The long list of politicians who have suffered from the “can’t keep it zipped” syndrome reminded me of this little anecdote recorded by my father in a typewritten note dated January 8, 2005. He writes about an incident involving Honolulu Police Chief William Gabrielson, who served as chief from 1932 until 1946.
Former Chief of Police Gabrielson used the phrase, “a stiff prick has no conscience.”
The chief’s description came in the 1940s when I was president of the Keys and Whistles organization of Reserve Police Officers. One of our leading surfboard paddlers had overstayed his leave from police duties when he was setting a record for chaining the islands on a surfboard. In the water sports world, the feat was unusual.
Because of his being stranded at Upolu Point on the Big Island waiting for the weather to clear, he missed his duty assignment. The paddler, a good police officer, was fired by the chief for his negligence to duty. At the time, I headed up the Hawaii Surfing Association and Keys & Whistles, and appealed to the chief on his behalf. My appeal was immediately acknowledged with the words as described above. That was final.
The chief was doing his job and I can only assume he had used the expression on previous occasions. It was a shock to me, though.
I remember Gene “Tarzan” Smith paddling the island chain just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, just about the time the police reserve program was started. But I don’t think my dad was in that first group of reserve officers. I’ll have to see if my mother recalls. If the unnamed officer wasn’t Tarzan Smith, who was it? Any ideas?