizard sprang to life. Everyone jumped and ran. And the lizard jumped and ran. It chased the guy with the broom. He ran backwards, trying to push back at the lizard with the broom. Lots more shrieking from lots more people this time. The lizard was moving like lightning. Until the broom was dropped. Yes, the wag who had placed the lizard under the chair, had tied a piece of fishing line from the creature to the broom. It was inevitable that someone would grab the handy broom to poke at the lizard. And that’s when the real prank kicked in.

Are pranks workplace harassment or good-natured bonding? Depends on your mood really. And whether you are the target. But I am glad that the scheming genius who came up with the lizard prank was on the right side of the law…

Anyone care to share a prank they have been the target for? Or the mastermind behind?