Firefighter: I Really Don’t Like Washing Our Truck


Really necessary?

I know part of being a fireman is washing the fire truck when you have down time, but I have to tell you honestly that I don’t really like doing it. The truck is big and it’s got a lot of accessories on it, hoses and knobs and ladders, which makes it hard to wash, but even if it were as slick as a sports car, I still wouldn’t much like doing it. In fact, it’s one of my least favorite parts of my job.

Not that I’m complaining. Half my time at work is spent watching TV and making all sorts of funky meals in the kitchen. One time me and some of the other guys in the overnight shift spent three hours cooking this unbelievably lame meal with all sorts of goofy things in it like garbanzo beans, those little pickled corn cobs, and three kinds of sour kraut. It was awesome and disgusting at the same time, which is quite a trick if you can pull it off. The point is, to be able to waste three hours of my life doing that while getting paid is something very few people can do, so I consider myself fortunate. But I really dread the prospect of having to wash our truck, which we do at least once a week." target="_blank">

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Not that I’m trying to absolve myself of my responsibility, but even if I liked washing the truck, it’s reasonable to ask why we do it so frequently. It’s like we have obsessive compulsive disorder. I can tell you without exaggeration that we wash the truck when it’s not all that dirty. In fact, we’re probably damaging the paint finish by using so much detergent on it. And all that polish on the brass! Can that really be good for the finish? I’m just asking.

I know one of the reasons we wash the truck so much is to maintain discipline. The fact is, there’s a lot of down time when you’re a fireman, as you can see from that three-hour meal we cooked up. The goal for us is to stay in fire-fighting form by being busy even when we’re not, so we’re constantly swabbing the deck, so to speak. We all know that when minds and hands are idle, trouble ensues, especially when you’ve got six young men like us rooming together for these 12-hour shifts. So, to keep us out of trouble, we’re to keep our Number 3 engine spotless. I get that.

But it’s worth considering whether we should be given other options. Those who want to wash the friggin’ truck for the fourth time that month are free to do so. But why not give those of us who would rather keep busy doing other things the chance to do other things?

I’ve been suggesting for the past year that we be allowed to build a small greenhouse on the back of the fire station. Think of what a good idea that is. We could grow tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and all sorts of herbs. And here’s the best part: we can donate everything we grow to one of the city’s shelters! Think of all of the problems we would tackle. It would give us something to do other than wash the effin’ truck while helping to make a dent in a real problem: hunger, plus people not eating enough vegetables. I can see the newspaper article now: “Fire Station Helps Feed the Community When Not Fighting Disasters.”

Isn’t that a better headline than, “Firemen Wash Fire Truck for the Gazzilionth Time This Year”? I think so.

This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos (some modified): al (Creative Commons). Not necessarily endorsed use of images.

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