Thursday, November 17, 2005

Let me go, Bull...

Last week I attended my brother-in-law's induction ceremony into the Arlington County Fire Department, an event that reminded me of that other world--you know, the one where people have real jobs. One of the recruits, in fact, is an ex-Marine who did two stints in Iraq, both, I believe, in Falluja. I think he's 24. This week, on the other hand, I caught two grammatical errors in a book review. The results could have spelled disaster!

Arlington's 62nd recruit class went through physical hell in order to graduate. One of their instructors, who brought to mind Lou Gossett Jr. (in An Officer and a Gentlemen, not Jaws 3-D), annually participates in the firefighter olympics. We're talking races up 20-plus flights of stairs and 300 push-ups for each recruit every day, sometimes while wearing an oxygen tank.

I was shocked to learn, however, that being a firefighter can involve considerable dead time. There's a lot of studying. And cleaning. And paperwork. In other words, nothing at all like Backdraft. (Ladder 49 is apparently more accurate though Backdraft remains the fave among firefighters--after all, who hasn't fantasized about a final showdown involving fireaxes inside a burning warehouse?)

Congratulations, Bill.


Anonymous said...

If there were chicks in the class, chances are they had to go through a hell a tad less demanding than the gents. Rigourous nonetheless, but probably not the same as the guys.

Anonymous said...

My brother-in-law is a state trooper. I am an accountant for a manufacturer. I've often considered switching to a cop job and actually make a difference. Final answer to that question is provided by the way our government prioritizes where it spends money: State trooper annual salary $35,000. Manufacturing accountant annual salary $90,000.