In Search of Intelligent Life  

The human race seems obsessed with finding intelligent life on other worlds. But, all of the evidence indicates that we need to focus our search here on planet Earth. Read the following true accounts and see if you agree.

James L. McClinton, Ph.D.

Not my idea of a “Burger Joint”… Police officers were dispatched to a local hamburger grill in Lovejoy, Georgia, after a customer made a rather unusual complaint. The hungry patron complained that she had ordered a cheeseburger with bacon, but instead had received a cheeseburger topped with a half smoked marijuana cigarette – yucky poo! One of the burger “chefs” fessed up and said she’d been smoking pot while on duty and had “misplaced” the joint. In addition to being arrested, she was also fired. (Placing a lit marijuana cigarette on a slab of meat and smothering it with “special sauce” can hardly be considered “misplacing” it!)

It’s not uncommon for prisoners to dislike their cellmates – or their housemates… A man was placed under house arrest on drug related charges in Livorno, Italy. The police were more than surprised when the man made a daring escape from his home and went straight to police headquarters. He begged the police to send him back to prison because he couldn’t stand his wife’s incessant nagging for one more day. The officers took pity on him, as did a judge who ordered him to serve out the rest of his sentence behind bars. (Getting released from prison is called “parole” – getting released from a bad marriage is called “divorce”!)

Well, that’s a shame! He obviously would have been a very personable salesclerk… A man went to a McDonald’s restaurant in Norfolk, Virginia, in order to apply for a job. When the store manager explained to him that applications were only taken online and not at the restaurant, the potential applicant became agitated and lifted his shirt to reveal a gun tucked in his waistband. The manager then pretended that the gun had convinced him to make an exception in his case and asked him to sit down while she went to get a paper application. While he was waiting, she called the police and they promptly arrived while the man was still filling out the form. (“Hey, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!”)

Arresting a customer is probably not a very business savvy tactic if you’re hoping for a tip… In Bedford, New Hampshire, a man stands accused of robbing a taxi driver and getting away with cash and a cell phone. The robbery wasn’t too difficult for him, but he apparently struggled to find a way to make a clean getaway. Then, it suddenly dawned on him – the simple solution was to call a cab! After receiving a call for a cab from a male voice which originated from the same location where the other cab had been robbed, the dispatcher at the taxi company thought it would be prudent to call the police. A taxi was dispatched soon afterwards, but the driver was actually a police officer and the robber was quickly arrested. (“Hey, driver, there’s an extra tip in it for you if you can get me home without being arrested!”)

“Oh, and while I’m at it, I’d also like to nominate myself for ‘Man of the Year’ ”… After consulting with a lawyer, the president of Massachusetts’ Westfield State University was accused of billing the state for unauthorized travel expenses. Sources say he is now considering claiming that he actually “self-reported” the violations as soon as suspicions turned up. He says that would therefore make him entitled to protection under the state “whistle-blower” statute which shields inside informers when they expose wrongdoing. The president was recently placed on paid leave. (We should all be grateful that we have civic-minded whistleblowers like this guy in our public institutions of higher learning!)

They also promised him that he could earn $25,000 per day by addressing envelopes from home… An Iowa lawyer was recently suspended for a year by the Attorney Disciplinary Board for mishandling client funds. One client had received a “Nigerian inheritance” letter in 2011 and the lawyer apparently jumped at the opportunity to receive “$18 million,” seemingly unaware of what almost everyone else in the developed world knows about unsolicited Nigerian business scams. By December 2013, the lawyer had looted accounts of other clients in order to pay the “fees” necessary to free up the $18 million. He was spared a more onerous punishment only because the board concluded that he “honestly…continues to believe” that the inheritance is real – that “one day, a trunkful of…one hundred dollar bills is going to appear on his office doorstep.” (The fact that he “honestly believes” the scam shouldn’t be grounds for a light sentence!)

Among the items listed in the gift registry were razors, cigarettes, lengthy novels and lots of perfumed stationery… A female San Diego Superior Court Judge, perhaps sensing a whiff of romance in the courthouse, agreed to perform a wedding ceremony in her courtroom. The gleaming couple consisted of a groom to be who was accused of murder and his blushing fiancée. The judge even agreed to serve the lucky couple homemade cake afterward. However, the judge did all of that immediately after sentencing the man to a 53 year to life term for first-degree murder and for threatening a witness. (Frankly, court attendees were moved to tears when the bailiff gave the bride away.)

What do you suppose he had put on his résumé which got him the job?… “What are you doing?” the pot dealer asked the government investigator. The dealer owns Higher Expectations, a marijuana dispensary in Denver, Colorado. An investigator with the Denver Department of Environmental Health was standing on a street corner with a large conical device attached to his nose. His job is to investigate odor complaints. An odor is only illegal in Denver if five residents complain, or if it can still be detected even when the smelly air is mixed with seven times as much nonodorous air. That ratio hasn’t been hit since 1994, but the investigator still goes out and clamps the “Nasal Ranger” on his face to investigate complaints. The Mile High City is considering changing its smell laws now that recreational pot is legal for most residents. (Denver must be so efficient in controlling serious crimes that they can afford to focus on those not quite so serious!)