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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kiss It

I was out on a call that was running a little on the long side, and had to get clear so that I could get to work at the full-time power company gig. Ironically, it was a tree on power lines call that I had to break away from.

To be on the safe side, I called the control center to the dispatcher I was supposed to relieve, to let him know that I was in a pickle but was doing what I could to be at work on time. This was a good 90 minutes before I was due at work, mind you.

I made it to work on time, as it turned out. If I had not called in, no one would have known the difference. Some folks ask me how I do both jobs, but to be honest I can think of only three times in around ten years that I got pinned by a fire call and couldn't get to work on time because of it. Sure, other things make me late here and there, but not the fire department. It's just rarely ever an issue. I know when to skip calls based on time of day, and type of call, to prevent that from happening..

Still, the guy I was supposed to relieve complained to the boss. I didn't hear about it right away (probably because I was on time in the first place), but eventually it came out. The way it was phrased was along the lines of how he didn't want to be stuck while I was out "playing fireman".

As a volunteer, I hear that a lot. I imagine many of my readers, career and volunteer, hear it too.

Well, you guys who think this is fun and games can kiss my pale and hairy ass.

I've seen far too many people bleeding and dying, had my feet nearly frozen in my boots and icicles caked on my helmet, lost nights of sleep while running calls or waking up to certain nightmares, consoled grief-stricken family members, had ceilings fall on me and once nearly fell through a floor, jumped out of the way of drunk drivers while trying to extricate and save another, held dead children in my arms, and paid for the privilege of all that and much more by missing time with my family and greatly increasing my chances of early death by various nasty cancers.

When you think it is fun and games for us and make wisecracks about our job and its been only two hours since I worked on a guy who blew the top of his head off and I had to bag my turnout gear because of all the blood we were mucking around in......

Fun and games? Playing fireman? Some game. Some fun.

I don't ask for love or medals, I just do it because it needs to be done.

If you can't just take that at face value and leave it be.... if you have to mock and belittle what I do, well you can substitute "kiss my ass" for what I really think about you. If you call 911 for whatever, or drop with cardiac arrest right in front of me, you bet I'll be the first one to help you. But respect? You get none.


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