In a business in which one deals with constant death and destruction, humor can really come in handy. Of course there never seems to be a shortage of humor, whether the perpetrators are the public or firefighters.
Take a look back on the events that changed the fire service and get perspective from our expert columnists
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After scanning a list of weird and humorous news for the year, three incidents jumped out at me. To my astonishment all three are from across the pond. I was quite surprised that in a culture that prides itself on protocol and being prim and proper that this sort of behavior would occur.
Now in all fairness, three individuals is a minuscule segment of Great Britain's population and certainly not reflective of the people there. Still, this is behavior one would expect of us rowdy colonists.
Driving Ms. Crazy
Our first incident involves a woman in Edinburgh, Scotland who was so distraught over failing her driver's test repeatedly, she set herself on fire. I passed my license test on the first attempt so I really can't relate to her reasoning. However, I would like to make two suggestions.
First off, I grew up in the farming rich area of Southern New Jersey and we always had a lot of wooden baskets. We got tomatoes, eggplants and a variety of vegetables in them. My mom put a broom handle through the hole in the bottom and set two of them out for me to practice parallel parking.
Secondly, after the burns heal, the Edinburgh tourist site says Edinburgh is a very easy city to travel on foot, by bike or by public transportation. In fact you can purchase an all-day bus ticket that entitles you to unlimited travel all day in Edinburgh. Plus they are those cool double-decker buses.
Aim, Squeeze, Sweep
Our second contestant comes to us from London. A 20-year-old man became so enraged in a hotel that he removed all his clothes, retrieved a fire extinguisher and put the hose up his rectum. Obviously, it wasn't a CO2 extinguisher with the horn on the end.
Look, if the hotel service is that bad write a scathing review on Orbitz. If room service screws up your order, dispute the charge and get some fish and chips at a local restaurant.
As one who has used a portable extinguisher several times and taught fire extinguisher classes, I hate that smell. You can even taste it. I pity the fire inspector who has that hotel next.
Breakfast of champions
However, the one that takes the cake for my money was the man in London who got his penis stuck in a toaster. Go ahead, read it again.
I have given some thought to this one. I really can't figure out how this happened.
So you are having breakfast in the nude and you need another crumpet. Instead of walking around the table you lean way over the table. This would take the phrase "L'eggo my Eggo" to new heights.
Television may hold the answer to the mystery of his motive. I once saw a show about people who have a medical condition where they fall in love with inanimate objects — like cars or bridges and the like.
Add to this television commercials for erectile dysfunction drugs — the ones that come with the 4-hour warnings. You see couples doing everyday household chores when suddenly the mood strikes. They have the look of love in their eyes.
Maybe that's what happened; he thought the toaster winked at him in that special, knowing way only a toaster can.
As fun as it is to speculate, I do not know the real motive for these odd behaviors; maybe no one does.
But one thing I do know — a group of professionals had to respond and take care of these situations and treat these people with the utmost dignity. In this case it was the London Fire Brigade.
Warm beer better than no beer
An honorable mention has to go to the Miami-Dade (Fla.) Fire Rescue firefighters who freed a raccoon that had its head stuck in a jar. Although lovable and cute in animated cartoons, I know from personal experience a raccoon can get mean in real life.
Honorable mention two goes to the man who went back into his burning house to rescue his beer. I think I worked with this man for many years: he recently retired.
You never know what you will see. That's one thing that keeps me going.
About the author
Will Wyatt, who is originally from New Orleans, has been in the fire service for 25 years. Will currently works as an engineer/operator at the Village Fire Department in the Houston, Texas, area. Will also works part time at another fire department and part time at a 911 emergency medical service. He has held numerous ranks with fire departments in the Houston area including full time training officer, fire marshal and deputy chief. Will holds a master fire fighter certification with the State of Texas, an instructor certification, pump operator certification, an associate degree from Houston Community College and a basic EMT certification. Recently will authored a book on the fire service entitled, "And a Paycheck, Too!" Check out an excerpt here. Contact Will at Will.Wyatt@firerescue1.com.
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