A firefighting crew is a family. My co-workers are brothers and sisters, and like my biological siblings I berate them, ridicule them and fight them for the TV remote. My lieutenants are like parents. They preach safety and morals, then return home to drink excessively while operating heavy machinery.
Like any proper home life, the fire family sits together at the dinner table to discuss their day. A typical non-fire family dinner discussion might go like this:
DAD: Johnny, how was school today?
JOHNNY: It was spiftacular, sir. I got an A in the maths and was chosen as captain of the baseball team.
MOM: Oh gee, isn’t our Johnny special?
The ladies and gents of the fire service like to think we are a proper family too, and so we tend to discuss our day at the dinner table. It usually goes like this:
FIRE BOB: You won’t believe what I went on today. This guy has some disease called jlsejiijtlks, and there was vomit everywhere. It smelled like feces and peppermint.
(Below: Detailed description of Fire Bob’s call)
MEDIC ANNIE: Wow, Fire Bob, that sounds gnarly, but that was nothing. I had a patient today who shat his pants three days ago and left a three-day trail all over his apartment.
(Below: Detailed description of Medic Annie’s patient)
Eventually, all of the firefighters and medics try to outdo each other with their best stories of brains splattered on pavement, along with a description that resembles the evening meal. We do want to be a proper family, after all. Studies show that bonding occurs with dinnertime discussion.
The problem occurs when, say, a firegal like me goes out to dinner with friends who are accountants and school teachers. Dinnertime discussion tends to go more like this:
TEACHER SUE: You will never believe my day. Sally May ate a half-container of Elmer’s glue, and Billy John threw a book at the fish tank. Honestly, children these days are so unruly.
ACCOUNTANT TIM: Oh, I know just what you mean. Mr. Edmonds, my biggest client, dumped half of his stocks into a very poor investment. Doesn’t he understand there’s a recession looming?
FIREGAL MICHELLE: Bad Ass! Like you, my day was totally un-rad. I had a patient with his femur sticking out the side of his leg. You’ve never seen a man cry until you see one with a femur pushin’ through his thigh. Bloody bone marrow leaked down the pavement into the storm drain. We had to call public works to prevent the fish from…Are you going to eat that chicken?
TEACHER SUE: …
ACCOUNTANT TIM: Um…
FIREGAL MICHELLE: (licking fingers) Well, you know. He’ll live and all.
TEACHER SUE: Well, that’s…
ACCOUNTANT TIM: …I’m glad he’ll be okay.
FIREGAL MICHELLE: So, uh Sally May…Elmer’s, right? I ate glue as a kid too.