Let me start this week's visit with you by making an admission of guilt. Many times during my life I have been, or acted like, a "dumb-ass". I can think of a number of times when I acted like a boob or a lout. Then there were the times when I missed opportunities that were seemingly dropped on my doorstep.
Heck, if there were a "dumb-ass anonymous" I might be forced to sign up and take the cure. At least this was among the thoughts which crossed my mind as I passed the Philadelphia campus of the University of Pennsylvania the other day. I was on my way to a meeting in Washington, DC, and availed myself of the hospitality of the fine folks on the Amtrak Acela service between Metropark in New Jersey and Union Station in Washington.
As our train was passing Franklin Field, the home of Penn Football, my mind drifted back to those days forty years ago when I practiced and played in the area near the stadium (Heck, I even played one game at Franklin Field). I was an Ivy Leaguer playing in a league which was well over my head. It caught up with me though when I assumed the role of fraternity boy (read that "real dumb-ass").
After achieving a stellar 0.8 grade average, I was asked to take a year off to assess my role in the Ivy League. Needless to say, I never returned to the hallowed halls of ivy in Philadelphia (unless you count going to the homecoming football games with my wife who is a Penn graduate). Dumb ass is about the only printable language from the words and thoughts shared with me by my parents at that time which I can share with you now.
Is being a "dumb-ass" an irreversible condition? No, I do no think so. My life has played out well in the decades since I left Penn. However, I recognized the error of my ways and put my mind to work overcoming my problems. I did not drift aimlessly though the hallowed halls of "dumb-ass land". Further, if you lose focus, it is easy to fall into the trap of being a "dumb-ass".
There are those in the fire service who seemingly suffer from what a dear friend of mine calls rectal-cranial inversion. These people seem to mimic the ostrich in that they have their heads deeply buried in a place away from the general world. Only their hiding place has no sand. Let me leave it at that.
There is a medical procedure that may offer some help for these poor, misguided souls. In this procedure, their stomachs are opened, their intestines are moved aside, and a Lexan glass window is surgically installed. In this way they are once again afforded the opportunity to see what is going on in the world around them.
Let us now move on to this week's topic. It involves a recent series of instances wherein fire chiefs have shown themselves to be world class maroons. In each case, their ability to think, if it in fact exists, is flawed indeed. Since there are in fact three instances of this sort of loony behavior, I have awarded these people the win, place, and show positions in my newly-created weekly “dumb-ass” horse’s patoot race.
In the world of horse racing, the tri-fecta is a difficult bet which many players would like to win. In this wager, the person placing the bet must pick the horses (or dogs) which run in the first, second, and third positions in a given race. This is not an easy bet to make nor is it easy to win. The odds against success run very high indeed. That is why the payoff is better.
Guess what my friends? During the past week I believe that I hit the "Dumb-Ass Trifecta." I managed to see, hear, or read about three instances where members of our dear, sweet fire service managed to make themselves look like really bad people.
If they were not actually bad people, then at the very least each of them ended up looking really bad. Heck, I would not write about them were this not so. Since these folks have already done the job of embarrassing themselves in public, I shall leave it to you to track down their names.