When I was a kid, I would see a fireman and instantly see a person of authority and respect. Not being raised in a fire service family, that respect came from their uniform and job - not to mention that BIG red truck! As a matter of fact, when I was four, our home burned one winter evening and I remember a fireman coming over to console my parents and even tie my shoe so my mother wouldn't have to take the blanket off her shoulders (talk about service!). Later, while driving as a teen, I would slow down when confronting a chief's car because I just knew they could somehow give me a speeding ticket. Firemen were an authority figure to be respected and obeyed.
Twenty five years later, sixteen of which in the fire service, I see a much different and malevolent attitude in society. We have somehow become a tax burden, a target for ill-will and a symbol of animosity. Even our calling card, the BIG red truck, has become a road-way nuisance!
The idea for this cartoon came while driving back to the firehouse from a recent MVA. The patients were surly and uncooperative, traffic was unyielding, by-standers were disrespectful, and worse yet, my brothers on the Engine saw this as typical public behavior. Irreverence has become the norm! So, the metaphor of the dog biting the hand that feeds was an easy association, and one that I think fits the public's attitude and perception perfectly.
I don't need public adoration and hugs to feel important, but a little respect and cooperation would be very welcome. In the end, I would still take time to tie a child's shoe, I just hope I don't get kicked in the face while doing it!
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