When I was studying to become a Paramedic, one of my preceptors name was ‘Cupcake’. Actually, it’s his nickname, but no one uses his birth name. And, in fact, Cupcake is most often called ‘Cuppy’ by those who know and love him well. He’s got a nickname for his nickname. Don’t see that too often, do ya?
Sometimes people will ask why we call him this ridiculous name. I’ll get to that in a moment.
Understand, Cuppy is a BIG guy. In all ways. Strapping. Strong. and oddly, Cherubic. I don’t know how those all mesh together, but he makes it work.
Cuppy has a fantastic sense of humor. No prank is too big or too small for him. And he’s no dummy, either. Graduated from George Washington University. Is a member of Maryland Task Force One’s Urban Search & Rescue Team. Teaches Paramedicine. Teaches Scuba. Teaches Sailing. Loves motorcycles. Loves his Whiskey, and an occasional cigar…but only if he’s been at his whiskey. Has a laugh and a smile that is more infectious than half the diseases we transport in the Medic units. (ew.)
So here’s the story: He was fresh out of the Fire Academy’s Training class…about to embark on his Rookie year at Germantown Fire Station 29. Knowing it is customary for a Rookie to bring good eats for the whole shift his first day, he stopped by the station to ask them what would be a good food item to bring. It happened to be a different shift than the one he was joining. With a smile, a seasoned, leather-skinned, wise-ass Lt. suggested he bring…. cupcakes.
So, in he waltzed on day one, and made his first impression to his manly-man co-workers…. the men and women with whom he would be fighting fires side-by-side….the men and women who would be counting on his manly man-ness to have their backs…the men and women who were currently in a shift-wide weight loss challenge…. with three boxes of cupcakes. You could have heard a pin drop. Mouths went agape. Eyebrows raised. Finally, one of his new shiftmates, in no uncertain terms, let him know, “BOY! You can’t bring cupcakes to a fire station on your first day! You gotsta bring Meat! Preferably Red! What kind of fool idea is this? Where did you get this hairbrained idea?” (I’m paraphrasing…) He sheepishly admitted that the other shift suggested it….which explained everything.
And thus Cupcake was introduced to his new fire fighter family as the Dupe to another Shift’s “gotcha”.
And his new name was born.
And he’ll never live it down.
On a more serious note, Cupcake’s real name is actually Chris, and he was always more kind to me, more patient with me, and more understanding with me than anyone else in all the stations I have ever ridden. I’ll never forget him.
Or the time he tied my bootstring to a patient’s cot when I wasn’t looking.