– Mark E. Smith

“If you’ve got a hi-’n’-tite haircut,” I asked the youngest of the five firemens at the Woody’s launch of the new calendar, “does that make you a probie?” After repeating the question, he finally understood and admitted he was new. Joe 1, probie 0.

With only torsos and legs visible, muscular and/or tattooed guys in T-shirts and reflective pants sign calendars

“Is Keith Maidment here?” I asked him, pushing my luck. “Who?” “The only openly gay fireman. He’s an acting captain.” “Where?” he asked, meaning “Which station?” “I dunno.” Joe 1, probie 1. (Neither the tall blond overachiever nor his almost-as-tall Italianate overachiever husband was in attendance. I checked – thoroughly.)

The queue to have one’s calendar inscribed was oversubscribed by old guys and one middle-aged mom. The fellas onstage look less like firemen than second-string high-school football players who have been working on their bench press since they were 16. At least we’ve given up the conceit that firegrrlz should get one of the monthly photos. We signed up for fake soot and suspenders with no shirt, not a plain girl in a ponytail covered head to calf in a bathrobe as she sips wine by fireside.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2006.12.03 16:55. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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