Times being what they are, I was feeling the need to expand my career skills, and Security Guard work seemed the way to go. As the economy gets worse, crime goes up. As crime goes up, there’s more need for security. That was my thinking, anyway. Here in Florida, even unarmed guards must take a week of training to get licensed.
The first day of security guard class was surreal. The place was locked, so we were all waiting in the hallway. Then this guy comes in wearing a sleeveless vest over his polo shirt, and the vest was covered in patches. Auto patches, swiss army knife patches, things like that. And he said, “If you’re here for security guard school, follow me. March!” And I’m thinking, “Okay…” And it’s just me and three other students. The first guy I’m calling KGB. He’s this big Arnold Schwarzenegger- sized Russian guy who doesn’t say anything. Then there’s another guy I’m calling Bull Dog. He’s retired Marine. Then there’s the guy I’m calling “Twitch”. Now Twitch worries me. He’s fresh out of Afghanistan with such a bad case of PTSD that the poor guy practically jumps out of his skin if you even sneeze. And he keeps asking the instructor how much deadly force he can use in various scenarios. And then there’s little ol’ me. WHAT THE HECK HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO????
The class was predictably easy, but it was often an assault to my sensibilities. The instructor peppered every lesson with personal stories that often had nothing to do with the subject at hand, and were almost always offensive. For example, stories about how his wife, the “little woman” is such a bad driver that she can’t be trusted. How he thinks having to teach a sexual harassment module is ridiculous, but he has to make “those politically correct types” happy. But he just HAD to show us a hilarious foreign commercial in which a father was worried about his son because he played with Barbie dolls, but he grew up and was lying in bed with two blonds. Whew! What a relief. Oh and those damned Democrats! Don’t get him started on them!
Twitch and Bulldog were eating this stuff up with a spoon. KGB, I suspect, didn’t understand a word that was being said. During the first aid module the instructor was giving medical advice that is contrary to all current medical thinking, and he was drawing from his experience in war time. He suggested that you write what treatment you performed on the victim’s forehead, even if the patient was still conscious and was likely to remain so! As if a helicopter would drop out of the sky at any moment and whisk them away. Can you imagine how well that would go over? “Sit still, ma’am, while I write on your forehead.”
Once I figured out that the class was really all about celebrating what a hero, what a raconteur, what a guru, what an all-around great guy the instructor was, I was able to just disassociate myself from all of it, pay the hundred bucks, get through the week, and get my license. We all did. Even KGB.
License in hand, I quickly discovered that Security Guards in this state are paid for shit. It would cost me more to get to work than I’d earn while there. Never thought I’d say this, but I’m better off being a bridgetender! But before I discovered that, I did go on one disastrous interview. It was for a gate guard at a gated community. I pulled up at the gate and they told me to pull through, do a u-turn, park across the street and come in for the interview. I’m halfway through the u-turn when I see a Mercedes barreling toward me. So I try to speed up the turn to get out of the way, and my old land yacht takes out a plastic decorative light post with a big glass globe, which, of course, shatters into a million pieces. I pull into the parking space and I have one of those interior conversations. Maybe they didn’t notice. But if they did, and I don’t speak up, I definitely do not get the job. But if I do speak up, I probably won’t get the job. Oh, hell.
So I walk in and say, “In the interests of good first impressions, I just took out your lamp post.” Crickets. Okay, so no sense of humor at all. That’s good to know. We spent the next 10 minutes filling out an incident report. I considered making a quip about instant on the job training, but thought better of it.
Then he asked me if I had any military experience. “No? Oh, then you won’t make a good security guard. You probably wouldn’t know the difference between day patrols and night patrols.” “Does this job include patrol duties?” No. Then I told him my experience dealing with the public, and working traffic accidents and dealing with the criminal element on the bridge. And I told him the time an old lady got stuck on the rising bridge and I had to rescue her from the equivalent of an 80 foot cliff. (That’s a story for a later blog entry, come to think of it.) He scoffed at that, and said that was something any good Samaritan might do, but that wasn’t security guard material. Mind you, this is a man who had seen my resume and called ME to drive an hour for this interview in the first place.
At that point it was fairly obvious I wasn’t going to get the job (to my everlasting relief), but he asked if I had questions, so I asked about benefits. That sent him off on a rant about “obamacare” and how none of these people (indicating the staff who were across the room, listening to every word) deserve health care. His face turned beet red and spittle was flying from his mouth.
I left there feeling as if I was crawling out of the rabbit hole. I don’t think Security is the field for me. I could never be that humorless or self-obsessed.