Advising a Would-be Fireman
(Morristown Daily Record, Morristown, N. J.)
Editor Aeroplane:—I am a young man twenty-one years of age and very much desire to join the Morristown Fire Department, but hardly know what branch of it to adopt. I am now taking the liberty of seeking your advice because I look upon you as, undoubtedly, the most experienced, energetic and enthusiastic fireman in the town. I have often looked, with profound admiration, upon the marks and scars of active service which you bear, with such extreme modesty. Will you kindly indicate to me the nature of the service involved in each department, and also make suggestions which will aid me in determining the sort of service I should engage in. Perhaps it would be well for me to say that I am a native of the town, and have always been crazy, ever since I was two years old, to become a Morristown fireman.
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A dvising a Would-be Fireman
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Very truly yours,
It is needless for us to say that we have been very greatly touched by the eulogium pronounced upon us by our young correspondent. Never before has anyone shown an appreciation of our superior attainments along firemanic matters, and we greatly appreciate these kind words, and would have appreciated them yet more had they come from some old fireman. But this is more than we could reasonably expect, for they are all jealous of us, and refuse to award us our rightful place in the department.
Now, Eddie, you didn’t tell all you should, in order to draw from us the best that is in us, in the way of advice on this important matter. You should have told something about your health, your scholastic standing, your style of beauty, your special talents and whether you wear ready-made or made-to-order clothes, for all these things have much to do with your choice of work in the fire department.
If you are of a romantic disposition and love the spectacular, you should join Resolute Truck Company, for this is the romantic and spectacular division of the fire department, and then some. This company carries the ladders, and if there are any fair ladies to be rescued from the fifth story windows, of course they do it, amid the cheers of the gathered thousands, I f there is any stunt to do on inspection day, they always manage to strut around just about the right time to do them.
Eddie, perhaps you, like all of us, have often felt, while passing great plate glass show windows, in which the merchant has placed an alluring stock of goods, an almost irresistible impulse to step back a few paces and land a rock in about the center of the glass, just to hear the crash and discover how much damage you could do. But you have refrained from doing this because it was unlawful, and you didn’t want to go to jail. If you joined the truck company you could do this in a perfectly legal way. Yes, Eddie, if you have a well developed destructive element in your make-up, join the truck company.
We have in Morristown two Steamer or Engine companies, Washington and Humane. But, Eddie, if you don’t enjoy work perhaps you had better side-step both of these companies. Handling hose with the thermometer below zero, is not excruciatingly pleasant, and handling hose in the mud, even if the weather is mild, is never beneficial to a dress suit. No, Eddie, we are afraid you wouldn’t like to belong to an Engine company. Of course you would have big dinners and all of the rest of the furbelows so dear to the heart of the fireman, but lots of firemen get those things without work, so you had better not tie up with an Engine company. But if you think you can stand the work we assure you the crowd is all right, possibly the flower of the department.
Then there is Independent Hose company. It really isn’t a hose company at all. It used to be until the members got so old they couldn’t do hard work, then it was turned into a Chemical Engine company. Its membership is divided into two camps: The elderly or senile division, which upholds the dignity of the organization, and the younger camp, which, needless to say, does the work. That’s what you would be up against, Eddie, if you joined, so you had better consider the matter very seriously. In two particulars this company excels all others; it answers most of the still alarms and uses up vast quantities of hot air at its frequent dinner affairs. This is a very, very old and venerable company.
The real hoscry department of the Morristown fire brigade is located in the first ward. It is an exceedingly useful branch. You see, it’s like this: Upon an alarm of fire, for which the machine is always ready, the get-away is very rapid. When it reaches the fire all that is needed is to hitch on to the fire plug, and begin to squirt. A well-managed and properly directed Hose company can make a handsome parlor suit, including a $1200 piano, look like the peace treaty does now, in an almost incredibly short space of time. We wouldn’t wonder a bit if you might like it, Placing water where it will do the most harm to fire and furniture, is a sport seldom equalled outside of running an automobile with only two cylinders working.
The only remaining fire company in the group is the fire wardens. Their chief duty is to look pretty on parade, keep the children back of the rope on Inspection day and get in the way of the firemen, automobiles and outsiders when there is a fire. Say, Eddie, why don’t you make a break for the Wardens? You didn’t tell us how tall you are, but if you are a big fellow you would, more than likely, warm up to the warden’s job all right. It’s almost like being a real policeman like John Morrison or Horse Wildey. Of course your authority wouldnt’ last long, but you would be cock of the walk while it did last. You may may have noticed that the wardens are always placed at the head of the firemen’s parade. That is so as to get the worst over as soon as possible.
Now, Eddie, we have laid the thing out before you —take your choice, but join some department. You will never know what real life is until you do. But the thing will cost you something, Eddie. The first shot off the shovel, you’ll have to buy a suit. Then you’ll have monthly dues, about a dollar a month, and never, so far as we have been able to discover, was there an organization which affords such a remarkable opportunity to accumulate such a magnificent assortment of fines as does the Morristown Fire Department. Get in the game, Eddie, as quick as you can, but be sure and bring your pocket-book.
(Note by the Editor.)
The above is by way of adding to the joy of nations.
There do be in Morristown, some men of mean and meagre understanding who do say that the author of that reply to “Edward,” although a member of a Fire Department, never attends fires and would not know one if he should meet it coming down the street. Those men who do say such things, are the victims of envy and jealousy. Also they are slanderous men, which statement is susceptible of proof; at the last inspection day dinner, of the Morristown Fire Department, this same Mr. George C. Smith, was the Toastmaster, and in that capacity he started many fires in a thoroughly scientific way, and to show his mastery, promptly put every one of them out by the use of his own method. He carried, according to his wont, a grid-iron run by electric power, heated it red hot, and to the great joy of the diners, roasted to a turn every speaker he introduced, which latter gentlemen, strange to relate, showed no ill effects of the incinerating process. His exhibition was a brilliant exposition of the frightfulness of burning and of the curative power of the salve of manner.
You will observe that in his reply to unfortunate but guileless “Edward,” he yields again to his habit of roasting the entire Morristown Fire Dept., and turns them and Edward loose without a scar. Wizardry, Gentlemen, Wizardry, that’s it! Ehue jam satis est! which being translated, means “’nuff said.”