Saturday, January 12, 2013

how to be annoying on a fire crew

There is a lot that is irritating about fighting fire.  Getting up at 5 am, for example, and putting on frozen boots.  Generators running all night long.  Portapotties.  But what happens when the biggest annoyance is right next to you, wearing green pants and a yellow shirt?

Everyone has a capacity to be aggravating at times, but most people can rein it in.  However, if you are really determined, here are a few ways to be extra bothersome (Note: while this post is meant in fun, I have witnessed all of these, some multiple times):

1.  Know that you snore loud enough to scare zombies, but park your sleeping bag right next to everyone else's anyway. When confronted, say, "It's not my fault. Wear earplugs."

2.  Wander off. This is especially effective during stressful situations.  Attempt to have your name and "Where's...." in the same sentence as much as possible.  After everyone has been deployed to look for you, return. Get mad when chastised.  Say, "I'm a grown man and I don't have to tell somebody when I have to go to the bathroom!"

3.  Be conveniently busy when heavy things are being divided up to carry.  Don't say anything when you see your coworkers loaded down with 70 pounds of gear and you have less than 25.  Skip off down the trail and lie around at the trailhead, giving them a look of "what took you so long?" when they finally appear.

4.  Be a know-it-all.  No matter the subject, have first hand knowledge of it and don't hesitate to share.  Politics and your lack of belief in climate change are good places to start.

5.  About the fifth day, start whining.  Say, "I'd rather be back home than working 12 hour days." Sigh loudly when asked to do something.  Start calling your friends on other fires to see if you can get a better deal.

6.  Second-guess the crew boss.  This works especially well when it is your first fire.  Even better, go up to the incident commander and express your concerns, without mentioning them to your supervisor first.

7.  Get up early and make a lot of noise.  Rattle plastic bags and stomp around.  Unzip a few zippers. Trip over stuff.  When you wake people up, say "Good morning!" in a cheerful tone.  Look puzzled if they don't seem too happy.  If you can't muster up the energy to be a Rowdy Early Riser, try out its evil twin, the Late Night Loudmouth. 

8.  Be high maintenance.  Once stationed in the middle of nowhere, remember something you forgot to do: refill a prescription, send in a job application, call your parole officer.  Declare that you don't eat any processed foods, yet neglect to bring anything you can eat.  Conveniently forget to mention that you are allergic to dust, smoke, and weeds.  Run out of Copenhagen on the second day and make it everyone's problem.

9.  Embrace your inner laziness.  Take a few swipes with your pulaski, then stop.  Disappear into the bushes for an unauthorized nap while everyone else is working.  Volunteer for the jobs that require the most sitting.  Then complain the loudest if the crew isn't getting 16 hour days.

10.  Be disorganized.  Strew your belongings everywhere.  Forget stuff and have to go back to camp. Forget stuff and have to borrow other people's.  Lose things, especially those that cost a lot or don't belong to you.  Make everyone wait on you, every time.

There you have it.  I won't go into the truly advanced moves, such as the Drunken Town Fistfight or the Overnight Missing, Found to be in Jail Crewmember, quite yet.  After all, everyone needs something to work up to.


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