Wednesday, January 6, 2010

the mental oriental

There is a guy on our department named the Mental Oriental. I'm not sure what came first, the chicken or the egg: I don't know if he got the name because of his crazy antics or he was given the name and decided to live up to it. It's fitting..... he's Chinese and well, he's a bit nuts. To 'welcome' a new rookie, he would dive into the bunk naked as a jay bird right next to the petrified newbie. Or he will kiss him full on the lips to say hello. I don't know which would be worse. Most guys, if they are smart, will grin and bear it. Once the initation is over, it's over. But if you squirm and show the least bit of apprehension he will find more creative ways to hound you till you give. He will hide out inside a locker or behind a door for hours only to jump out and scare the snot out of an unsuspecting colleague. He goes down the firepole headfirst like a Shaolin monk. He has doctored lottery tickets to make you think that you're a millionaire. If you can put up with his pranks, he is someone you want on your crew because simply put, he is a great fireman. He is one of the most physically strong people I know and understands the fireground.

Now that he is approaching retirement, he has settled down some, and to me, instead of the Mental Oriental, he is more like the Gentle Oriental but.... I have a feeling that he won't be retiring quietly and he has been saving his antics for one last big hurrah before he goes.

I'll never forget the first time I met him. I was given the heads up on what to expect so I was prepared. Instead of waiting for him to kiss me, I took him by complete surprise and kissed him first. You see, he's not the only Mental Oriental around here. ;)

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