Chapter 2: Why are Firefighters/Police in Calendars Fine as Hell but in Real Life... Not So Much?
Have you ever seen the beautiful calendars they used to make years ago featuring Firefighters & Police Officers? In case you haven’t, a brief look into history. To generate income our service men and women used to do all sorts of fundraisers. They used to conduct car washes, and some would collect donations in a Firefighter’s boot or Policeman’s hat at busy intersections. My favorite (and probably most innovative) was the calendars.
Picture this: fine, muscular men in uniform for every month of the year. That’s right, people! Every month a new tasty treat for you to look at all month long. Race didn’t matter here, it was just a book of fine/ gorgeous men. In some cases, you might notice some of your friends who owned these calendars were living in the past. It would be November and their calendar would be stuck on July. ’Cause July’s guy was doing something to her. Yes Lord!
Look, someone should be sued for false advertising here. There should be a law against this type of misrepresentation. If I were President, this would be my first act in office. In my humble opinion, at least a certain percentage of the firefighter/police men should be represented in those calendars.
Not knowing all of this at the time, I jumped at the opportunity to visit the fire station when my blind date (set up by a friend who is no longer a friend) invited me.
My blind date’s name was Mike and even though it was sometimes hard to catch him for conversation (because, you know, he was out putting out fires), he sounded sexy as heck. We got along swimmingly and since my brain decided he was gorgeous, I could overlook such small things as availability.
One day, Mike invited me to the firehouse for a visit. It never crossed my mind: why visit him at work versus when he was off like normal people? Small details. Who cares about those? My “meet the firefighters” dream was about to come true. I put on my cutest outfit with wedge heels (I needed heels with these super tight jeans but didn’t want to look like I was trying THAT hard). I called some of my girlfriends, who were instantly jealous of my special invitation to the firehouse. And after an hour of applying makeup that made it seem like I wasn’t wearing makeup (ladies, you know what I mean), I was off to meet my blind date.
AT THE FIREHOUSE!!!
Yes, ladies, I had to stop myself from speeding over there. When I arrived, I had to calm myself down. I walked into the empty garage bay area where a fire truck would normally reside as instructed. In the back of the room were two beat up sofas surrounding a large tv. Some sports game was playing which had everyone’s attention.
The inside of this firehouse did NOT look like what was on the calendars. Before I was discovered, I scanned the room quickly looking for the infamous pole many a gorgeous fireman slid down (usually bare chested with red suspenders). I finally located it but noticed a bunch of boxes piled up on the floor around the pole. Odd.
Just then, my blind date appeared. He was.. ROUND! This man looked like he could give birth at any moment. Chunky, sturdy, jolly, beefy.. Whatever a politically correct way to describe a full figured male might be that was he. Can you call a male “full figured”? We will today.
He yelled “Hey!” when he spotted me, which made all of his fellow firefighters turn around to give me a friendly hello. I was encouraged to sit with them on the sofas and invited to watch the game with them. Upon taking my seat I realized:
OMG! THEY ARE ALL ROUND!
What is going on? These guys would have to call another fire department to save them if any one of them tried sliding down the pole (which was way too small!).
Disclaimer: They were the nicest guys you would ever want to meet. They offered me a bowl of delicious smelling chilli they were all eating during my visit. They were happy and full of jokes. And as long as they were fighting very slow moving fires, I am sure they were fine. Later they explained they all use the stairs (not the pole) when rushing off to save the day.
I talked to my new friend the firefighter for many months after that horrible blind date. Dreams forever crushed by the band of happy round fire fighters.
While we are on the topic of firefighters...
Where there is smoke…
I was sitting on my sofa minding my own business (isn’t that how all good stories start?), and my cable box powers off. I go to it to turn it back on and as I approached, I smell wires burning. And I see smoke... WTF...
I shut off the power to the surge protector. This turns off the power to all connected devices: tv, blu ray, sound bar, etc. I grab my phone to call the fire department’s non-emergency number. The Dispatch decides to send the fire truck anyway to ensure an electrical fire hasn’t started. I instinctively go change to my cute jeans (hey, they are sending firefighters)...
It didn’t take long for the firefighters to arrive. I open the door to see one old male firefighter and his two extremely round partners (both still putting on their shirts and jackets) come to the door. I guess this is the B team cause these guys aren’t moving very fast.
They entered my house and I immediately smelled smoke. NOW THERE IS A FIRE! It didn’t take me long to realize the smell was coming from their uniforms. I guess if you don’t have a fire, they provide one, free of charge.
Anyway, after examination, they determined with their equipment (and noses) that the cable box did indeed catch fire (internal wire burning). They mentioned that the surge protector did its job because it turned the power off to the failed equipment. If there was no surge protector, the issue could have gone back to the power outlet or affected my other equipment. Wow.
Are you seriously telling me I needed the fire department because of my cable box!?!?
Bring out the special choice words, cause now it’s time for a phone call! I thanked the guys for their time and they rolled out. Literally.
Now it’s time to call the cable company. I’m on the phone spicy as heck with “extra” attitude still heated about my heated cable box.
“Put me straight through to the ‘disconnect service’ agent”. I commanded.
“Ma’am, have you contacted your homeowners insurance company?” The agent interrupted upon hearing about the fire.
“Why would I call my insurance company?” I asked. I am completely confused at this point. What might the connection be between what happened and my insurance agent?
“Because the insurance will cover the cost of a new box.” The agent said impatiently.
WTF? I reminded them that it was their equipment that failed. If they expect me to pay for it by filing a claim through my insurance company, they better think again! If my hoshi-toshi 3000 (an old Martin show reference - go Google it) had been damaged, I would require this cable company to replace my whole television set. In other words, I will absolutely not be paying for anything let alone filing a claim.
Upon hearing my complaint, he told me to hold...
Are you *bleeping* crazy? I thought. (Yes, I just censored myself. This isn’t that kind of book.)
Free or heavily discounted equipment is typically included in the cable company’s service plans. Why the hell would I pay the cable company more money? That shit (Ok, I forgot to censor myself right there) doesn’t even pass the sniff test.
Can you imagine if cable companies could legally do this what might happen? Cable companies would schedule all cable devices to self destruct right after the warranty expired to make customers pay for new devices.
The agent comes back after a few minutes with a new plan which includes a new box today or first thing in the morning. We’ll see what else we can get.
Which reminds me of a crazy police story…..
Your ticket said What?
I was speeding to work one day and I got pulled over by the police. Now if I am honest, I was doing AT LEAST 36 mph in a 25 mph zone. Since the speed limits weren’t posted, I thought I had a good chance of getting out of a ticket. The officer greeted me by tapping on my car window with his flashlight.
“Ma’am, do you know why I pulled you over?” The police started.
“No, I do not” I lied. Lying is wrong. You really shouldn’t do it, by the way. I will explain to my Maker, if this comes up, that I HAD to lie. What if he pulled me over for a broken tail light and I revealed to him my illegal speeding? That’s TWO TICKETS. See why I had to lie?
“You were speeding. At least, 35 mph in a 25 mph zone” he said.
“There aren’t any signs over here, I thought this was a 35 mph zone” I begged. That wasn’t a lie. I would still be speeding but at least the ticket wouldn’t be as much.
The officer shrugged and told me as long as I have my license, it is my job to know the speed limit EVERYWHERE. This seems unreasonable to me, but I didn’t argue. He might find something else wrong to give me more tickets. I passed him my license and insurance card.
It seemed like forever, and I finally got my ticket. He told me to get to work and have a nice day. Yeah, right, like that is going to happen. I am holding a ticket of over $100. This is not the way to start my day.
Wait a minute… As I looked at the details of the ticket, I noticed something strange. This ticket states I was driving 25 miles an hour in a 36 mph zone… So, based on this ticket, I was driving…. too slow?
Oh happy day! This should be easy to get out of. I am going to TRAFFIC COURT!!!!! I called one of my attorney friends who coached me on how to handle myself in traffic court. They suggested that I simply state I was not driving at that particular speed. The case should be dismissed because of the mistake.
Of course, when I got to work my boss and co-workers let me have it. When they found out I got a ticket for driving too slow, it was open season on me for the rest of the week. If I had a nickel for each time someone called me “Granny behind the wheel”...
Fast forward to court day. I sat among some of the hardest looking individuals I have ever seen in my life . Like slid out of bed, threw the gat (gun) in the back seat and rolled on over to court. I (dressed for work) looked completely out of place but that is ok, I guess. Got my “get out of a ticket - body con” dress on and the judge was an older man (So I might have a chance. Forget the ticket, look at all this booty.).
All participants were told to be seated as we arrived. It was first come, first served, and I was among the first group to present my case. There were about 15-20 individuals in front of me who were reported to have done all sorts of interesting crimes: driving while intoxicated, driving without licenses or insurance, at fault accidents, you name it. And LOTS of people driving 20-30 miles over the speed limit.
Because, you know, we all have places to be!
The judge gave each person three choices:
Not guilty - (meaning) “I didn’t do it, no one saw me do it, you can’t prove anything”
Guilty - (meaning) “Ok, you caught me, my bad”
Guilty with mitigating reasons - (meaning) “I did it, but see what had happened was…”
Those who selected ‘not guilty’ were given a court date. That was it. No discussion. These are not good options. If I select ‘not guilty’, I have to come back to court again. I have to think fast to get my situation heard right now.
My name was called and I went to the designated spot in the front of the court. The judge asked me for my plea. He wasn’t playing today. He was moving through cases quickly as there were easily 60-100 people waiting to be heard. And some were still intoxicated or extremely hungover.
“Not guilty, with a comment” I said, trying to hide my anxiety. I didn’t want to go to jail in this outfit. That was for sure.
The judge sighed, looked at me and reluctantly asked: “Fine, what’s your comment?”
“There must be a mistake. The ticket says I was driving 25 mph in a 36 mph zone.” I stated flatly.
The judge paused and looked at his copy of the ticket and then at me. He shuffled some paperwork around and peered in my direction.
“No ma’am, there is no mistake. I have a copy of the ticket detail right here”. Judge said holding up some of the paperwork.
What??? I looked at this ticket a ton of times. I am sure of its details. Something isn’t right. Luckily, I brought the ticket with me.
I quickly turned to the court officer. “With all due respect,” I said to the officer, “Can the Judge look at my ticket?” I said holding the ticket toward the court officer.
The court officer looked at the judge to gain permission. The judge must have thought this was a good idea, “Yes, bring that here” he said, gesturing to the officer.
While the court officer was retrieving my ticket to give to the judge, I explained my case.
“My understanding of the law was a 35mph speed limit should be enforced when no speed limit sign is posted. ...And my coworkers have been teasing me for weeks about this, calling me an ‘old lady’ for driving too slow. Haven’t I suffered enough?” I asked.
The entire room laughed at me. The judge took the ticket from the officer and I stood there in the middle of the room patiently. The officer who gave me the ticket was in the back of the room, hand wiping his brow. The other participants began to whisper loudly in their seats. I looked around and saw people shaking their heads with disapproval. Apparently, everyone seemed to know what had happened but me.
The judge rubbed & inspected the ticket to see if it had been altered. Concluding it hadn’t been altered, he immediately looked at the officer who wrote it.
He looked at the ticket and said: “Well, I’ll be, it DOES say 36 in a 25. I don’t know what to do with you.” he said. He then handed the ticket and the paperwork to the prosecuting attorney (representing the county).
“Have a seat young lady” the Judge said, moving on to the next case.
I waited in that seat for the longest time (at least 45 minutes to an hour). I got the opportunity to hear all sorts of cases AND excuses: people were driving with no seat belts ($10 fine), no insurance (court costs only from $150-300 & if you had an attitude about it, more $$). The crazy part was it seemed everyone’s punishment included driving school! The excuses for speeding were all over the board:
I ran out of gas and was trying to get to the gas station
My speedometer was broken
I wasn’t paying attention (Really, my guy?)
Young males with multiple tickets were getting fines so quickly it was hard to keep count. This one guy’s fines included: driving without a license ($250), without insurance ($300), without proper registration on his car ($250), driving without seat belt ($10) and so on. He just kept saying “Guilty” and the charges kept coming...
One situation broke my heart. A young lady stood up and stated that she believes her sister has been using her driver’s license, that she has never been to Missouri until today. She is from Chicago and drove here to come to court after receiving notice in Chicago.
The judge asked some questions, heartbroken as well. The sister has apparently made a career doing this in various states. Unfortunately, this young lady has had to appear in court repeatedly begging someone to find her sister to bring the sister to justice (which would include the four charges discussed currently). The young lady was near tears. I was too. How could her sister be so... Anyway, the judge asked this lady to sit down next to me. I told her I was sorry this was happening to her.
Anyway, finally the prosecutor came back. The judge called me back to the stand. He said they are dismissing the charges with a $25 court fee. He told me to tell my coworkers to stop teasing me and calling me an old lady. I thanked him and left to pay my court fees (that is some BS by the way, but I won’t say anything. I don’t want points.)
I have a couple of morals to my story:
1) be grateful your family loves you and isn’t trying to stick it to you like this poor girl’s was
2) (KNOWN) Don’t speed in certain counties in America. They are making a FORTUNE from under educated, bad drivers.
3) Wear a dress, be polite & patient when talking to the judge. I only spoke when I had permission. The court process way too many cases per day and EVERYONE wants to go home. (It became clear quickly that one’s appearance dictated how you were handled and charged. For example, I was not treated like the two guys - pants sagging - with plenty of attitude ahead of me.)