#47: The Fireman
It was a typical afternoon in the firehouse. Me, Danny and Pete were sat around playing five card stud, drinking cold soda and dreaming of hot pizza. The alarm went off. We folded and sprung into action.
The next thing you know, we’re into the fire truck and out the door. I still get that rumble in my stomach whenever the firetruck goes really fast. I wasn’t driving that day, so as we sped down the streets, I made sure to give the thumbs-up to any young boys who saw us. I was trying to catch a glimpse of the fireman dream in a boy’s eyes, wondering what sort of men he would become. Did his father love them? Did he even have a father? It’s hard not to wonder such things when you’re speeding down the street in a big red fire truck. It makes you contemplative and—I don’t mind saying—a little bit wistful .
With a screech of brakes, we arrive at the fire. It is a house fire in a pretty swanky part of town, and well under way. Sometimes these rich bastards can rub me up the wrong way. I break my back working for this department and I never had no trust fund. And the only ‘hedge fund’ I manage is the one where I save up to buy new hedge clippers.
I see that Gary and Lou have the hose held in place. I wrench the water on and it comes gushing from the big hose like a snake throwing up a stream of moles. This is us, doing our job as fire fighters. We are fighting a fire. This is what it is all about. This is what it feels like to be a fireman.
I hear what sounds like a baby crying. I imagine his discomfort from the heat and perhaps experiencing the first signs of smoke inhalation. I run into the rich bastard’s house and save the baby.
Everyone was very pleased with me for saving the baby, so I called my dad for the first time in 20 years. He said he was proud of me.
I was a man.
That night as I was having a beer with my dad I knew that he knew that I was a man. I didn’t need him to say it. We were just both men. This is what is what it feels like to be a good man.
—Photo credit: starmanseries/Flickr