Fire Chiefs exwife's house lol (that's funny I don't care who you are).
A few years back we responded to working fire in an older brick mansion that had been converted into a business. It was a good fire (notice what we as firefighters call good). Fire was blowing out several of its windows. After we had the multiple alarm fire contained we gathered in the parking lot behind the smoking ruins and swapped war stories. Because it was a multiple alarm it brought together a bunch of fire companies that normally don’t work together, which prompted a lot of bantering and ass grabbing. We were unaware the business owner was also in the parking lot with us. So as he watched his life’s work go up in smoke. It appeared to him we were celebrating. He chewed us out as he walked by in tears.
It prompted me to write the following poem. Gallows Humor. I guess back in the day the people sent to die in the Gallows developed a rather sick sense of humor to deal with their situation. In the Fire service we have similar way of dealing. Most people would not or could not understand our “Sick sense of humor”. Ever heard the terms “D.R.T”, F.U.B.A.R” or “Crispy Critter” used. These terms may sound sick and twisted to describe a tragic situation. But it helps us avoid some of the terrible mental pictures of what we see by turning them into a cartoon of sorts. How about the times when you, or one of your coworkers, had a close a call or suffered an injury. Once you knew they were going to be okay they quickly get saddled with a new nickname. Break a toe now you’re known as Camel toes. Strain your back, you have cheap parts or “will do anything to get some time off”. Fall through a floor “lose some weight Fat ass”.
You get the picture. Make no mistake about it. The fear of a career ending or debilitating injury or the thoughts of what would happen to our families if we died in the line of duty are waiting patiently in line with the vivid mental pictures of the dead and dying and the horrific injuries we have witnessed. Waiting patiently for their turn to sneak into our thoughts when we least expect it. It is part of the burden we bare for doing the job we love. But let’s at least try to remember that civilians don’t understand it. So behave, because you never know whose watching.
“Humor that makes fun of a life-threatening, disastrous, or terrifying situation”. Webster’s Dictionary
How can they be so heartless
to sit there with a grin
In the burning ruins where
someone’s house had been
You cannot understand the firefighter
but we care more than you know
We laugh and kid around sometimes
So that our pain won’t show
We can’t always show emotions
but we still hear the cries
Seeing our own loved ones
In a strangers hurting eyes
If we seem insensitive
It’s not what it appears
Sometimes we need to joke around
to hold back our own tears.