IAN WAS HERE: Clean streets make for happy citizens.
LOCAL—Ian Cooper was recently honoured as Employee of the Month by his managers at the city’s municipal road management division, but the future didn’t always look so bright. Cooper, 32, was once incarcerated for 2 years less a day for his past sadistic behaviour.
Sadism, a paraphilia in which a person experiences sexual excitement from inflicting physical or psychological suffering on another person, once made it seem unlikely that Cooper would ever be a productive member of society.
“Then I got a city job as part of my work release program,” he explains. As an operator on the city’s ‘Clean Machine Team’, Cooper now works year round to keep city streets safe and clear.
“In milder weather, I enjoy scrubbing the roads down with the rotating brushes… getting a real good dust-up going, flinging dog crap out of the street and sending mud, rocks, and debris flying,” he says. “And I know people appreciate it. They’ll shout real loud at me just to make it clear that they’re noticing what I’m doing.”
He pauses wistfully, to take a drag on his cigarette.
“And when the snow hits, the blades are down. You’d be amazed how much ice and slush I can move in just a few minutes. People are always in shock. I’ll be coming up the main road with a huge pile on my blades, when I’ll duck down one of the residential roads to do a bit of work. The homeowners, especially the ones at the corners, are always quick to greet me. They’ll wave their arms wildly to get my attention and I always offer a friendly wave and a big grin in return. In just a few minutes, I’ve moved all that snow that was clogging up the street into a nice clean line on either side of the road. Sometimes three-and-a-half feet high!”
When asked about how he copes with the sadistic urges, Cooper pauses to wipe a tear from his eye.
“I now realize that all I ever wanted was to be a force in people’s lives… and I’ve got that now,” he says. “I mean, when people come running out of their house with slippers flapping and their toothbrush still in their mouths to chase down my rig, I know that they’ve been moved by what I’ve done and want to tell me how they feel. Of course, I can’t usually make out the words—this machinery is loud—but I can see from the looks on their faces that they’re quite emotional about the service I provide.”