After spending all summer together, fire crews tend to get, well, kind of moody. After all, we spend more time with these people during the season than with our real friends and families. Add in a dose of sleepiness, sprinkle with someone's cold germs and stir, and you get a grumpy crew.
Before my assistant fled to a detail on one of the districts, he sensed these times looming. After hearing some negativity, he declared that from now on Monday would be called "Positive Monday." On Positive Monday, everyone had to share something good about the previous week (this also spawned The Word of the Day and The Russian Word of the Day).
Positive Monday caught on, and after he left, other days of the week were named as well. There was Friendly Tuesday, and because we had so many visiting crews at our base, Hospitable Thursday. Fantastic Friday and Super Saturday soon followed. The uplifting theme wasn't always adhered to though: a Grumpy Sunday occurred, as well as a Blame It All On Jason Day.
However, having these names did cause people to stop and think before venting sometimes. J,. who sometimes had the reputation of being negative, would stop people in their tracks when he heard some whining. "Remember, it's Positive Monday," he would lecture. Disarmed by his unlikely positivity, the would-be complainer would usually start laughing and abandon their cause.
There were a few grumbles and hurt feelers this season, but no real meltdowns, and so far we still sort of like each other. It's a good thing, because our helicopter is staying on later than expected, and there are still fires burning in the wilderness. Smoke blew in this morning from somewhere to the west. But being that it's Optimistic Wednesday, all I can say is, bring it on, fires, we are ready for you.