Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Very Superstitious

Firemen are a superstitious lot. They have their own peculiar notions about what seemingly innocuous turn of events may actually invite bad luck. And while they have no problem walking under a ladder, other seemingly benign circumstances can harbinger impending disaster.

If, for example, the boot fireman announces that he would like a nice ripping fire that shift, that would pretty much guarantee a shut-out, call-wise. On the other hand, breaking in a brand new set of bright yellow turnouts should assure that you’ll be getting banged out on some sort of messy run—a tar pot fire, perhaps, or a fuel spill on the freeway. (My new turnout pants caused a strip mall fire last shift. Sorry.)

The origins of other superstitions are somewhat more obscure. In our station, it is widely held that saying the name of our city more than three times will cause a busy shift (see the movie “Beetlejuice”). Closing the apparatus bay doors too early in the evening (any time before 9 p.m.) portends multiple calls after midnight. And missing the trashcan with your wadded-up paper napkin after dinner will likewise make for a lot of night runs. So there’s a lot of pressure on to make that three-point shot from across the kitchen.

As far as I know, there are no scientific studies to back the claims of these firefighter superstitions. But there must be some definite cosmic causal relationship. So it is unwise to tempt or anger the run-gods by some act of negligence or hubris on your part.

And although I’m an otherwise perfectly reasonable man, I have, over the years, observed an undeniable cause-and-effect regarding certain circumstances and thus cultivated my own particular superstitions. I would swear that a heavy meal—pasta and meat sauce, or chili, for instance— almost inevitably leads to an extremely strenuous and extended call: A few hours in sweaty turnouts, pulling hose, climbing ladders, cutting roof, and sucking down a couple of air bottles, until that spicy sausage and red sauce is rising back up in your gullet.

It’s your own damn fault.

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I haven’t forgotten about our little contest here at “The Damage is Done.” I’ll be drawing the winners in a few more days, but until then, it’s not too late—all you have to do to enter is follow my blog!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Grand Re-Opening

Welcome to the grand opening of my new blog, The Damage is Done! Come on in and take a look around.

If you were a reader of Switch2 Plan B, don’t bother looking for it. It’s not there anymore. I lost the domain name. (Pro tip: make sure Google Apps has your current email address.) But I do still have access to the nearly 400 posts in the archives—spellbinding tales packed with pathos, jocularity, and wonderment.

I’ll be serving up the same junk here.

When Switch 2 Plan B disappeared into the cyber-limbo, I had 72 followers, and I was very proud of that fact. I’d like to rebuild that list here.

So to kick things off, we’ll be having a little contest with prizes. All you have to do is click on the “follow” button in the right-hand column. Next week or so I’ll be drawing two numbers at random; the followers whose position on the list corresponds with the number will receive a $20 gift card to Amazon.Com.*

And if the follower chosen was referred here from another blog or FaceBook page, that blogger or FB’er who sent ‘em here will also get a $20 gift card.

Diabolical, yes?

See, I’m not above a little graft and payola to build my list back up.

Now, I know I won’t get anything close to 72 followers in one week. But it’s nice to dream.

Next week: True stories from the firehouse. Stay tuned!

* Employees of “The Damage is Done” are not eligible.