You’ve spilled something there on your shirt, Chief.


A conversation heard at a Midwestern fire department between Bobby, the Training Officer and his Chief:


Fire Chief:  Go away, Bobby, I’m eating.

T.O. Bobby:  Hey, Your Eminence, I have some good news and I have some good news.

Fire Chief:  You know me, Bobby.  Give me the bad news first.

T.O. Bobby:  There is no bad news, Chief.

Fire Chief:  There’s never no bad news, Bobby.  This is 2010, remember?

T.O. Bobby:  Well, Chief, it’s actually 20-   Doesn’t matter.  Anyway, it’s true.  No bad news, today!

Fire Chief:  OK, then give me the second good news thing first.

T.O. Bobby:  Ahh, still trying to trip me up, eh?  OK, well I found a way to
get some kick-ass training for a few of our guys and want to allow YOU
the opportunity to offer it to them.

Fire Chief:  That’s what I’m not paying you anything extra for, Bobby.

T.O. Bobby:  What would you say if I found a place, a NEARBY place, which offered a fire training and leadership conference?

Fire Chief:  You mean Indiana?  You know we can’t afford that anymore,
Bobby.  Those dinner receipts from Shula’s put us over budget again last

T.O. Bobby:  No, not there.  Closer.  And we don’t have to stay
in the Super Duper 6 Motel on the freeway on the other side of town
because we didn’t lock in our room reservations back in 2006.

Fire Chief:  Hey, it was only 17.5 miles away and the parking downtown was under $30 a day, what are you complaining about?

T.O. Bobby:  Who’s complaining?  When we needed to get to the convention
center, I fought to sit in the middle of the front seat of our Command
Vehicle with your CAD shoved up my a—

Fire Chief:  Should have
called shotgun there and back all included no take-backs.  Did you find a
place that we wouldn’t have to drive to from the hotel?

T.O. Bobby:  Yep.  You’ve spilled something there on your shirt, Chief.

Fire  Chief:  And we certainly don’t want to wait for such an event to happen
one per year.  Fire training has been treated more like an anniversary
than a continuous opportunity.  We need it all the time!

T.O. Bobby:  That’s another good news item.  This event is only a few weeks
away, and the next a couple of weeks after that.  They’re scheduling a
bunch of regional training seminars all next year customized to the area
in which they’re presented!

Fire Chief:  Bet the event doesn’t have nationally-known speakers discussing current issues to the fire serice.

T.O. Bobby:  How much?

Fire Chief:  How much what?

T.O. Bobby:  Howmuchyawannabet?

Fire Chief:  Name one that I would know.

T.O. Bobby:  Mitchell.

Fire Chief:  Mitchell who?  Never heard of him.

T.O. Bobby:  John Mitchell?

Fire Chief:  Wasn’t that Nixon’s Attorney General?  He’s teaching fire stuff now?

T.O. Bobby:  No, no, no.  Look, forget Mitchell- that was a joke.  Let me try someone else.  Ever hear of Chief Brunacini?

Fire Chief:  Duh.  OK, who else?

T.O. Bobby:  Let’s see, they’ve got Dennis Rubin, Chris Naum, Rick Gasaway,
Paul Hasenmeier, Tiger Something-or-other, and hey, Tim Sendelbach is

Fire Chief:  And Nixon’s AG?  Isn’t he dead?

T.O. Bobby:  Yeah, Chief.  He’s dead. 

Fire Chief:  But you know our staff needs hands-on work.  Just last night,
two guys from Red Shift busted two axes forcing entry into that house,

T.O. Bobby:  Yes, Chief.  The unlocked glass sliding
door kicked their asses.  That’s another plus.  The crack team from
Brotherhood Instructors will be heading up several opportunities for
hands-on training.  They’ve got classes on R.I.T., forcible entry,
engine and truck company ops, and even that new “Man in the Machine”
class we’ve been hearing about.

Fire Chief:  That’s hot.

T.O. Bobby:  Yes, Chief.  You made a little joke there.

Fire Chief:  What do you mean?

T.O. Bobby:  H-O-T.  Hands- on- tra… Never mind.

Fire Chief:  Well it all sounds great, Bobby-boy, but you know we can’t
afford to send guys to conferences like these.  They’re too expensive,
and most of the money just goes to some magazine publisher.  Not my idea
of “sharing the knowledge.”

T.O. Bobby:  Chief, I know that.  But all this training comes at an affordable price.  I think you’d be surprised.

Fire Chief:  Surprised?  What have I told you about surprises?  I’m the
friggin’ Chief- I HATE surprises.  Now go surprise me with cutting that
10 percent from your training budget.

T.O. Bobby:  That’s just it,
Your Heaviness.  If we can sign up our guys by Friday, we can save 10
percent with Early Bird Registration.

Fire Chief:  You know, Bobby, you make it very difficult for me to pass on
this opportunity.  To take advantage of the savings, perhaps we should
use the Googles to sign up.  Can we sign up on the Googles?

T.O. Bobby:  Yes, Chief.  Just go to and you can have all the information of the Gateway Midwest Program in St. Charles outside of St. Louis in October.

Fire Chief:  Bobby.  I have an idea. 

T.O. Bobby:  What’s that, Your Highness?

Fire Chief:  Let’s check out this new customized regional training I’ve been
hearing about.  I think it’s near St. Louis or something.

T.O. Bobby:  Ahh, sure, Chief.  Great idea!

Fire Chief:  Make sure those Red Shift yahoos get signed up for the forcible
entry program.  I don’t care if they’re free that weekend or not.

T.O. Bobby:  Doesn’t matter, sire.  There’s another regional conference set
up in the Philly area just a couple of weeks later, and much more to

Fire Chief:  Your diatribe has become monotonous and tedious, as usual.  I grow weary of your presence.  Be gone. 

T.O. Bobby:  Done!

Fire Chief:  Oh, and Bobby?  Don’t forget to keep making me look good.

T.O. Bobby:  Of course, Your Majesty….

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