Hello, once again my gentle readers. This past Holy Week prior to Easter got good old Gumshoe thinking about life in general. Definitely, a time of personal reflection that stirred past memories of being the messenger of terrible tidings on one too many times to family members. A loved one is dead.
It is often said during B.S. sessions among veteran coppers that no one ever calls 911 just to report that they are doing fine and that they just wanted to say their cheerful hello’s to the guys and gals on police patrol. It was further joked among these veteran street monsters that it was better to be a firefighter. Really!
Just because you can sleep until you’re hungry and then eat until you are tired. You always work as a team on all of the fire calls and everyone gets to perfect their favorite food recipes. In fire station workout gym equipment and a great work schedule with several days off at a time.
Gumshoe personal note: I never met a firefighter who did not have an outside job; a ski boat; RV or a mountain cabin or an ex-wife or two.
You get to watch TV and folks just love to see you since you rescue their cats from trees and do a lot of “show and tells” for school kids during their firehouse visits. This of course is in between shinning your manly fire engines (apparatuses) and practicing sliding down the station fire polls. Wheeee!
Gumshoe thinks that if most cops are honest, there is a wee bit of envy and professional jealousy for firefighters. Really!
Gumshoe definitely respects them for answering the call when things are ablaze and the smoke is blinding.
The additional risk of “HazMat“ (Hazardous Materials) and cancer-causing toxic stuff exposure inside your lungs is most assuringly a buzz kill. God bless every one of you helmet-wearing heroes!
Now on the other end of the public safety spectrum are us lowly blue suiters driving our black and white hacks. Uber-mobiles by way of 911. Coppers mostly work alone in most jurisdictions but they do get a partner on some calls like domestic violence, crimes in progress, and shots fired.
One call that every cop works solo is giving a death notice to unsuspecting family members. You’re the badge-wearing, gun-toting messenger in blue or green or tan who personally experiences a family member/s worst day. There you are and you can never anticipate exactly how that death notice will detonate the explosion of disbelief, shock, anger, tears . . .to the recipient.
Gumshoe would emotionally brace himself. My mantra was to be professional, not robotic, and be compassionate. Never say you know how they feel — you don’t. Be human and forget about the badge. A hug, a shoulder to cry on was not uncommon. Sometimes a shared prayer. Amen.
Gumshoe’s advice: Go home every night and love your wife, your son, and your daughter, and thank God that you don’t have that unexpected “death notice knock” at the door.
Gumshoe would sometimes dream about being a firefighter but he would never admit it.
Until next time folks always remember to love the ones who love you and really try to love those who don’t.