Monday, January 11, 2010

Good Riddance

People have asked me why I no longer work at the Big House of Pain. The reality is that it grew tired of me and I grew tired of it.

I have worked there several times during my career. I spent time there as a firefighter and as a captain. I enjoyed the vast majority of my time there. I enjoyed working with the large number of people who are assigned there and the variety of calls that I experienced while there.

For the first ten years or so assigned to the B.H.O.P, I liked meeting the various crazy people that I came accross or those that came across me. I also didn't mind the constatnt summons to the District Commander's office to handle some special project or some special detail that I would in turn, assign to one of my crew.

Along about the fall of 2001, I started becoming tired of all of the unstable people that appeared at the front door of the station. Most had issues that my crew couldn't resolve, so they would refer them to me. I would get the page and walk to the foyer, where I would find someone with an issue that I could not resolve either.

The visitors often would not want mental health intervention or law enforcement to get involved so it would end up being a long drawn out affair that would not be resolved by anyone else either. As our county does not have a "Ghost Busters" station nearby, there are just some issues that can't be resolved. Of course, we were able to address  some of their problems, which was nice, but the whole thing began to wear on me.

The nature of our visitors began to change as well. In my last of year at the Big House of Pain we removed a 9 mm handgun from the waistband of a 65 yr. old man, had a transient pull a cavalry sabre on us and got into a wrestling match with a couple of meth-head swingers who were fighting in front of the station. Interesting events to be sure, but it got old after a while.

I think the district commander could sense my frustration with the place and felt that a different captain in the house might be good for the crews. He swapped me out with the captain at the Healing Place and although I really didn't  want to come down here, I have never looked back.

I realized that the D.C. made the right call on the morning I was moving my stuff out of the B.H.O.P. It was after shift change and I was down on the apparatus floor. I heard crying, looked up and saw the department secretary consoling a young lady, who was sobbing uncontrollably. The sobbing woman told the secretary that her boyfriend had ditched her at the front of the station several hours before dawn. She said that she had spent the remainder of the night leaning against the front of the station. The secretary had found her when she came to the station to pick up some paperwork. I let the on duty truck captain handle it and finished loading my truck. The young woman calmed down and spent an hour or so at the station until someone came to pick her up.

Not really a big deal, just the typical B.H.O.P. BS and I was tired of it. Good call D.C. Micro on getting me out of there. Good riddance B.H.O.P.

Now that I have five years or so left on the job, others are starting to ask me when I am going to retire. They are starting to grow weary in their current assignments and are beginning to plan and maneuver as to get my spot when I do go. I will start to see "safety bids" in the next few years just in case something happens and I leave earlier than planned. If a senior guy doesn't have a bid in and a younger guy gets the spot, the senior guy may never get in. It's nice to be loved.

I am fortunate that the healing place was made available to me. I enjoy working there and have no plans to transfer out. Lets just hope the D.C. doesn't get any ideas.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Capt. Hope they still make men like you who take jobs like yours 'cause if I ever lose my mind and show up on the doorstep, I would want them to treat me with dignity and respect like you have written you do! Everyone needs a little tenderness, even a physco!~
    Stay safe, warm and dry!

  2. Dear Captain,
    There's always a point person for the crazy stuff. Sometimes you wonder, haven't you learned how to deal with this/made your peace with it? But they still keep calling you.

    It's part of their learning too, not to be so dependent on your people skills. I'm glad you found sanctuary.

    Ann T.

  3. Wow. Whats it like to see the light at the end of the tunnel??? I cant even imagine it yet.

    I once worked a station that was smack dab in the middle of crack town. For the 6 months I worked there I dread going back to the station at night. Stabbing & shooting victims and drug addicts are just some that showed up at our door in the middle of the night. I was scared.

  4. I wish I could visit you and the healing place some day. It sounds like a interesting place, especially BHOP. Then again, I'm still young into my career and full of just enough piss 'n vinegar to enjoy some of the drama at times.

    Then again, I pretty much just transferred out of a healing place and into a much more active house. Violent crimes are commonplace around here, but rarely find their way to our front apron thankfully.

  5. I think you qualify as a good egg Capt. How 'bout some Pez with Cubbies dispensers as a reward?

  6. Psycho's need love too. Except when they show up on my door with a gun, sword or dead animals.

    I am tempted by the PEZ offer Mrs. B, but I am not sure if I want to get involved with any of Archie's stuff. If he is as bat-shit crazy as you say, it might cause him to show up at the healing place with a sword, or worse! Thanks for the offer though.

  7. Best wishes capt. and alway really enjoy your war stories and learn something each time.