Saturday, February 4, 2023


Time is a funny thing.

One of my younger brothers was a firefighter. They were on a call that involved a woman in her seventies driving an Olds Delta 88 into an immovable structure. The front end of the body crumpled and the dash collapsed downward and trapped her.

My brother had enough gray whiskers to be running the crew that was tasked with extricating her. It did not go well.

One of the complications was there was also a team of EMTs who ran some large-bore needles into her arms and hooked up bags of Ringers with blood pressure cuffs around them. The assumption was that she may have severed arteries in her legs and the pressure of the dash had pinched them shut. That meant that once she was sprung loose, they had to quickly survey for red fluid and if they saw any to crack up the pressure to the cuffs, forcing the volume extender into her system so she would not bleed-out between hither-and-yon ambulance.

So my brother's team was dancing on a very congested dance floor with the EMTs.

Plan A failed

Plan A is to put blocks or chocks beneath the front door hinge pillar and to snip the windshield side-posts with the Jaws of Life. The body opens like a clam and the dash is lifted up off the old girl's legs. Except it didn't work in this case. For whatever reason the dash did not lift up, as was the case in maybe 25% of the extrications. No worries. Little Bro had a Plan B lined up.

Plan B failed

Plan B was to assist the upward lifting of the hinge-pillar with porta-powers or pancake hydraulic cylinders.

I forget why Plan B did not work but it may have had something to do with not being able to get enough space to wedge the necessary equipment in place.

Plan C

Plan C was radical. It involved running the seat as far rearward as possible and cutting three-of-four legs (front-center leg not being accessible) holding up the seat track with the Jaws of Life. Then dumping the seat back full rearward and yanking the old girl out of the grips of the Delta 88 like yanking a carrot out of damp compost.

Plan C worked.

The Battalion Chief hit his stop-watch. It was the practice of this middle-sized, mid-Western town to have an observer documenting events, both for potential litigation but also to document potential best-practices. It was the BC's job to over-ride the team-lead if he was going down a rabbit hole, if he was spinning his wheels or if the scope of the task grew beyond the resources that were originally given that task.

"Hey, Buckwheat, wanna guess how long it took your team to execute the extrication?" the Battalion Chief asked Little Bro.

My brother was drenched with sweat and shaking from the adrenaline rush. "I dunno. Maybe 90 minutes...75 at the quickest."

"Bad guess" the Battalion Chief said. "Seventeen minutes and short-change."

The first 5k

I bailed out. The windchill is predicted to be -5 F at the start of the run.

Mrs ERJ and I went to the gym last night and I attempted a "virtual 5k" on a treadmill.

Like my little brother's Plan A, it did not fare so well. I made it 1.8 miles before I hit-the-silk. It was just not my day. The pace was on-track for a 42 minute 5k but I just did not have the stamina or the motivation.

I enjoy running outside. I can speed up or slow-down without having to push buttons or worry about being pitched out the manure-spreader end of the machine. I am entertained by the changing scenery around me.

Treadmills in a gym....not so much.

The good news is that my leg was not holding me back. It was my ability to move oxygen from the air to my bloodstream.

People who do not make plans with allowances for failures are planning to fail.

Or something like that.


  1. Time is funny. We measure it objectively but experience it subjectively.

  2. My favorite quote about time (and duty)

    “Do not confuse "duty" with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.
    But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a footpad than it is with the leech who wants "just a few minutes of your time, please—this won't take long." Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time—and squawk for more!
    So learn to say No—and to be rude about it when necessary. Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you.
    (This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don't do it because it is "expected" of you.)”
    ― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

    Time is both objective and subjective. But the time you have in your life IS the total capital OF your life.

    O2 processing unless injury or disease limited is generally conditioning. So good for you Joe to be pushing those boundaries.

  3. You gotta make the call. No one else is tuned in like you are. Do you have a bulb preheater when you run out there in the negatives?? Wowzers. My snot froze just reading that.

    O2 processing.... Yeah. My lack of is due to injury from an illness. It's maddening to have nearly sixty years of practice being an able body, to suddenly be left with a barely functioning earth suit. It's going on two years, and I still unthinkingly push into near crash territory. I do have a gauge, but I forget to look. Never had to before. When the blue hits the first knuckle, it's time to head for the pure O2. Who knew hypoxia was a thing? Well, I do now.

  4. But can you tell me the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

  5. And that would be the "swallow" made famous by the lack of taste-buds on the back of her throat

  6. ERJ, I cannot for the life of me run on a treadmill because there is no variation in speed. I much prefer the ability to slow down or speed up - mostly slow down, who am I kidding? - as needed.

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