The Great Debaters


The 14th-century philosopher Jean Buridan told the story of a mule that starved to death trying to decide between two equidistant bales of hay. The bales of hay were equally desirable, so the mule could not decide which way to go…

This one is specifically for all my FF (and probably cop) buddies out there. Certainly for the FF’s though. There is a mindset around that action, accomplishment and accolades (in this instance meaning your reputation) are built around shitty coffee and every kind of table, old couch or other ghetto furniture you might bring into your station.

I’ve only been doing this for 10 years but I feel like that is enough time to have at least formed a small opinion and certainly enough time to observe a lot of chatter and the action that follows.

Senior FF’s, FAO’s (what my dept. calls drivers) Captains and even the not so senior ones all find time to jaw and debate from shift start to shift change. No doubt this is a time honored tradition that has seen our membership hashing out not just fire ground tactics but what the thought process was behind the chief, the unions or the sitting presidents latest agenda REALLY was. Oh and most importantly – “Is the SEC the single greatest sporting conference in the history of sports?”.

The one’s that get me are the debates and discussions about tactics and other work related action items. I am not the least bit opposed to discussing or even listening and being taught new knowledge on anything that is work related. When it get’s tough for me is when these guys/gals talk in absolutes or based upon prior experiences that must be universal and definitive. In addition to the banter that becomes exclusive of actual discussion or give and take it seems that most of these guys would rather sit in the front yard and hash it out while the next in company pulls a line off their rig and goes in and takes care of their business.

Point being, what are you doing today? You talking it out and running your mouth or are you doing work and getting something done? This job has more and more guys running scared and hiding behind activity as opposed to worrying about accomplishment, even if that means stumbling a few times while making something happen. Debate and discussion have their place in the halls of theory, higher education and places where policy is drafted. Where it does not have a place is where and when work needs to get done.

Bells go off and your mouth should go off. Get to work, put the red stuff on the wet stuff and impress people with what you get done not what you can talk about.

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