By Diane Feldman
Alan Brunacini, chief of the Phoenix (AZ) Fire Department, gets on a plane and everyone is waving. It turns out, they are waving at the passenger sitting next to him. After everyone is seated, Bruno turns to the man next to him and says, “Everyone is waving at you. You must be famous. Who are you?”
Bruno says he does not watch much TV.
The next day, Bruno tells his secretary the story. He says, “I didn’t know him, but he was a very nice man and we had a good conversation.”
The next day Bruno comes into his office, and his secretary says, “You are now a nationally known big idiot! You were part of Jay Leno’s monologue last night. He said, ‘It is very humbling to sit next to an American on a plane who doesn’t know you. He just happens to be chief of the Phoenix Fire Department.’ ”
“I came out of the house expecting to see two big red trucks parked outside, and there’s nothing there. Both the engine and the ladder are gone—they both went back to get the helmet, not knowing the other was getting it! Luckily, an assistant chief arrived in his car and gave me a ride back to quarters, at which time I radioed to the engine and ladder, ‘Don’t worry, the on-duty officer is back in quarters!’ Now I know how Custer felt!”
Diane Feldman, a 21-year veteran of PennWell Corp., is executive editor of Fire Engineering and conference director of FDIC. She has a B.A. in English communications. She has been a yenta (look it up) for most of her life. If you have a story for the Yenta, e-mail email@example.com.