People who are really good at what they do have to practice constantly, yet have the ability to do make it look like it is all totally natural. There is a Massachusetts State Trooper out there who I have all the respect in the world for because he must be the best at one particular skill.
A few years ago I was tooling down route 95 south around Newburyport MA having left a brewpub in New Hampshire I was particularly fond of. I was driving in the left lane, with little other traffic, going about 70 MPH and listening to a Stanley Cup radio broadcast while talking on a cell phone. I ended the call when I noticed the blue lights in the rearview.
Having pulled over for the trooper, he approached the car and asked “do you know why I pulled you over?”. I said I was not sure but when told I was traveling too fast in the passing lane I responded with a true statement: “Officer I was listening to the Stanley Cup playoffs and just spaced”. He took the license and registration and went back to his vehicle. I expected a ticket and was pleasantly surprised when he returned to my car, handed me back the license and registration, and said “I am just going to give you a warning… slow down please. Have a good night”.
It is here you may conclude is why I consider him the best cop ever. You would be wrong.
What he did at this point was sheer genius. After passing back my papers and starting to walk away back to his cruiser, he stopped, came back to the window, and disarmingly said “Have you had anything to drink tonight James?”. Now think about this… he had already run the registration, let me know I was getting off with nothing more than a warning, and had basically become my best friend as a result. It was only at this time he asked a question that, with any answer other than “no”, is going to get you a field sobriety test, breathalyzer, loss of license, and having to make payments of large sums of money made out to the attorneys and the State of Massachusetts. My immediate reaction was to respond with the same respect and trust he appeared to have given to me, and likely what so many other drivers probably told him when asked this question in this manner: “well, I had a couple of beers but I am fine”. I mean, he had already let us go, right?
To this day I have no idea why my brain was still working well enough to realize the spider had laid out a perfect trap and had practiced and performed this little dance hundreds of times before (with what I am sure is a very high success rate). I did not bite… I said “God no officer, I would never do that”.
To his credit he used his best move, it had not worked, and so he moved on to the next car to pass his way. But to this day I am in awe over the cleverness and skill he used to try to get drivers to admit they may be driving impaired.