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  • 08/11/2004
  • WildlandFire.com Team
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Jess-

Dahling, I work for a mining company…can you imagine some of the public meetings I’ve sat through? I’ve literally been called the Antichrist to my face…by a guy whose wife I helped cut out of a wrecked car, and whose niece I helped find one dark late night up in the forest. I’ve been called worse names by a gal I rigged the rope-and stretcher rig for when she ran her car off a 75 ft cliff. What I’ve learned is that people have a tremendous capability for selective memory, selective hearing, and self-reinforcing delusions of moral superiority. My community almost burned in ’97, and here a mere seven years later, with 75-80% beetle kill encroaching, they’re fighting thinning tooth and nail, and we can’t fire department donations for anything. After every high-profile incident, we get signs, we get a plaque from local government, they cut our funding a little bit more, business owners decide that they shouldn’t contribute to us because we handled the last one fine, right? People aren’t normally the most grateful of creatures, and they’ve got short memories. If you start taking it personally, you’re asking for burnout. That’s why I try to ignore the signs, ignore the grocery-store thank-yous (after an appropriate ‘your welcome’). I’m not in this for the dubious ‘glory’, the cool sweatshirts, or the exercise. The fact that the gal I mentioned above was alive to swear at me is the satisfaction I want. Made it pretty easy to just smile in her face, which really made her mad. I’m pretty sure she didn’t recognize me…but one “Are you an angel?” probably cancels out one “You bleepity-bleeping-bleep”, so I figure my karma’s intact.

Nerd on the Fireline

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