Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

December 3, 2013

If I Had One Moment To Do Over Again

When I look back over my life, I see a lot of moments that I'd love to do over again.  But there is one that really sticks out in my mind because if I had just one opportunity to do something over, it would be this.  It should also be noted that this event became a source of great mirth to my dad, and now Russell, because all they had/have to do is say the man's name and I go into my ranting tirade: Police Chief 'Weirdy' (name changed, obviously, and a nod to my bff Liz for coming up with the awesome pseudonym).

In the summer of 1981, my cousin Diane purchased a red Yamaha Chappy moped.  She'd saved up all her money to get one.   The one pictured below is like hers except she didn't have a milkcrate on the back of it.

She purchased it from a Yamaha dealer in Hyannis, who gave her all of the needed instructions and so forth prior to taking it home.  Mopeds don't have to have a license plate because they don't drive in the middle of the roads like cars and motorcycles, nor do they require a driver's license. In those days, most mopeds looked more like this:
Like a bike, with pedals, just with a small motor and larger seat.  On those, you pedaled the bike to start the engine.  Hers didn't have the bike pedals, and had a kick-start, like motorcycles have.  I couldn't wait to ride on it too!

That was my first summer working as a chambermaid at some summer cottages in East Sandwich.  My dad dropped me off in the mornings and my employer took me home when we were done.  One day, Diane offered to pick me up on the moped when I got off work.  I jumped at the chance.  She was at my aunt & uncle's (her grandparents) house, and it wouldn't take long to get to the cottages.  We were on our way home  on the side of Rte. 6A, well out of traffic, and had just about reached the bottom of Old County Road.  We heard a loud siren behind us and I turned around to see an unmarked car with blue lights flashing in the grill.  We were being pulled over.  I muttered to her, 'Oh what the fuck?' Diane, being a very even tempered and non-confrontational person pleaded with me, 'Please don't say anything that will get us in trouble...PLEASE keep your mouth shut....just let me handle it?  Promise?  PROMISE?'  Annoyed, I said, 'Fine!'  which really came out more like, 'Fine-ah!'

She stops and we get off the moped.  I turn around to see the shortest little man get out of that police car.  He couldn't have been much taller than me, and I top out at 5'2".  His chest was all puffed out and he had a swagger about the way he approached us, hand on his gun.  Seriously?  Two high school girls?  We were 16 for crying out loud!

'LICENSE AND REGISTRATION!' he barks at Diane.  I am fuming, but keep quiet.  She said, 'I don't have a license or registration,'s a moped and...'  He cuts her off mid sentence to yell at her for riding a motorcycle without a registration, plates or license.  I was pissed off but again, kept quiet.  Diane was remaining calm, but I could tell she was scared.  She said, 'I'm really sorry officer....the guy at the dealership said I didn't need plates because it's a  moped, not a motorcycle and....'  The cop cuts her off, 'DO YOU WANT A CITATION FOR BACK TALK?!?!?!'  He told us to get back to wherever we were going and get that thing registered.  We got back on the moped and went home, where we told our families what happened.  

Upon description of the little tiny cop with the swaggering Napoleon attitude, my uncle and dad exchanged amused, but knowing, looks.  'That was our town police chief, Weirdy.'  From that moment on, whenever my dad saw him he'd come home and say, 'I saw your friend today' and cackle.  That usually sent me off into my I Hate Chief Weirdy rant.  

If I could go back in time and do that moment over again, I so totally would.  I would have ignored Diane's pleas to be nice and be quiet.  As soon as that teeny, tiny cop started yelling at her, I would have told him off.  I was never one to throw my dad's name around, but boy would I have told that asshole who my father was.  And my uncle.  

This is how the exchange would go, if I had this moment to do over again:


Me:   Quiet for the moment but biding my time.  Contempt clearly written all over my face.  Arms crossed across my chest, tapping my foot, over-exaggerated eyerolls, jaw jutted out, nostrils flaring, lips pursed.  Every now and then, an annoyed and loud sigh.

Him:   Yelling at Diane for not having plates.

Me:  Are you fucking serious?  It's a fucking MOPED asshole! You don't NEED plates, a license or a registration for those, don't you know that?  We weren't even riding in the middle of the road, but on the side like mopeds are supposed to do!  Me in a sing song, Mr. Rogers voice:  Can you say 'Moped?'  I know that choo can.


Me:   Fine! Do it!  Please! What's wrong with you, you tiny little man?  Can't catch real law breakers so you have to try and intimidate and threaten high school girls?  Go ahead! Bring me to the fucking police station and call my father, John Mendonza.  And her grandfather is Bill Marganella, so call him too.  I'm sure they'd LOVE to hear from you, you fucking loser cop.  Seriously, asshole, don't you have anything better to do than pick on a couple of kids who weren't doing anything wrong? And with lights and sirens no less?  DICK!!!!!!!!!


Of course if that exchange had really taken place and my parents had to come get me out of jail, I would have been forced to apologize to Chief Weirdy and I would have been punished. But you know what?  It would have been worth it just to have my say.  


  1. That is a crock of BS. That cop deserved telling off. It probably was just as well you kept quiet because while you would have had the satisfaction of having your say, the thrill would have been short lived once the shit hit the fan with your folks. Love the story. ♥

  2. It's sad that there are people who feel strong when they humiliate the weaker ones. Well, you cannot change that moment now, but may be it taught you to stand your ground and fight for your rights.
    Have a nice day, Jojo! Thanks for lovely comments in my blog :)

  3. Ha! Yep, in jail you would be...

    Ah yes, Little Man Syndrome. I have come across it a few times and just laughed. They are not worth the effort or my time to deal with.

    Loved the story!

  4. I sympathize. (However, those small town cops are very irritating. Got to do something to liven up the day. . .)

    I call that Little Napoleon syndrome per hubs who accuses me of it occasionally (what?) since he's about a foot taller than me.

  5. I bet it felt really good to write out the scenario the way you wanted it to happen. For me, writing is so cathartic.

  6. That's why we write: catharsis. Even though you can't go back, I hope it helped some to re-write the story. As an aside, I've had my share of annoyances by teeny men with SMC (short man's complex). =)


  7. PS I hadn't read Elsie's comment before writing mine. I see that we're in sync.