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    Default Officer Candidate School

    Does anybody out there do a Officer Candidate School for your up and coming Officers in the Department? Looking to put something into service at our Department. Any suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FM78 View Post
    Does anybody out there do a Officer Candidate School for your up and coming Officers in the Department? Looking to put something into service at our Department. Any suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated.
    Fire officer I, Fire Officer II, NIMS 300/400, NFA PICO series.

    Basically we use those standard classes as our officer preparation training.

    Why reinvent the wheel?
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Fire officer I, Fire Officer II, NIMS 300/400, NFA PICO series.

    Basically we use those standard classes as our officer preparation training.

    Why reinvent the wheel?
    Seriously, do you ever read the stuff you post, or think about it? Because I highlighted a portion of what you posted here and the absolute hypocrisy of it should be hitting you upside the head like a shovel.

    "Why reinvent the wheel" indeed. You have no problem accepting standard state and national classes with no modification for training your officers, but refuse to accept either state or national established curriculums for training your firefighters.

    I have tried to avoid the pile on LA thing lately but this smply can't go unquestioned. How do you explain the use of standardized officer training when surely they must cover things that don't apply to your little corner of the world?
    Last edited by FyredUp; 05-19-2011 at 10:10 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Seriously, do you ever read the stuff you post, or think about it? Because I highlighted a portion of what you posted here and the absolute hypocrisy of it should be hitting you upside the head like a shovel.

    "Why reinvent the wheel" indeed. You have no problem accepting standard state and national classes with no modification for training your officers, but refuse to accept either state or national established curriculums for training your firefighters.

    I have tried to avoid the pile on LA thing lately but this smply can't go unquestioned. How do you explain the use of standardized officer training when surely they must cover things that don't apply to your little corner of the world?
    In a perfect world, we would do our own officer training, but the issue is time, and we simply do not have the time to deliver the training on our own, so we do use the resources of LSU FETI. As far as our little corner of the world, we district/department specific officer training at each monthly officer meeting, but the majority of it does come from those canned programs. In addition, we do receive extra credit on the rating for those that choose to take, and pass, the certification tests.

    As far as FFI/FFII, it has been discussed before. We use the content that is applicable to our operations, with some local modification. We do not spend time teaching our personnel skills that are not applicable to our operations. If they choose to take FFI/FFII, we pay for the class or we teach it in-house, we pay for the testing and we reward them with both a lump sum payment upon the passing of the test and a certification incentive if they work part-time on day or relief shifts.

    So where is hypocrocrisy? We teach FFI/FFII or pay for it. We pay for the testing. We reward it. We even require it for promotion. We simply do not beleive that a general knowledge class that doesn't even cover our most common fire and extraction responses in great detail is essential for entry-level firefighters.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 05-19-2011 at 10:39 AM.
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    FO1 provides you with a good base to start from but unfortunately for many depts that is as far as the initial training goes. The problem with having an "Officer Candidate" class is that it, unless it is put on by your dept, I see nothing else that hasn't already been covered in FO1. Your dept is going to do things differently than mine is and a "blanket" class isn't going to help. In order to have a class that will really prepare you to be an officer in YOUR dept, it has to reflect YOUR dept.

    We just had an officer candidate class for those of us who took the last Lt's exam and it really only scratched the surface. Remember that decision making on a calls is only a small part of the fire officer's job. Some things that a officer candidate class should teach you are your dept's SOG's and TSOG's, how to report/document injuries, accidents, damaged/missing equipment, fill out NIFRS reports PROPERLY, discipline/recognition and any other daily tasks your dept requires of an officer. Topics like smoke reading and advanced tactics are also beneficial in this setting because you should already understand the basic concepts.
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    The problem my FD saw with the FOI programs is that it really depends on who instructs the different sections of the class. Having any fire officer with an instructor certificate conduct the class holds little validity. Short of some of the larger FD's I'd question the instructors competence in schooling candidates on legal issues, EEO, HR stuff, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    In a perfect world, we would do our own officer training, but the issue is time, and we simply do not have the time to deliver the training on our own, so we do use the resources of LSU FETI. As far as our little corner of the world, we district/department specific officer training at each monthly officer meeting, but the majority of it does come from those canned programs. In addition, we do receive extra credit on the rating for those that choose to take, and pass, the certification tests.

    As far as FFI/FFII, it has been discussed before. We use the content that is applicable to our operations, with some local modification. We do not spend time teaching our personnel skills that are not applicable to our operations. If they choose to take FFI/FFII, we pay for the class or we teach it in-house, we pay for the testing and we reward them with both a lump sum payment upon the passing of the test and a certification incentive if they work part-time on day or relief shifts.

    So where is hypocrocrisy? We teach FFI/FFII or pay for it. We pay for the testing. We reward it. We even require it for promotion. We simply do not beleive that a general knowledge class that doesn't even cover our most common fire and extraction responses in great detail is essential for entry-level firefighters.
    Why require something for promotion that you believe has limited value? That just seems stupid to me. Your officer candidates need that broad spectrum training in order to be promoted, yet it has no value, in your eyes, for everyone else? That right there is hypocrisy. If it has no value to your line firefighters why require it for your officers?

    By the way, the word is extrication, not extraction. Well, unless you are doing rescue of down pilots in a combat zone.
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    I have always believed that the crucial element missing in officer training is mentoring. Giving those interested in becoming an officer an experienced officer, that is also a good instructor, to pass on the nuances of the job.

    My career FD does a great job with that on people that want to become mpo's. While you are getting qualified on the rigs they will take you through the rig bit by bit and teach you the specific idiosyncasies of that rig and how to best utilize it. To be an officer you take the test and if you pass you make the list, if your position on the list comes up you get a job. There are some additional educational things like FO1 that can better your odds of getting promoted and if you ask officers they are glad to help you, but there is no official mentoring program.

    I also agree with those that said the emergency scene is only a part of the job, those other things, inspections, training, and keeping a peaceful as possible crew are also important.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Why require something for promotion that you believe has limited value? That just seems stupid to me. Your officer candidates need that broad spectrum training in order to be promoted, yet it has no value, in your eyes, for everyone else? That right there is hypocrisy. If it has no value to your line firefighters why require it for your officers?

    By the way, the word is extrication, not extraction. Well, unless you are doing rescue of down pilots in a combat zone.
    A large part of the reason that we require FF1 for promotion, as I have explained several times, is that LSU Fire Training requires it for many advanced classes, and it's required if we want to make that member available for deployment. And yes, it is rating points as well.

    Many of our firefighters either are already FFI certified when they join as they are FT at either a combo or career department, or test FFI as they are looking to go FT and want it on their resume.

    As far as broad spectrum training, our basic training actually is far broader than FFI as our basic checksheet includes FFII elements such as extrication, firefighter rescue and foam operations, as well as a far more detailed requirements regarding brush fire and tanker operations than FFI.

    If the FFI cirriculum meet our needs, we would use it, but it simply doesn't. Our call volume demands greater brush fire skills than FFI, and yes, foam operations and basic vehicle extrication are entry level skills that need to be taught very early in a new member's training. Alarms, sprinklers and some other stuff simply doesn't. Sorry if that makes you panties get into a bunch.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 05-19-2011 at 03:16 PM.
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    Fyredup, I like the way you think! That's what I was looking for. In our Department we require all of the usual stuff but anybody with good sense can pass those classes. The problem we have is officer candidates drawing their own conclusion on how things should be done. I look at it as freelancing in admin instead of on the fire ground. Were looking for new ways to get into the new generations heads and make them think and lead!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    A large part of the reason that we require FF1 for promotion, as I have explained several times, is that LSU Fire Training requires it for many advanced classes, and it's required if we want to make that member available for deployment. And yes, it is rating points as well.

    Many of our firefighters either are already FFI certified when they join as they are FT at either a combo or career department, or test FFI as they are looking to go FT and want it on their resume.

    As far as broad spectrum training, our basic training actually is far broader than FFI as our basic checksheet includes FFII elements such as extrication, firefighter rescue and foam operations, as well as a far more detailed requirements regarding brush fire and tanker operations than FFI.

    If the FFI cirriculum meet our needs, we would use it, but it simply doesn't. Our call volume demands greater brush fire skills than FFI, and yes, foam operations and basic vehicle extrication are entry level skills that need to be taught very early in a new member's training. Alarms, sprinklers and some other stuff simply doesn't. Sorry if that makes you panties get into a bunch.
    WOW! LA, panties into a bunch? By you? Not a chance, I am used to you dancing around and making nonsensical responses to direct questions. The funniest part is eventually YOU will contradict yourself.

    If I was one of your firefighters, and after having been taught bits and pieces of FF1 through you inhouse training, was told in order to go for promotion I had to take FF1 I would be hugely aguitated that YOU wasted my time when I could have taken FF1 and had your inhouse training fill in those extras that you feel are valuable. Because in the end that is what is happening anyways.

    To me one of the greatest reasons we lose volunteers/POC firefighters is they hate having their time wasted. They have lives and families and jobs and leisure activities that they enjoy besides spending time at the volly fire house. So why make them do those FF1 skills twice to get promoted?
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    I have always believed that the crucial element missing in officer training is mentoring. Giving those interested in becoming an officer an experienced officer, that is also a good instructor, to pass on the nuances of the job.
    Mentoring would probably be the best way for prospective officers to pick up traits and experiences of established leaders. It's also very tough to set up, and I've never seen it established formally in an organized fashion. I've seen many prospective officers serving as 'actors' under very good officers who themselves have gone on to become good officers. I've also seen the opposite. This is more a nature of where they were assigned (Platoon, shift, duty crew, drill night..whatever). The attitude and abilities of the officer are reflected in the crew. (aka. It's that simple).

    Setting up a formal mentoring program for officers is much harder then for Drivers/FF's. For one there are a lot more 'ilities that are harder to learn.. learning how to keep crew morale high, or how and when to handle discipline are a whole different animal than friction loss, apparatus positioning, or nozzle techniques.

    The other facet is how do you actually set up such a system? How is somebody being mentored, but also in charge at the same time? What impact does that have on the crew? If the prospective is 'in charge' but has a mentor leaning over him what does that tell the crew? Similarly if the system is set up such that the prospective officer is assigned as an actor then technically the mentor is still in charge. Can the actor truly pick things up without the responsibility and control of being in charge?

    As I said, I've never seen a formal system work, but would love to know more about one if it exists. The best systems I've seen have been informal or peer-to-peer based. Unfortunately that's very dependent on the individuals and their departments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    WOW! LA, panties into a bunch? By you? Not a chance, I am used to you dancing around and making nonsensical responses to direct questions. The funniest part is eventually YOU will contradict yourself.

    If I was one of your firefighters, and after having been taught bits and pieces of FF1 through you inhouse training, was told in order to go for promotion I had to take FF1 I would be hugely aguitated that YOU wasted my time when I could have taken FF1 and had your inhouse training fill in those extras that you feel are valuable. Because in the end that is what is happening anyways.

    Those who complete the basic skills checklist will not take an entire FFI class. On occasion there is somebody who will but that is uncommon. Generally we will provide a few classes to those wishing to take FFI to polish up on the book stuff as well as the material our basic skills checklist didn't cover, then they will challenge the test. I know it will be hard for you to beleive but 90% pass on their first try and the remaining 10% get it on the second test.

    To me one of the greatest reasons we lose volunteers/POC firefighters is they hate having their time wasted. They have lives and families and jobs and leisure activities that they enjoy besides spending time at the volly fire house. So why make them do those FF1 skills twice to get promoted?
    Which is exactly why we teach them what they need to operate as firefighters in our district using our equipment during the basic skills checklist process. It takes probably 60% of the time required for FFI and it qualifies them to operate as a firefighter on our department. It qualifies them to begin driver training and apply for the Special Operations Team. For those that wish to be firefighters it teaches them what they need to know for our operations.

    If they wish to be promoted, they simply follow the procedure above and spend another 15 hours or so plus reading/study time and they are ready for FFI. They already have all the practical skills through the skills checklist.

    In the long run, our process is actually shorter than FFI.
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    Ya know, this thread would be about 14 posts shorter if folks didn't take LA to task for everything he writes. I swear he could post that the sky is blue, and someone would point out that he once said that the sky was green (right before the tornado struck), then belabor the point for the next five pages of the thread.

    Back on topic - We rely on state courses and the IS series, along with some OJT as truck captains/foremen. Like most small departments around here, there just aren't enough folks needing the training for any one department to run an OCS.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    Ya know, this thread would be about 14 posts shorter if folks didn't take LA to task for everything he writes. I swear he could post that the sky is blue, and someone would point out that he once said that the sky was green (right before the tornado struck), then belabor the point for the next five pages of the thread.

    Back on topic - We rely on state courses and the IS series, along with some OJT as truck captains/foremen. Like most small departments around here, there just aren't enough folks needing the training for any one department to run an OCS.
    Look, I did answer the OPs question and gave my ideas for prepping officers.

    Just explain to me how he can say that FF1 does not apply to their operations then justify that it is mandatory for promotion?
    Last edited by FyredUp; 05-20-2011 at 01:20 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM78 View Post
    Does anybody out there do a Officer Candidate School for your up and coming Officers in the Department? Looking to put something into service at our Department. Any suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated.
    We don't have a school, but we do have a taskbook based system to qualify our firefighters to become an acting company officer. The system has three phases that helps the firefighter develop the knowledge base, experience, interpersonal/leadership skills and the technical skills required to be a successful company officer. During the process, the firefighter's company officer and the training officer become the firefighter's mentors. This process not only determines if the firefighter has the requisite knowledge for the role, but also makes them prove on real incidents and in training scenarios.

    How well does it work... I developed the program so of course it works GREAT. In reality, it hasn't been completed by anyone yet because it is less than 4 months old. It has some critics, because we are actually making firefighters do something besides coming to work for a number of years to become a company officer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Look, I did answer the OPs question and gave my ideas for prepping officers.

    Just explain to me how he can say that FF1 does not apply to their operations then justify that it is mandatory for promotion?
    Nowhere did I say that FFI didn't apply to our operations. I did say that there are parts of FFI that do not apply to our operations, and that 25% or so we do not include in our introductory training. There are also parts of FFII that apply (foam, extrication) that we also include as basic entry level skills. We simply beleive that our entry-level training should be very job specific as compared to general knowledge so that they can be brought up to speed as quickly as possible. We feel it's more important to train to our operational needs as compared to the needs of a piece of paper at the entry level.

    Beyond that, we send members to as many certification classes as possible. I would put our cert levels against any combo department in the state.

    I have discussed why we require FFI for promotion.

    It's required by LSU for many advanced classes which officer-level personnel should take.

    General knowledge is important in senior firefighters and officers as they will both be making decisions about strategy and tactics and be conducting training. They will also be involved in the development of SOPs and purchasing equipment. In all of those areas general knowledge beyond our current operations is important. I never said that it wasn't.

    It's required by NIMS for deployment.

    And yes, rating credit.

    It really does make quite a bit of sense.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 05-20-2011 at 09:29 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    Ya know, this thread would be about 14 posts shorter if folks didn't take LA to task for everything he writes. I swear he could post that the sky is blue, and someone would point out that he once said that the sky was green (right before the tornado struck), then belabor the point for the next five pages of the thread.

    Back on topic - We rely on state courses and the IS series, along with some OJT as truck captains/foremen. Like most small departments around here, there just aren't enough folks needing the training for any one department to run an OCS.
    Not a big deal Tree. There are those who have a problem with me. So be it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    Ya know, this thread would be about 14 posts shorter if folks didn't take LA to task for everything he writes. I swear he could post that the sky is blue, and someone would point out that he once said that the sky was green (right before the tornado struck), then belabor the point for the next five pages of the thread.

    Back on topic - We rely on state courses and the IS series, along with some OJT as truck captains/foremen. Like most small departments around here, there just aren't enough folks needing the training for any one department to run an OCS.
    All of the threads on this forum would be a lot shorter if the guy from Bossier Parish didn't post at all....
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM78 View Post
    Does anybody out there do a Officer Candidate School for your up and coming Officers in the Department? Looking to put something into service at our Department. Any suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated.
    While this is not specific to OCS, I think it could still be helpful.

    As a fireman on a Rescue, with no aspirations of promotion, I still find it interesting to study different leadership styles. It's something I got interested in as an Infantryman in the Army. Why would I follow one guy to hell and back and not another?

    The best answer came to me more than a decade later in two separate books:

    In Extremis Leadership

    http://www.amazon.com/Extremis-Leade.../dp/0787996041

    and

    The Mission, the Men, and Me

    http://www.amazon.com/Mission-Men-Me...5899029&sr=1-1

    While they are both written in the context of the military, their basic tenants transfer over really well to the fire service. In recent years, and in my department in particular, I have seen a move away from "leadership" and more into "management". These books show why we still need real LEADERS.

    I think that either one of these books would be good required reading for your OCS candidates and even for current officers. Good luck with your program!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    All of the threads on this forum would be a lot shorter if the guy from Bossier Parish didn't post at all....
    Ya, but they would be far less informative, especially from a semi-rural and rural perspective.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Just explain to me how he can say that FF1 does not apply to their operations then justify that it is mandatory for promotion?
    Aside from the fact that, as he pointed out (and does, in virtually every thread where this garbage comes up), that isn't what he says, there are many things in life that we skip over until we actually need them. I've had a driver's license for over 40 years, but I still don't really know how to drive a semi, and definitely don't have a license to drive one.

    In NY we have a state fire course available which is little more than a forty hour orientation on fire service operations. We don't use the graduates for interior ops, but they can still assist on the fireground. Sometimes they take that course because they can't get into a FF1 class right away. But we're still able to make use of them in some capacity until they can get FF1 in.

    Ninety percent of this country is covered by Podunk Hollow fire departments with members in the low dozens and territory ranging from 30 to 100 square miles and more. We can't all be like the big city boys - but we're trying to be the best that we can. Sometimes that means some compromise - like focusing on the stuff we need vs the stuff a book says we should have.

    I recall corresponding with a fellow involved in starting a new FD in OK about 15 years ago. When they opened their doors, they didn't even own a structural pumper - their raison d'etre was the range fires the plagued them every year. Not much reason to focus on ladder work there, but plenty of reason to know and understand wildland firefighting techniques.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Ya, but they would be far less informative, especially from a semi-rural and rural perspective.
    Both of my POC FDs are VERY RURAL. Where I live covers a population of around 700, with 220 being in the county run nursing home. My second POC FD covers an in town population of around 800 and primarily farmland in 3 surrounding townships. So tell me about Bossier Parish? What's the population there? How much farmland? How RURAL is it really?

    I admit freely we have a different perspective on what RURAL firefighting is. You see it as a reason to make excuses for your inadequacies. We see it as a challenge that we overcome by using what some may consider radical outside the box thinking. Training is easy here because the state pays for Entry Level Firefighting 1&2, FF 1&2, Driver Operator, Officer, Inspector, and Instructor. Yes, I know we are far ahead of the curve in that. But YOU need to know that didn't happen overnight and it took a hell of a lot of lobbying and hard work to get it done. We have state standards for firefighter training and equipment by the adoption of some of the NFPA standards at a state level. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHETHER YOU ARE CAREER OR VOLUNTEER THEY ARE ACROSS THE BOARD.

    Rural perspective? Sure let's talk about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Ya, but they would be far less informative, especially from a semi-rural and rural perspective.
    There would be less


    and less
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    Aside from the fact that, as he pointed out (and does, in virtually every thread where this garbage comes up), that isn't what he says, there are many things in life that we skip over until we actually need them. I've had a driver's license for over 40 years, but I still don't really know how to drive a semi, and definitely don't have a license to drive one.

    Irrelevant, whether you can drive a semi or not will not possibly save your life at a fire. Some little tidbit that you and LA may see as superfluous may save someone's life.

    In NY we have a state fire course available which is little more than a forty hour orientation on fire service operations. We don't use the graduates for interior ops, but they can still assist on the fireground. Sometimes they take that course because they can't get into a FF1 class right away. But we're still able to make use of them in some capacity until they can get FF1 in.

    Why teach a course to new firefighters that doesn't make them entry capable? Seems like a waste of both time and money.

    Ninety percent of this country is covered by Podunk Hollow fire departments with members in the low dozens and territory ranging from 30 to 100 square miles and more. We can't all be like the big city boys - but we're trying to be the best that we can. Sometimes that means some compromise - like focusing on the stuff we need vs the stuff a book says we should have.

    Again, like LA,`you see RURAL as an excuse. Sorry we don't operate that way. Heck, both of my POC FDs are VERY rural, each run out of one station, and neither of us pretend to be big city.

    Wisconsin has minimum training standards that apply to ALL firefighters. I know many FDs that require FF1 as a minimum. I know many volunteers and POCs that are FF2, Certified Driver Operator, Certified Officer, Certified Instructor, and Certified Inspector. Excuses, and those that foster the thought that they are Podunk Hollow so less is expected of them, holds them back.


    I recall corresponding with a fellow involved in starting a new FD in OK about 15 years ago. When they opened their doors, they didn't even own a structural pumper - their raison d'etre was the range fires the plagued them every year. Not much reason to focus on ladder work there, but plenty of reason to know and understand wildland firefighting techniques.

    And your point is what? If they are saying they are a FIRE DEPARTMENT then they need to be a FIRE DEPARTMENT. If they are saying they are a wildland fire department and that is all they do, fine.
    I am sure I will be shelled for my opinion. But to hide behind we aren't "Big City Boys" so as not to have people expect much of you seems kind of sad to me.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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