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Playing the reindeer game
It's best to tell a policeman the truth-no matter how weird it sounds.
The roads of West Texas are painfully lonely at 2 a.m. In fact, I had not seen a car in 20 minutes as I sped toward a waiting reindeer. Why does it seem that reindeer always go into labor at 2 a.m.?
There's one downside to being the only vehicle on the road at that hour: You are very noticeable.
As I mounted the only hill in Gaines County, there was nothing else for the police officer to look at but a speeding veterinarian headed for an emergency reindeer delivery.
"Great," I thought. "There is no way this guy is going to believe my excuse."
He ambled up to the truck with that typical, cautious policeman's gait. I could almost feel the beam of his flashlight bouncing off my head and anticipated his smirk when I informed him of my mission.
"Could I see your driver's license and insurance card, please Sir?"
"Well, Mr. Brock, any reason you are in such a hurry at this late hour?"
I always feel like a third grader sent to the principal's office when any lawman or woman pulls me over. As much as I wanted to sound convincing with my next few words, I just choked up. The noise that poured forth sounded like a 14-year-old boy going through the yodel that comes with voice-changing puberty.
"Umm, yes, officer, I was just on my way to deliver a reindeer baby."
If I had not been in such a hurry, the look that came over his face would have been something to let hang in the air for a while and savor. But because of the urgency of the matter I decided to expound a bit more:
"You see, I am a veterinarian, and there is a female reindeer about five more miles down this road that is having a critical time delivering. She is having a dystocia."
I decided to throw in the medical term there, perhaps to add a bit of credibility to my claim. It was not until this moment that I realized I had no way to prove that I actually am a veterinarian.
"You mean to tell me that you are speeding though the warm West Texas night to deliver a baby reindeer? Well, I've heard it all now," the officer responded behind an expression that combined a slight grin with a look of disgust.
"Listen, my friend, this reindeer is worth about $10,000 if I can get it out before it dies," I told the disbelieving police officer.
"I know you are here to enforce the law, so if you are going to give me a ticket would you mind following me over to the reindeer and writing it out as I bring that critter into the world?"
By then, with no conscious effort, my pubescent voice turned to an incredibly authoritative one. In fact, I hoped that I had not sounded too bossy when the bass finally came back to my tone.
Much to my surprise, the officer became more animated. He almost seemed panicked. He began shuffling his feet and folding the papers in his hands. Then he looked down the road as if to visualize a reindeer going through the Lamaze steps of delivery while awaiting her doctor.
"I don't believe anyone could make up a story like this," he said. "You just run along now and save that baby's life."
The the last thing I heard was him wishing me good luck as I pulled back onto the road to complete my job.
I got there in plenty of time to help little "Rudolph" take his first breath.
I often wonder if that officer went back to the station and told his buddies or if he just kept it to himself, figuring they would all make fun of him and think he was crazy.
I've also wondered whether that story might work for me another time.
Dr. Brock owns the Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas.
For a complete list of articles by Dr. Brock, visit dvm360.com/brock.