Well, now I know. You want the Union’s Arcata Police Log to keep going, and so it shall.
Last week I asked whether, with the advent of the online daily bulletins from APD – the same stuff I’ve been basing the coplog on for all these years – the Union’s wacky take should carry on in all its florid redundancy.
Honestly, I had begun to wonder whether anyone was still reading the damn thing any more, or whether it was just some kind of rolling civic embarrassment whose time had passed and everyone was just too nice to tell me. Well, it turns out that people like it, they really like it.
I didn’t expect or want a cascade of compliments, but that’s what I got. Some samples:
“Raw data is like raw hamburger,” said one reader, on the prospect of relying on the staccato APD feed.
“Your ... writing is a huge part of the culture of our little paper and we need a bit of levity in reading about the knuckleheads in our community. Don’t stop what you are doing,” said another.
“The dry, official APD reports are no comparison to your renditions. We get a chuckle every time!”
“I regularly chuckle out loud at the antics of the characters in Arcata and the way Mr. Hoover writes about them.”
“Your descriptions of Arcata’s ne’er-do-wells are quite an enjoyable read. As a longtime reader and subscriber of the Eye and now the Mad River Union, I look forward to picking up the mail each Wednesday afternoon.”
“I am a huge fan of the police log, and it is one of the main reasons I subscribe to the Mad River Union!” (Several people said something like that.)
“I love the humor, wordplay, and only-in-Arcata-ness of it all. PLEASE keep writing!”
But of all the encomiums, this one really hit the spot:
“I don't read the coplog to get the information, I read it to get the point of view. You make the Plazoid hordes seem like a funny and even somewhat charming slice of small town life, like a 21st century Norman Rockwell with a healthy dose of irony sauce. Compared to the screamer in the White House and the four-year temper tantrum we may all have to endure, our local yellers are a delight to civilized discourse. Thanks for the perspective. While I wouldn’t want to keep you trapped in amber artistically or journalistically, my vote is to continue with coplog because I could use the mental health break. And factually, not alternate factually, my behavior has changed after reading about the car door-checking aptitudes of certain slumpabouts. Now I always lock my car door – so you may have prevented a crime. Thanks for making Arcata life feel like, well, Arcata.”
Well golly, or aw, shucks or something. Every writer likes to know that their work is read, and it's even nicer to learn that the info has some real-world practical use. Thanks folks.
Another reader had some really good suggestions:
“Do a weekly ‘Highlights and Hijinks’ or similar that focuses on a reduced list of custy crime committals, enabling you to wax your poetic passions on the most purulent and provocative postings … A select, short list enabling you to show your best material would be terrific. Perhaps you might title it, ‘All the Fits That’s News to Print’.”
Custy crime committals … yeah. Over the years, I’ve only trusted two people to write the coplog when I was away – Abby Lovelace and Lauraine Leblanc. But that guy might also qualify.
And he is on to something. Henceforth, I’m going to focus on the items which have the most juice, and ditch the routine stuff you can read in the official feed. Not only will it intensify the wonderment, but the coplog will be less bloated and won’t chronically fall behind due to lack of available space in the newspaper.
It’s important to remember that all of the wacky hijinx and guffaws are distilled from the endless sweat and sacrifice of the people of the Arcata Police Dept. While the coplog is both fun for me to make and you to read, I can pick and choose the items. APD officers don’t have that option. They have to go deal with anything from a bank robbery to a political demonstration to a crazed drunk to a domestic dispute where both sides turn on them to a ferret up a tree. These folks’ around-the-clock, sometimes dangerous and always demanding work – and the way they do it – is one of the principal reasons I live in this town. Next time you see an APD officer, let them know you appreciate their work.
One last thing: I hereby declare myself liberated from the shackles of “he or she.” Henceforth, I’m going to freely use “they” as a first-person singular pronoun like a demented wildman, because Grammar Girl says I can.
So again, thanks for your interest and feedback, and for the clear direction.