Like all good parents, Voice of Society Man must occasionally look after those who need his help when their parents are not around. One young man at the fire academy in upstate NY brought out the softer side of my alter ego.
I recently completed a grueling course called Fire Fighter 1, consisting of about 120 hours of training and classes crammed into just over 10 days. Most of the 35 other students were considerably younger than me; in fact, several were still under voting age, and a good number could not legally purchase a drink. I have three children and years of teaching experience under my belt, so in some ways it was natural that I would take on a paternal role with them.
As we prepared to enter our first 'live fire,' I overheard an EMT announce the blood pressure of a young cadet; it was 148-over-110. I'm not much of a medical man, but I knew that this was terribly high. The cadet had the build of a mailbox mated with a sumo wrestler. I sensed that Voice of Soviety Man was nearby.
At lunch the next day, I approached Little Sumo and said that I'd noticed his high blood pressure. We chatted amiably about his health, and I suggested that he perhaps forgo the 240 calories (220 derived from fat) of the ranch dressing packet on his tray. He was reluctant to try a lemon-juice substitute. Suddenly Voice of Society Man spoke up: "OK, maybe you can use just half the packet." Little Sumo agreed. I noticed that during the last two days of our course, Little Sumo only took one dessert and minimized his use of dressings.
- ▼ 2007 (28)