Thursday, June 25, 2009


It's break time at the drill tower. Two engine companies, a ladder truck, a squad along with the technical rescue folks and their million dollar heavy rescue are at the site. About a first alarm assignment for our organization. We are there to receive our annual confined space rescue training.

It's a perfect day for it, blue skies, a little upper atmosphere moisture giving us some high clouds. I comment to another senior member how it could stay like this all summer and I wouldn't mind. He agrees, we are both beginning to like summer less and less.

I notice one of the younger guys checking his phone. In fact, I had noticed a few people checking messages at various pauses in the program. I 'm sure I frowned while thinking about this, I think it's rude to check messages during class, even during a "lull" in the action. Just then, I hear the buzz and feel the tingle of my phone in my pocket.

Of course, I pull it out. It could be the emergency management folks, letting me know that my services are needed somewhere far away. I check the screen, it is from the saint that I am married to. Her text informs me that Michael Jackson has passed away.

I later learn that most of the folks in that class were getting the same texts as I was. A good use of technology I guess.

Later, we return to the station and I turn on the news as the crew prepares dinner. Of course, all of the coverage is of Mr. Jackson's passing and of the reaction of his fans. I watched for over twenty minutes as it became obvious that there would be no other news today, nothing more important than the passing of the king of pop had occurred.

They did note in a small segment, the passing of Farrah Fawcett. I am sure that I am not the only male in my age group who fondly remembers the famous poster from my junior high years. I had heard she was gravely ill and was suffering from cancer. I hope her suffering is over now.

The nostalgia passes and the airwaves are again filled with images of fans standing around a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star bears the name of Michael Jackson. It turns out that this star belongs to another Michael Jackson, a early film star or a radio talk show host.

We talk about Mr. Jackson during dinner. We agree that regardless of what you think about him, he was an immensely talented entertainer.

We also talk about Ms. Fawcett.

It was also at about that time, that phones started buzzing again. This time with messages sharing jokes referring to Mr. Jackson and to some legal issues that he had in the past.

I am amazed how quickly these jokes started making the rounds. Within a few hours, they begin to appear. Who writes that stuff anyway?

I am reminded of when Diana, Princess of Wales was killed. At about the same time, Mother Teresa passed away in India. Mother Theresa's passing was not given much more than a passing utterance compared to the media coverage of the princess. I guess we, as a species, care about princesses more than we do saints.

I know that Mr. Jackson's many fans are distraught over his passing and that he was loved by many folks. I truly don't know if he was guilty of the things of which he was accused. I actually hope that he wasn't. I do know that the media will saturate our eyes and ears with coverage of this event over the coming days and that more Michael Jackson jokes will be written and texted out.

I am just glad that no jokes have been sent out about Ms. Fawcett.

It's late. Fortunately, we have had a quiet evening here at the healing place. My paperwork is done, my log up to date and the training records are in. Time to turn this off and pack it in.

Thanks for reading,
Just another Schmoe, keeping the wolves from the door.

1 comment:

  1. It may just be, that the two of them passing at around the same time is a blessing. For Princess Di and Mother Theresa it may have been the way God and Mother Teresa wanted it. Low key and humble, overshadowed by a celebrity.

    Maybe the same for MJ and Farrah. Myself, I don't get into celebrity lives much. I am to busy with my own life!!