Tuesday, September 15, 2009

pie in the sky

Someone told me at the beginning of my career that fire chiefs have to be politicians. . . suave, smooth, fast talkers that get their way by any means fair or foul. I didn't believe them then, and I'm not sure I do now, but I may be starting to waiver a little. My naive, pie-in-the-sky notions about always being nice and still getting the job done have systematically been blasted away, fragment by stubborn fragment, like clay pigeons thrown to the skeet shooters over the past 13 years. I'm still desperately grasping the last few crumbs of the pie and (even though none is left in the sky) trying to stuff what's left in my pockets and up my sleeves. As bad as it gets, I am obstinate enough to believe there will always be reasonable people in the world that will do what's necessary if I just ask them nicely enough. Yeah it's naive alright . . . but I'm hanging on to my pie.

The word "politician" has so many negative connotations, and I’ve had such fun bashing them over the years, I just can’t wrap my mind around identifying with that race of humanity. Perhaps the word "diplomat" is more palatable than politician. Real-world diplomats probably do their share of bureaucratic cloak and dagger stuff, but at least I envision them to be a cut above the average politician. In my imaginary, fairy-tale world, I see the Chief Fire Diplomat (that's me) blessing the community with inspirational visits (called inspections) in which I persuade skeptics and convert fire safety atheists (building owners), who gratefully use my wisdom and advice to make the world a safer place. "If only we had known, we would have done this long ago . . ."

I could start my own pie-in-the-sky restaurant.

In spite of my lofty aspirations, I'm not always a good diplomat either. Face it Beebewitz, it’s inevitable: a small percentage of the population will hate the fire chief. In fact, I think there is a Chinese proverb that says, "He who no one hates, doeth not his job." (I made that up, but it sounds like something Confucius would have said).

Click here for an article I wrote about customer service. Yes, it’s relevant to the topic . . . I wrote about blowing my top at a salesperson, and told a story about someone blowing their top at me. "He that maketh not fun of his neighbour (and himself) taketh life too seriously." Another non-Chinese proverb.

Click here for a cool video clip of a guitar duet like you’ve probably never seen before. No, it’s not relevant to the topic, but it’s a lot of fun to watch.

For any Obama fans out there, here is your big chance to get chummy with America’s top dog. You can live right next to him. Now I’m way off topic. Oh well.

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