Why I'm Not A Fireman
by Ben Brandt

When I was but a teeny tiny lad, somewhere around 4 years of age, I had a best friend named Paul. He really loved the idea of being a fireman, and was one for Halloween a number of years in a row, I believe. In addition, he had a very sharp driveable toy fire engine that I always really liked. This fire engine even had little ladders that we used to use and a little bell and ... but I digress.

One rainy Oregon day he and I had a hankering to play with our assorted riding toys. However, since it was raining we were not allowed off of his front porch. The house was a bungalow, so the front porch was sizeable. Actually, it was not only sizeable, it was also quite high off the ground. If my memory serves me, it was at LEAST 8 steps up from the sidewalk, and possibly a few more. When I was 4, it was quite a great distance, to be sure.

So, as we put out fires and uh, did whatever firemen do, (knowing us, it probably involved guns of some sort or another) we quickly lost track of our exact location on that porch. Consequently, my clever backing-up maneuver that should have led to a great position from which to do something anti-fire-related instead led to a terribly long tumble in a toy fire engine down to a rather unforgiving sidewalk.

Now, I don't really know how it happened, but I somehow came out of the tumble with quit a bit of blood flowing from a fairly nasty gash in the pudgy part of the palm of my left hand. It required a few stitches, and we had our porch-driving privileges revoked for the rest of our childhoods.

I can only assume that the gash was much worse than I recall, considering I still have the scar. I've never had anyone ask about it, and when I've pointed it out, some have claimed that they cannot even see it, but it's there by golly, it's there!

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