Unpractical Jokes

Firefighters have a penchant for practical jokes. During my time with the department I have witnessed some pretty ingenious pranks. The best seemed to be directed at our bosses. I can recall a guy we called Captain Grouchy who was the boss of  the Engine.  The Captain slept in a private room in the dormitory. He had a urinary problem so he had to get up numerous times    during the night to go to the bathroom. To eliminate the long walk to the rest room he kept a large coffee can under his bed which he would empty in the morning. At least once a year one of the guys would sneak into the Captain’s room and punch a few pin holes in the bottom of the coffee can. Our darkened dormitory would rumble with laughs and guffaws when we heard Captain Grouchy shouting and swearing when he used his leaking pee can.

We had another boss who was paying big bucks to have hair transplants to stem his impending baldness. He was a vain guy who would ask the guys what they thought about his new hair. “Looks pretty good Lieutenant but I was in your office this afternoon and saw hair on your pillow,” one of the men replied. Of course the crew had a stash of hair retrieved from a local barber shop that they periodically planted in the Lieutenants bed. It would drive him bonkers. He would rant and rave about how much money he was paying for the hair job only to have the new hair fall out at work.

There was a Sergeant Fritz who ran at Ladder 8 who smoked a pipe. He was a fun guy and a great boss. He bought the cheapest tobacco he could find. When he fired up his pipe the guys would start coughing and holding their noses. The Sergeant would just smile and keep puffing away. For fun his Firefighters started grinding up old rubber bands and would secretly add them to Fritz’s tobacco can. It took several weeks as the guys increased the ratio of rubber to tobacco in Sergeant Fritz’s smoking supplies. The smoke turned from a pale blue to dark black and even the company dog would leave the room when Fritz fired up his pipe. Finally the day came when he started to complain. He was almost smoking pure rubber before he found out what was going on.

A lot of the jokes bordered on bizarre. We had an engineer who used to like to work on cars. He was always out back in the parking lot with his head under the hood of a vehicle. The guys would wait until he got on a rolling dolly and slid underneath a car he was working on. A man would make a lot of noise walking outside and stopping next to where the engineer was working and with exaggerated noise unzip his fly and dump a bottle of yellow water on the ground. The jokester always escaped before the engineer could get out from under the car.

Those were fun days and the jokes were endless and devious. One night Squad 4 caught the crew of our Engine company sitting on chairs in front of the Engine house enjoying a summer evening. Squad 4s rig pulled up, the back door opened, and out comes the crew with buckets of water which doused everyone within dousing distance. It was several weeks later when we got our revenge. We were cruising the district when we spotted Squad 4 sitting on chairs in front of their quarters. We slowly came down the street and caught them unaware. We trained our monitor gun on our victims and emptied the water tank on them. The high pressure cannon rolled up the men, the company dog, the coffee cups and chairs and blew them into the open door of their quarters. The revenge was sweet.

I am sure many of you Firefighters have wild tales of the unpractical jokes that occur in your departments. I am also sure that when the alert comes in for a run a deadly seriousness kicks in and everyone is ready for action. It is part of the Fire Service. I loved being a Firefighter.

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