Back in my police academy days we had many fine instructors who taught us how to become police officers, but the advice and wisdom of one instructor never left me.
He was a grizzled old Sergeant who came in to teach us about the penal code. He had a photographic memory and could recall minute details of the many laws we would be sworn to enforce. He taught us a lot, but his personal reflections about the foibles of man were perhaps his most memorable lessons. The standout was a brief lecture on the dangers of the “three B’s.”
“Booze, Babes and Bucks,” said the old Sergeant, ” have been the downfall of too many cops, not to mention politicians, movie stars and society!” The good Sergeant launched into a cautionary sermon with many colorful examples, but let me summarize the core points.
“Booze” obviously refers to alcohol and includes other drugs. Many a good cop has injured or lost his/her career over alcohol or drugs. Alcohol fuels poor decision making that leads to things like drunk driving, domestic upsets and sick days. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional beer bust or end of shift choir practice, but for some this becomes a slippery slope into a regular lifestyle choice.
“Babes” refers to just that, all the physically attractive people you meet. It’s normal to appreciate the good looks of another but some people fall prey to their carnal appetite. We have all met the skirt chasers and flirts who ruin their marriages, reputations and lives over infidelity. Even pornography fits under the “Babes” warning because of the pain it can bring to relationships and erosion of your character.
“Bucks” is all about the travails of money management. Instant gratification is always battling with our personal discipline. We’ve all known people who are mortgaged to the hilt and maxed out with their credit cards but somehow they still go on vacation and eat out. I’ve seen cops over the years take second jobs to make ends meet but they’re exhausted at work and burnt out. And we all know the gal who loves to try her luck at the card tables or buys lottery tickets weekly. Poor money management and credit debt have ruined many lives.
I never forgot the “Three B’s” and hope that old Sergeant’s life lesson might help you stay focused on your own path. Drink in moderation or not at all if you have no talent for it. Stay loyal to your relationship or exit honorably. Finally, live within your means and sacrifice when necessary to avoid debt. Avoid the “Three B’s” and you’ll save yourself a lot of grief and heartache.