Johnny America


Lessons Learned From the Film Lad­der 49


  1. If you’re a rook­ie, the guys at the fire­house are gonna razz you. They might put a goose in your lock­er, they might stage a fake con­fes­sion on your first day, to find out your dirty se­crets — who knows! It’s okay, though, they’re just teasin’.
  2. Those wacky guys! Some­times, when they’re try­ing to razz you, you can beat them at their own game by light­ing a news­pa­per on fire and slip­ping it un­der the toi­let stall door, or pre­tend­ing you’re gay. Oh man, hint that you’re queer and they’ll get all, “what, what? How was I sup­posed to know he was gay, I did­n’t think our lit­tle pho­ny con­fes­sion trick would out the rook­ie!” Then, you let out that you’re in on their ruse, that you’re not gay, and they’ll be like “oh, you, you got us.” It’s awe­some when you counter-razz the guys.
  3. Chicks re­al­ly dig dan­ger and brav­ery, and that works out well if you’re a fire­man, be­cause it’s pret­ty much the most self­less and Good-with-a-cap­i­tal‑G pro­fes­sion there is.
  4. Not all fire­men are Irish, or Catholic, but most are. There are al­so black fire­men, and they’re just as brave. Fire­men are all broth­ers, but not in quite the same way all black men are broth­ers. Black peo­ple use ‘broth­er’ or ‘sis­ter’ to ex­press a racial sol­i­dar­i­ty, fire­men say it to con­vey, “I’d run un­der eight sto­ries of burn­ing steel to save you, and you’d do the same for me. I love you, man.” It’s touching.
  5. If you’re in a dan­ger­ous pro­fes­sion, you should­n’t keep telling your hot wife that you’re wor­ried about her wor­ry­ing. Women are stronger than men can pos­si­bly imag­ine, and you’re not go­ing to get near­ly as much ac­tion if your girl thinks you’re pro­ject­ing your in­se­cu­ri­ties on­to her. And who does­n’t like hot action?
  6. When a fire­man dies, it’s okay, be­cause the fire de­part­ment goes on. If you’re a griev­ing moth­er or sis­ter or wife of a man who lost his life in the line of du­ty, this will re­as­sure you. If you’re a lit­tle more jad­ed, you’ll feel dis­turbed by the di­rec­tors try­ing to pull at your 911 heart­strings. You’ll won­der, is it re­al­ly ok that our boys are dy­ing, just be­cause the army march­es on?
  7. Watch out for those guys, if you’re a rook­ie: they’ll razz you!

Filed under Films on October 18th, 2004

Care to Share?

Reader Comments

bryant wrote:

Those crazy guys!!

cloie wrote:

Shame on you for your be­lit­tling and dis­re­spect­ful re­view of this movie. Is your per­cep­tion of our ven­er­a­ble in­sti­tu­tion such a joke that you have to smite the com­raderie be­tween loy­al brethren? I’m talk­ing about fire­fight­ers. Men so big and brave they’d kick your ass then drag it out of a burn­ing in­fer­no. It’s such an un­thank­ful du­ty. Okay, so there is a lot of “razz­ing” go­ing on, but they’re just a bunch of guys, you know? It’s a job that re­al­ly gets to you. My hus­band lost his best friend of 35 years to a flam­ing chag in Harlem. A chag is a piece of molten steel burned through in an apart­ment build­ing. Tom­my went through two and a half years of treat­ment for se­vere de­pres­sion. Last fall he burned him­self alive with a book of match­es. I hate fire and don’t un­der­stand how you or any­one else could poke fun at these guys just over a lit­tle “razz­ing”. Put your hand over a burn­ing chag and see how it feels. That’s enough.
Cloie Lam­bert C.F.C.C.A.

Jane wrote:

There are hys­ter­ics to fak­ing a post by some over­ly con­cerned house­wife, but it’s just not work­ing here.

Consider posting a note of comment on this item:


Previous Post


Next Post


Join our Irregular Mailing List

For very occasional ramblings, word about new print ephemera, and of course exciting investment opportunities.