Old Sayings Retirement Home No. 19

Goodbye Yogi. Hello ee cummings.

I chose the above cummings quote because I tend to agree with the statement. Hearing, seeing or doing something funny are perhaps among the most profound experiences human beings have. Even people and situations which aren’t funny can make one laugh.

Having worked as both a firefighter and a crime reporter, I’ve heard and laughed at all manners of inappropriate jokes and comments made under less than cheerful circumstances. No one would want to see emergency personnel yucking it up at a fatal car wreck or bad fire. But jokes do pass through the lips of EMTs, firefighters, cops and even reporters at what might be a tragic scene. This gallows humor is a coping mechanism that may not seem quite right to an outsider (and definitely not to a victim or their family) but sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying. Of course, situations also exist where you may find yourself both laughing and crying.

One of my nieces is a volunteer firefighter in East Texas. She sent me this hilarious e-mail the other day which was a faux memorandum about how first responders should can the creativity when writing up their incident reports. For instance:

“Trauma patients are not FDGB (fall down, go boom), TBC (total body crunch) or “Hamburger Helper.” Similarly, descriptions of a car crash should not have include phrases like “negative vehicle-to-vehicle interface” or “terminal deceleration syndrome.”

“Hazmat teams are highly trained professionals, not “glow worms” or “little green men.” Police officers are not “guntoters” or “holster huggers.” Also, police officers injured at Hazmat scenes are victims or patients NOT “Copological Indicators” or “Blue Canaries.”

“Persons with altered mental states as a result of drug use are not considered “pharmaceutically gifted.” Gunshot wounds to the head are not “trans-occipital implants” or “negative bullet to head interface.”

“And finally, do not refer to recently deceased persons as being “paws up,” ART (assuming room temperature), CC (Cancel Christmas), DRT (Dead Right There), CTD (circling the drain), or NLPR (no long playing records).”

Yes, it’s rather sick humor but it’s humor and sometimes you just have to laugh.

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