The best father-in-law I could have asked for
The five most terror inducing words a young 18 year old male idiot can hear from his girlfriend:
“my dad is a cop.”
A sentence made worse by appending “… and he likes guns.”
Mitch played the intimidating-father role perfectly, for the first few interactions I had with him. Quiet and emotionless for the most part, and almost never engaging me directly. Looking back, it had to be a character test of some kind.
The first “quality time” I spent with him was shortly after Candice and I started dating. Almost instantly upon turning 18, she moved out onto her own to Redlands, CA. After her lease was up, her roommate moved away for work, so Candice found a new place in Hemet, roughly 30 miles away. Of course, I was enlisted to help with the move.
After loading up Mitch’s truck with all the heavy stuff, Candice made the suggestion “hey, why don’t you two go on ahead, and we’ll finish loading the small stuff and meet you there” referring, of course, to her father and I.
“Sure, ok, yeah” I stammered, desperate not to soil myself.
Those that know me can vouch for my general lack of any nervousness, especially under pressure. I highlight this fact to add gravitas to this next statement; I was nervous. More nervous than I’ve ever been in my life, or likely since. Why? Was I guilty of something? No, not really. Did he have any reason to kill me and leave me in the desert, of which there was plenty surrounding us? As far as I am aware, no. It’s just that standard nervousness of meeting a girl’s father, multiplied by interacting with a cop.
And so our great journey began. He and I, alone, for 30 miles. What had been justified at the time as a “safety precaution,” is now completely transparent in it’s intent: we took the back roads the entire way. Not even major roads avoiding the freeway, no, back roads as in “Hazzard County just finished paving this stretch,” back roads.
Take our established cop-father intimidation level, and add in some mouse versus snake for good measure. It became immediately clear that this was an interrogation. No radio, no conversation. Just 30 miles of back country winding roads, traveling at an estimated 1 mph. I may have inherited my fathers salesman persona, but Mitch was immune.
Here’s how the drive went:
Brett: “So, how about those Dodgers?”
We arrived at our destination to find that Candice and her mom Trish, whom we had a good 30 minute head start on, had beat us there. Upon arrival, Candice inquired about our journey. “Oh, just fine,” Mitch says, with a grin.
Should the day come that I
am burdened blessed have daughter(s), I now know exactly how to interact with the inevitable boyfriends. Thanks Mitch.
Suffice to say, I passed his test. And I’m sure a “background check” took place, with what I can only assume were many privacy violations and abuses of systems he had access to as a cop. Once we got past the intimidation phase, he accepted me as part of the family. And I truly did feel welcomed by him.
He was my favorite type of person, solid morals and a no bullshit attitude. When asked for his input on a subject matter, he’d give it, and would never sugar coat it. Case and point: since he was more old fashioned, I informed him of my intent to ask Candice to marry me. With the biggest shit-eating-grin I have ever seen, he firmly grabs and shakes my hand as he says:
“Good luck, she’s a pain in the ass.”
Sir, you will be missed.