One of the best firehouse practical jokes I’ve ever been a party to happened years ago. It was so genius, I’ve never forgotten it. I came in after a run on the ambulance around 2300 (that’s 11:00pm to you!) to find one of the medics on the shift sitting at a table in the darkened kitchen. In front of him was an opened bag of double-stuffed Oreos. He had a butter knife and, with surgeon-like precision, was scraping the icing out of each cookie and replacing it with….get this….Crest Toothpaste. Then he carefully rebuilt each cookie, and placed it back in the bag.
He angled the opened bag invitingly on the kitchen counter, where anyone entering the kitchen would see. Then he looked up at me, put a finger to his lips to shush me, thereby making me an accomplice. You see, that first shift was tired of the next shift constantly eating their cookies. So they decided to do something about it.
The morning of the next shift, we would hear people exclaiming “UGH!” and then a lot of laughter. Then shushing, and then it happened again and again. Apparently they were letting each one of their own shiftmates find out the hard way what was wrong with those cookies as they each came in for line-up.
I think they eat their young, too.
The lesson to take away from this is that Firemen are men of action. They don’t have time for many words.
It wouldn’t occur to them to say, “Gee, would you mind not eating so many of our cookies?”. That would be something akin to asking directions, and men just DONT DO THAT. So they just take matters into their own hands… and they take care of it old-style. They just get right down to business….after all, experiential learning is the hallmark of a good firehouse.
To people outside the Fire Department, this kind of behavior would seem juvenile, crass, maybe even sophomoric. But the truth of the matter is they only pick on you if they like you. And there is so much stress associated with that job, they really do need a pressure relief valve. Humor is one of the healthiest ways to deal with it. So its a good thing. Really.
Then there was time one of them tied the laces of my boots to a chair without me knowing. THAT was purely Sophomoric.
Funny, but Sophomoric.
I felt the love!