Have you ever written something (a poem or other piece of Creative Writing) which was inspired by one person and almost forgotten about it - only for it to be brought back into your mind by two people who were totally unconnected with why you wrote it - and you felt exactly the same emotions which prompted you to write it in the first place???
Well, you could say I had a few unexpected trips back in time this week. Some were nice but others I could seriously have done without thank you very much.
It all started when I read a blog post by a Twittercop. (I hope Mr John Sutherland excuses me for not stating his rank because - as will become apparent - it is completely irrelevant to what I want to discuss.)
Mr Sutherland wrote about his experiences as he went through the ranks in such a way that I was reminded that under that smart looking uniform he wears is a human with feelings. He wrote about how he supported his colleagues and members of the public during some very difficult times (including the London Bombings on 7 July 2005).
As well as that the Twitter Double act of Constable Chaos and Sgt TCS were up to their usual fun and games.
Another blog post I read was by the Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police - who had got drenched (as well as muddy) at the Download Festival.
Not forgetting the occassional tweet from the local Twittercop for the part of Leicester I live in.
All the above was relatively relaxing to read - Twittercops being human and humane, and showing their caring sides.
Fast forward to yesterday when two (completely unconnected) Twittercops managed to combine to send me back to school - or so it seemed. (The fact that I literally ended up going to the town I went to Secondary School in later yesterday afternoon was a sheer coincidence.)
I have mentioned Wilco Berenschot a few times before on here. The Twittercop who I am quickly coming to the conclusion is his English equivalent is a guy going by the Twitter name of Nathan Constable.
Why do I think that??? Well, it might have something to do with the fact - nearly every time Mr Berenschot has tweeted something about an incident connected with his Pop-up Police Station Mr Constable has written a blog post on that exact subject. Both of them saying exactly the same thing - one in English and the other in Dutch.
It is the last two Twittercops who have inspired this blog post in their own ways. I will explain more in a minute. First - I would like you to read something I wrote after a discussion with my all time favourite teacher (I had left school quite a few years before the conversation which led to me writing this);
I don't understand.
I know I'm not very good,
But I didn't think I was this bad
My head's so stretched,
I just can't cope.
Feels like someone's,
Put my brain on overload.
I don't know why,
Everyone's going on at me.
Where's the door,
To 'Escape Capsule 3'?
You think I'm living,
In a daydream more often than not.
Dear Sir, to stop me doing that,
Would turn my life support machine OFF!
You say I could do better?
Well, I couldn't feel much worse.
It wouldn't surprise me,
If I left school in a hearse.
Don't get me wrong,
I know you're not to blame.
I want to ask for your help,
But the other kids would still call me names.
Now do you understand?
I never was very good.
But I wasn't really that bad.
You might be wondering what a poem about my experiences at school has got to do with all the above-mentioned Twittercops??? (After all, I would only expect the Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police to be able to locate Lutterworth on a map - Lutterworth being the town I went to Secondary school in.)
Well, I will start with the easiest two who I can connect with it - Mr Berenschot and Mr Constable (and the connection may be stranger than you think).
Mr Berenschot had previously set three boys who had been bullying an 80 year old pensioner some "homework" in the form of an essay on what they had done - instead of throwing the book at them and punishing them more severely.
Yesterday afternoon Mr Constable posted a blog about how he had built up so much of a connection with a man who kept getting into trouble when he was younger that - when the man started causing problems where Mr Constable works - Mr Constable seemed to be the only person who was able to calm him down so the other officers could deal with the man.
Meanwhile - Mr Berenschot decided to do a "Periscope" chat (using an app where you can film yourself talking live whilst people can type questions for you to answer).
Now - in order for this to make perfect sense you have to know a few bits of information about me.
I was bullied at school (to the point where I seriously considered suicide - I even told my Year Head that I wanted to leave during the first term of my first year at Secondary School).
My all-time favourite Teacher had a habit of saying one particular sentence so often that it almost ended up as his catchphrase. "We'll write a short note about that" should have been an internationally recognised signal that he was about to write a six whiteboard essay which we were supposed to copy down - but I could never write quickly enough to do it.
Oh - and - my all-time favourite teacher was the one who - after I had left school - confirmed why I liked and respected him so much - he didn't "teach" so much as "helped to learn". His way of describing it was like the difference between filling a jug and watching a waterfall. One involves putting water into something and the other one involves helping the water which is already in something flow out.
(A slight side note is that Mr Berenschot doesn't look very different from how Steve Bowkett - the teacher in question - did when I first met him.)
So, there I am watching this "Periscope" broadcast (and firing one question in my best Dutch) - when I start to get the feeling I am back in Steve's classroom (E3 of Lutterworth High School - Now you know where that bit about "Escape Capsule 3" in the poem comes from). Most of Mr Berenschot's broadcast is in Dutch (he does answer my question in English) - but in the back of my mind I am still expecting Steve to utter his immortal catchphrase. In fact, Mr Berenschot was so interesting that I wanted to be told to write about what he was telling his audience.
In the same way that I liked Steve's way of teaching by not teaching - as opposed to the Maths teacher who I had in the same year - Mr Kendall seemed determined to teach me in exactly the same way as he taught the other children. Unfortunately, Mr Kendall's methods left me with a lifelong hatred of both him and his subject - I think I have found the perfect way to police.
The best way to police is don't even try.
I have met some Police Officers who seem to be on-duty even when they are off-duty. These characters just seem to have been programmed to be POLICE at the expense of everything else - a bit like "Robocop". They are the ones I find most scary because I don't feel like I can be myself around them.
My favourite Police Officers (and Twittercops) are the ones who make it obvious that there is a line that I shouldn't cross unless I want to get arrested but - on the other hand - show their off-duty selves even when they are on-duty (as in they let me feel I can have a laugh and a joke with them but let me know that they are there if I need them for anything serious).
Oh - there is also something else which connects all the Twittercops I have mentioned in this blog post. They are not afraid to use somewhat unorthodox methods to get results. Why stick rigidly to a rulebook when the situation you find yourself (or another person) in hasn't had a rule dreamt up for it??? If you find yourself having to metaphorically "get out of your uniform" in order to help someone by showing your human and humane side - do it - they will remember you for it. Carrying someone's shopping home for them, or getting involved in a game of football with some children may not be seen as "proper Police work" but it does count as community engagement.
The Police Motto (in the UK anyway) is "Policing for the Public by the Public". Some officers may be in danger of forgetting that - and it would be a great shame.