Thursday, July 28, 2011


That the Probie was not a rocket scientist was apparent. Like all, he had to go through an initiation—hazing some would call it. Unlike most, he fell for everything they threw at him.

The water fountain was a case in point. A standard brown industrial model with a silver curved outlet and drain in the center of the bowl; identical to the type the kid had to have seen hundreds of times before in elementary school. The three guys working him over weren’t much past him chronologically. They were ages older experience wise, however.

“Don’t you know one of your jobs is to make sure this water fountain is full,” one of them told him.

“Jesus, you don’t want it to run dry,” said the second.

Unaware, the Captain walked out of his office and dumped the remnants of ice and water from a cup into the drain and turned back.

“Holy shit, you don’t want the Captain having to fill the thing for you do you?” said the third. The Captain pretended to hear nothing and with a slight shake of his head, returned to the stacks of paper work in his office, having seen this, or similar routines hundreds of times before.

From the look on the rookies face the three knew they had him hooked and proceeded to other tasks while watching the kid out of the corner of their eyes. Probie found the largest pot he could in the kitchen and proceeded to fill it with about five gallons of water. Lugging it over, he tipped the awkward vessel up to fill what he was convinced was the fountain reservoir. The drain, not sized to take more than the small stream from the quarter inch outlet, immediately overflowed, soaking the kid and the surrounding floor. The Captain walked out of his office, surveyed the wet floor and Probie, shook his head again, and returned to his office. The laughter from the three “older” firefighters was loud, but another lesson was learned, and tradition passed on.

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