Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Day 1 -
It is lunch time and we are pulling up to our favorite taco stand to order our food. Some kids are playing in their yard right next to where we have parked the unit.

"Hey fireman, ya got any stickers?"
"I don't but Rocky does" I reply.

I tell Rock to hand the three or four kids some sticker badges. I am not as good as I should be about carrying them, but Rocky - the good boot, has a pocket full. He hands some over the fence, the kids grab them and quickly disappear into the house. We laugh, then turn and go into the taco stand to order lunch. A few minutes later and we head back to the barn to consume our purchases.

Day 2 -
"Hey fireman, ya got any stickers?" The same little kid asks. Before I can answer, Rock hands the prized sticker badges over the fence. He is on it.

"Ya got any more?" he asks. Rocky hands a few more over, the kids quickly grab them and start to disappear.

"Whaddaya say?" I ask as the vanishing act begins. We get no reply and they are gone in an instant.

On the ride to the station, the smell of Mexican food is shared with conversation about the kid's manners and their education. Why aren't they in school? I dismiss it to kids being kids.

Day 3 -
"Hey fireman, ya got any stickers?" Again, Rocky hands a few stickers over the fence and again the kid asks for more.

"Not today" I reply. "We are running low" I tell the kids.  Now this is technically a lie, we have a bunch of them. However, we did just get a memo saying that no more Pub-Ed supplies will be ordered this budget year, the account is out of money.

The kid does not appear to be satisfied with my response, so he turns away and retreats into the house along with his little friends.

Day 4 -
"Hey fireman, gimme some stickers" the young voice demands as soon as we pull up next to the fence.

Hey now.

"We don't have any" I reply, "We gave them all out".

"Who did you give them to?" the kid asks.

"Other kids" I answer back. The kids head back into the house.

Day 5 through 10 -
The dialogue is pretty much the same as day 4. Some minor variations, but the same demands are made. Our replies have been pretty much the same as well.

We no longer park in that spot. We park further down the street and cross over down there. This spares us from the demands of the kids. It not that we don't want to give the kids the stickers, it's just that the whole exchange has become a exercise in poor manners and an expectation that their rude behavior will be rewarded with sticker badges. Although I don't think that we have a responsibility to teach manners to the neighborhood kids, I don't feel we should encourage the bad behavior.

I find it kind of odd that the behavior of a few small kids affects where we park our rig. I mean, who is really in control here?

Thanks for reading,


  1. Dear Captain,
    You know, I FREQUENTLY wonder about this 'who has control' thing. I do not know the answer.

    Ahh, I once gave you an award you could not accept. It was dreamy hearts n flowers and you already have the Saint. But this one, you can tell us about a fire house breakfast.

    Check it out, and if your busy fingers can type a menu, you are good. Either way, sign of appreciation.

    Ann T.

  2. I think at that point you're avoiding the parents. As in my experence when the kids has 0 manners, so does the adult...

    and also it's one less headache you need to deal with, your job is stressful enough.


  3. Dear Captain,
    Coming back to this, I think it is a choice rational people make to avoid the escalation of trouble. Picking your battles, as it were.

    After a certain amount, though, all this avoidance causes an escalation of its own. This time it is internal. I think that is the feeling behind the quote (?) about a "plain man, driven mad" ,

    Wish I could find that darned quote. It's probably Nietzsche or a comic book . . .

    Ann T.