Well, ermagerd. This is my 11th holiday season as an emergency dispatcher.
Someone asked me recently how I like dispatching during the holidays. It’s not bad. There’s usually plenty of junk to eat, lots of “we’re all in the same boat” camaraderie, and at least I know I’m missing out on family time for something essential. (Ringing up flat-screen TVs and sparkly reindeer sweaters would be considered non-essential in my book. Target employees, you have my deepest sympathies.)
So, to ring in the silly season, here is a list of ten THE HOLIDAY CALLS!!
(Consider this an early stocking stuffer, and please keep your turkey basters where we can see them. Because …)
10. One year some guy called us with a turkey baster stuck in his … I mean where the sun doesn’t … anyway, GROSS. Next year, put that guy in charge of the green beans instead.
9. We get all manner of Black Friday mayhem: Man assaulted by the 10-dollar rice cookers. Code 3 for a woman in seizure at Toys R Us. Black Friday brings the hurt, people. That’s why you’ll never find me shopping the day after Thanksgiving. I don’t ever want to collapse from a stress-induced cardiac event while clutching a Blue Ray player. It’s just not dignified.
8. Every year, lots and lots of people think about suicide. There are so many very not-merry people this time of year. Thankfully, most people just talk about it, which is fine with us. Please call! Operators are standing by. We are happy to talk to you about why the holidays suck for as long as you need.
7. Three years ago, I got my very first “stork award” for delivering a baby on New Year’s Eve. I was missing a great New Year’s party due to work, and was really annoyed. But then this lovely couple in Minneapolis was nice enough to go into labor during my shift and totally push the little guy out while on the phone WITH ME! It was incredibly thoughtful, and better than any party. Happy holidays, dear family, wherever you are.
6. Crashes, crashes, and more crashes. Slick roads plus preoccupied drivers plus more cars equals twenty people on their cell phones calling in about the same accident. Fa la la la la …
5. Lights and sirens to the mall for a Santa Claus with chest pain. Ho … ho … hopefully just indigestion from all those ankle-biters poking at his bowl-full-of-jelly.
4. Snowmobiles. As far as I can tell, snowmobiles just exist so that motorcyclists will have opportunities to suffer major trauma year-round. Seriously. These things are just death-carts with fun paint-jobs and bright headlights so they can be found easily at the bottom of a lake. And, yes. I’m this much fun ALL THE TIME.
3. Along those lines: Cars on thin ice. Actually — don’t drive cars on ANY ice. And super pretty-please don’t call 911 and ask if it’s safe for you to drive your car on Blah Blah Lake. I will tell you it’s a bad idea. Always. As if I want to be the one you blame when your brand new Tahoe goes through the ice (pulling your snowmobile). COME ON!
“I’m about to punch this guy in the face.”
“Okay … I would like you not to do that.”
“See, we’ve had some eggnog, and he insulted my girlfriend, and he needs to leave before I lose my frickin’ holiday cheer.”
*Sounds of scuffling*
“Where is he now?”
“Right the &%$ here. Have a Coke and a smile, mother$%&er!”
“Okay, I’ll send someone to talk to him. Hello? Sir?”
“I punched him.”
“Pretty sure I asked you not to.”
“The officers are on the way.”
“Okay. Merry Christmas.”
“And to you, sir.”
1. This is not a “call,” but it deserves to be number 1 anyway. Every year, one of our paramedics pretty much singlehandedly provides Thanksgiving dinner for the whole department — for all the medics, dispatchers, and anyone else stuck working. Turkey, taters, pie … she brings everything. She is a holiday goddess. She has class up the … well … refer back to number 10. Anyway, she’s awesome.
Note: Anyone wishing to be mentioned in my next blog is more than welcome to bring a festive holiday spread to my dispatch center on Christmas Day, where I will be for 12 hours of merry fun times. I’m thinking some lasagna. Maybe a nice cheesecake …
Have a safe and happy season, everyone! Peace and love.