To those of you who know me, you get the joke. I hear it all the time… it’s always funny to poke fun at fat cops and donuts. But this topic always made me want to go two places: to talk about the origin of the joke, and to talk about stereotypes.
The joke probably started back in the 70s… maybe further back than that. But here’s the origin. I know this because I used to have a sergeant who talked about it. Cops work weird hours. When I started out in law enforcement, I went where most rookies do, the midnight shift. I worked at a fairly large department, and our call load was pretty hectic when we’d first go on duty (for me it was 11:00pm) It would usually be around 4am before we would clear from a call, and not get another one right away. If we weren’t busy booking someone in jail, 4-5 am would be about the time that we would go take a coffee break or have our dinner.
At that time, there weren’t many places open 24 hrs. We had maybe 3 choices, IHOP, the truckstop, and Dunkin Donuts. Dunkin Donuts was great, because of two things: They had the best tasting FRESH-ground coffee, and they gave donuts to cops for free. So when I’d pull my patrol car into the parking lot, there would usually already be one or two other black and whites there too. By the time we’d leave from our break, another two patrol cars would pull in. When the day shift would go on duty, guess where they’d stop to get coffee? Bingo. People driving by would think that the same two patrol cars were there for at least 4 hrs. In reality, we got 30 minute meal breaks and 15 minute coffee breaks. But when I say that the coffee was good… it was really good. Something about the beans they used, but I’ve never had coffee that good.
Yeah, we all get the joke. Ha ha. You’re very witty. Do you think though, that any stereotype is really okay? I know it’s popular to bash politicians, tax collectors, and everyone’s favorite target: police. I don’t think stereotypes are a good thing, they can be hurtful, and are usually not accurate. Some of you older folks will remember a movie and a TV series… “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Dukes of Hazard” It was popular and fun back then to portray cops as fat and stupid. One of the cops that I used to work with (on patrol) had a PhD. He had written 3 books, and would teach college courses. He enjoyed being a patrol officer for fun. But it’s not just cops that we like to stereotype. Ask a blonde girl if she’s really honestly tired of the blonde jokes. Ask a black man how he feels about being stereotyped as someone who eats fried chicken. Oooohhh… now I’ve hit a nerve. It’s okay to stereotype cops, but not racial or ethnic people? I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t we spread the word that we’ve all heard the joke. It’s time to move on. Donuts are good. Stereotypes – BAD.