In the movie Michael Clayton, a conversation takes place between Michael Clayton, lawyer, and his cop friend.

Cop: Now I owe this scumbag and his wife who's a complete piece of shit in my unit. Now I owe them both my balls.

Michael: I'm sorry. You know I am.

Cop (imitating Michael): "Nobody will know it's me." You know what happens they don't bury this, that I gave you this?

Michael: It's bad. I know it.

Cop: I'm 18 months away from my 20. You just put my pension in jeopardy.

It appears 20 here means retirement. I know 20 is a slang word meaning location, but what does it mean here?

  • I agree with Mike, the cop is saying he is 18 months away from retiring after 20 years service.
    – Douglasvw
    Jul 3, 2018 at 12:24
  • Interesting to see 20 there as a sort of wordplay. Where's his mind? Its 20 is on his 20.
    – TimR
    Jul 3, 2018 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


In this case "20" means "20 years of service," meaning he is likely eligible for pension and/or other retirement benefits at that point.

  • To be clear: he could “retire” after 10, 15, or 19.5 years - or 25 or 30 years. It’s just that after 20 years of service in many professions, you qualify for significant retirement benefits. It’s used to keep people in those professions for longer. Jul 4, 2018 at 23:22
  • 1
    @JohnBurger I've clarified my answer. Jul 5, 2018 at 0:10

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