2010 was a rough year for Ol' Bullethead. I had some serious ups and downs. Unfortunately there were many more downs this year then ups. I'm going to take a look back at all that happened and see if we can learn something from it. Some of the incidents of this past year I've shared and some I haven't. Let’s review real quickly to see what I'm squawking about.
Loss at Work
I took a pretty serious beating at work. As I described in my October 2010 column (Action Minus Reaction), there are no-long term effects on the professional level but I'm not used to getting kicked in the teeth. I spend a lot of time kicking my own ass over that incident. I'm just self critical to a fault. Yup, that’s why I am who I am. I’m certainly not superman but I’m definitely a not-too-distant cousin!
On a more serious note, we also lost one on the job. Don't think for a second that when an agency loses an officer the guilt and the grief slips away as quickly or easily as the black bands we wear on our badges. The aftermath can be as bad as the incident and, in some cases, worse. We've all experienced the same guilt and grief but now we also have people second guessing the officer. I'm all for learning from mistakes but some of our people are saying really dumb and ugly things. They're looking for reasons the same thing will not happen to them and, in the process, they're throwing our dead comrade under the bus. I haven’t been able to resolve any of my guilt issues about our fallen officer or my reactions to hearing of his death. I'm not sure I'll ever work this one out but I also refuse to let it eat me from the inside out.
Loss at Home
I'm also at the age where a lot of friends are losing their minds. I have a bunch of friends who are going through nasty divorces, substance abuse issues and complete mental breakdowns. In a couple of cases, I've lost old and dear friends.
It may seem harsh, but I cut complete ties with one of my oldest friends. I believe in friendship and I believe friends stick together through the worst of times. This one was creating issues where I felt my safety and that of my family might be in danger. I was also concerned my professional life might even be endangered. The only smart thing to do was to put as much real estate between me and him as possible. The back side of that is the guilt I ended up feeling over not sticking by one of my oldest and dearest amigos as he is coming complete apart.
Almost every day I get ready to call or e-mail my old friend. So far, I haven’t been able to take that step. This is a guy I planned on growing old with—riding Harleys, smoking cigars and drinking scotch while our wives do whatever old ladies married to idiots like us do. If I lost my brother I would lose my mind. Losing this friend is a close second and, at times, I fear my mind is slipping because of it.
On the Up Swing
I had a really great year for some other reasons. I have had some critical wins at work that allowed me to help out some deserving cops and get them into positions they wanted and deserved. I’ve developed a few of my people to fantastic levels, and they should now be able to write their own scripts for the next few years of their careers.
Things are really incredible at home. The Capheads are all doing great in school and sports. I’ve been more deeply involved in their lives than ever. As you parents know, that’s just one of those things that enhances your life to an incredible level. Mrs. Bullethead and I are doing great raising our family and enjoying each other.
So there it is. Guilt, confusion, anger at myself and at others, huge wins at work and at home all rolled into one long year. I should be pretty content. The important things are all in order. I suppose I'm just growing up and these are some of the issues we confront as we live and experience more.
The answer is simple: Focus on helping others achieve their potential and things will be great. Helping the Capheads with homework and sports isn’t always fun in the moment but seeing them gain confidence is incredible. Helping young, green cops turn into hardworking seasoned officers is also great. As far as my guilt, confusion and anger goes, I've started training harder then I have in years in hopes that if I exercise until I puke, I’ll chase all the demons away.