Wednesday, June 18, 2014
The only time I ever get together with most of the guys I used to work with is at funerals. I hate going to these things, but it has to be done.
The most recent one was a guy who was a volunteer Firefighter when I was a full timer. These guys would only get paid when actually at a fire. Some of them were better than others. This volunteer was one of the solid guys. We weren't close but I liked and respected him.
Lung cancer claimed another. Cancers in general are high in the Fire Service. Of course it's almost impossible to prove that cancer was caused by working for years in a environment of hot toxic gases. After all, the guy might have had a cigarette once back in High School. I wish I was exaggerating. When I had to leave the job for lung issues they went to the trouble of pulling all my school records back to the first grade They wanted to see if I'd been a sick a lot as a child. They also sent private detectives to interview people to see if they ever saw me smoking.
Unlike so many of my brothers, I've so far escaped the Big C. Maybe I'm more genetically resistant than most. Maybe it's just dumb luck. These funeral get togethers bring home to me how many guys I used to work with are now gone.
After we paid our respects I hung around and talked with the guys. I told them I didn't want to put them through a funeral for me. I plan to outlive them all.