Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had some sort of uniform hanging in my bedroom closet. From child’s play to a choice of profession, I’ve worn many different uniforms during the past 35 years. My first one had patches from the local army-navy sewn all over it. I wore it in many neighborhood battles where my trusty bike never let me down. My next uniform had funny looking stripes on it, and it matched perfectly with the sign above the door of the local grocery store where I worked. Later on, I took a leap of faith, signed my name, and proudly wore the uniform of the United States Army for 7 years. To this day, you can still find me wearing a pair of camouflage pants around the house on the weekends. Why? Because they just “feel” right and because as an American…. I can. I took another leap of faith when I turned twenty-one and for the next 13 years wore another uniform. This time, the color was blue but the mission was the same, “to protect and serve.” My day to day life as a police officer brought me many interesting stories, some of them sad, some of them funny, and some….well both.
I’ve been a cop for 13 years. As many cops in this country, I could not afford to live on a cop salary alone. I found myself doing many different “moonlighting” jobs over the years. Most of the time, on my days off, I’d be working as a security guard at places like the shopping mall or football games. These jobs were not very fun, but they were more fun that living without groceries. What started as another way of making extra money a few years ago, turned into a way for me to give up those moonlighting jobs. I had become a “barstool musician.”
I’ve been very blessed over the last several years to have a second job that I love. I could have easily continued to work jobs that I merely tolerated to help pay the bills, but instead I was able to do something that brought me joy. As it turns out, apparently it brings a lot of joy to other people too. I’ve also been blessed with a family that has supported me from day one. Without them, I would never have been able to keep up this crazy life. I did 130 shows last year while also working as a full time cop. 2013 looks to be even more exciting for me. Through all this, I have come to realize that I cannot work as a cop and a musician any longer with my full attention directed towards both. It’s taken me the course of the last year to make my decision which I pray is the right one.
A new uniform hangs in my closet this morning. Faded jeans and t-shirts now take the place of my blue polyester. I’ve decided to take another leap of faith that will land me on the other side of the blue line I’ve been walking for 13 years. I’ve put down my badge and picked up my guitar to play music for you. I’m a little nervous, and a little excited at the same time, but I’m also certain that this is something that I must do. If we are to teach our children to chase their dreams, we must also chase ours. I hope you like what you hear from me, and I hope to see all of you at a show real soon. -MH