It’s not so much that it’s Lent. It is more of the fact of what Lent leads up to…Easter. As a Catholic, I understand the religious implications and I will do my best as a Catholic to sacrifice something for the season, although I am not really sure what else I can do at this point. I already gave up smoking, I don’t really go out drinking to excess, I’ve lost weight (not that I was planning on doing that), and I’ve really already hit the bottom. I’m climbing out now. I’ll have to give it a thought or two. I might have to force myself to do something rather than give something up. Might have to put a butt in the pews.
Anyways, what’s really going to chafe my behind this season is that I’m not going to be able to participate in an annual practical joke that I’ve helped with for the past 12 years or so (for all I know it’s been going on longer than that). It’s not what we would describe as a sacrifice per se. It’s more like taking something to excess…I know, I know…not very Catholic of me…but it is funnier than hell!
I guess I have set up the situation for you. One of my first partners, a good man by the name of Jim Borkowski, an EMT who’s probably been in EMS since dirt was invented, has a bit of a phobia. Bork hates Peeps! Actually, he abhors Peeps. If you threw one at him, he’d probably have a stroke. If you ever wanted to see a grown man flee for his life from something as benign as a super-sugary, brightly colored, marshmallowy-goodness chickies (or rabbits now)…now is the time to be hanging out in Jim’s office area of the garage at Medstar. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen another individual on this planet hate something as much as Bork hates Peeps. He’d probably nuke the Peep production facility if he had the opportunity to do it properly. Did I mention that Jim reeaallly hates Peeps? Ok, just checking.
I’m not really sure how we (the Medstar/Ruehle’s/Lifestat rats) found out, but find out we did. He might have even told us himself. I can’t quite remember. Supposedly, Jimbo’s brothers held him down when he was a kid, chewed up a bunch of Peeps and spit them out at Bork (possibly into his unwilling mouth). Apparently, Bork was (and still is) a bit scarred from the ordeal. Neurotic is a good word.
Of course, when you’re in a profession such as EMS, where we sometimes need to laugh at unfortunate souls and unfortunate situations (because it helps us maintain our own fragile sanities), you do not need to tell your partners and co-workers about such neuroses. It usually leads to more insanity and hilarity.
Last year I bought 20 full packages of Peeps. I’m not talking the 10 count packages; I’m talking the larger packages that had three or four of the 10 count packages. Rough estimate: somewhere around 600 Peeps total, maybe more. I’m pretty sure I didn’t have any left over by the time Easter rolled around. I easily had enough for each of the 40 days of Lent. I gave him a break occasionally…not so much to spare Jimbo the indignity as much as I wanted to keep him guessing.
After my shifts, (Jimbo was usually home because he did eight-hour shifts and I did 12-hour shifts), I’d wander into his office and start hiding Peeps. Anywhere was good. In coffee cups (he loves his coffee), drawers, refrigerators, cabinets, behind keyboards, anywhere we could think of. We didn’t try to make it too difficult to find them, because that was part of the fun. Usually we put one out in the open just to let him know what kind of day he was in for.
Invariably, he’d come in to work the next morning and, after suffering a coronary from a well placed Peep, you’d see Bork dig out the three-foot barbeque tongs and begin his morning hunt for the rest of the Peeps. It was truly epic to see Bork walking around the garage, holding a lone, innocent Peep with the three-foot tongs at full arms length away as he made his way for the garbage can to dispose of the evil Peep. Sort of like a snake handler holding a highly poisonous snake as far away as possible. Truly hilarious stuff!
I’ll even be so gracious as to take full responsibility for torturing Bork the last seven or eight years, even though I did have some help over the years. I’m not even sure that Bork even really knew it was me, but he’s smart enough to figure out that I’ll not be present to win this year. He can put two and two together and get five. He’s a smart cookie.
Last year we even outdid ourselves. The other thing you need to know about Bork is that he reeeeallly loves his coffee. He loves really strong coffee. Coffee that will take the varnish off the paint job on the ambulances. So much so that he has his own coffee pot and we know that only “Jimbo coffee” goes in that pot. There is no such thing as decaffeinated coffee at an EMS company. I think it’s against the Code or something.
I think the picture speaks for itself. Apparently, it took Jim about an hour to get all the bad Peeps out of their hiding spot. It didn’t help the situation that he couldn’t make his “Jimbo coffee” to placate himself during that hour.
For a job/profession where we need to be 100 percent focused when the crap hits the fan, it’s things like this that really make this job truly worth doing day in and day out.
Bork, I love ya! I'm gonna miss you and Kat! PEACE!
Ok, ok...I couldn't resist: http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com/