Thu | Jul 2, 2020

Gordon Robinson | The essence of firefighting

Published:Tuesday | May 21, 2019 | 12:00 AM

A young married couple named Mary and Joe decided to take a vacation in Apocrypha, our favourite fantasy land beyond the clouds.

Mary was seven months pregnant, so the couple decided to have one last idyllic holiday before the baby came and changed their lives forever. Apocrypha, a tourist Mecca famous for its beautiful sandy beaches and calm waters, was an easy destination choice. But, as is usual in this life, they should’ve expected the unexpected. With less than a half of the 60-mile journey from the Apocryphan national airport to their hotel completed, Mary went into premature labour.

Joe shouted to the driver, “Stop the bus. My wife is in labour! Is there a nearby ­hospital or hotel!?”

The driver pulled over, but they were traversing a mostly deserted stretch.

Joe, who was a repeat visitor to Apocrypha, recognised the area. “It’s okay,” he assured the driver. “There’s a nearby beach with rooms we can rest in until a doctor comes. You can leave us here.”

So the bus drove off before Joe could notice, in the gloom, that the beach he had remembered was now fenced off.

A security guard answered his query with, “No, sir. No rooms on the beach. Government sell it off!”

Across the road was a riding school, and the owner kindly allowed Joe and Mary to rest in the stables while he used his cellphone to send for a doctor.


But the baby came before the doctor. Maybe the riding school’s owner had made other calls, but, to Joe’s surprise, three strange men showed up. They insisted that they were very wise and could solve any of the couple’s concerns.

One was a government minister named Darelaw Vas, whose portfolio included beach control. The second man was Darelaw’s security consultant, a youth named Dork Harrier. The third man was Oma D’unn (NOT Harry Lime).

By now, everybody knows Oma, a retired politician who was proud of his PhD in logic but, like a moon, was bright only in the dark. Oma’s skill was to solve political problems with parables.

Joe complained to Darelaw about the sale of the rooms on the beach. Darelaw asked Dork to look into it. Dork, who fancied himself a pit bull but was more of a terrier, after a vigorous investigation, blamed Darelaw. In all the confusion, they forgot to deliver the birthday gifts they had brought for Joe and Mary’s baby boy.

Dork decided to ask Oma for advice on how to find a way to resolve his conflict as Darelaw had appointed him as his security, but Dork felt that the couple’s inconvenience was Darelaw’s fault.

So Oma told Dork the parable of the firefighter dog.

“Answering an emergency call, a bright-red fire truck was quickly on the scene with all the equipment, a full complement of firefighters, and one tiny chihuahua, on board.

The house on fire was home to a couple and their four-year-old son, who kept pestering the firefighters with questions as they rolled out the necessary equipment. He wanted to know where the water came from, why the hose was so long, and why the firefighters wore masks. But he was most puzzled as to why they had come with a dog. After several minutes of pestering from the little boy, the fire captain finally snapped at the child, ‘Sometimes: the hydrant is hard to find!’’

Dork struggled with the parable’s meaning, so Oma explained that every dog has his day, and, if he sticks to his assigned task, he could end up being a hero. He told Dork that chihuahuas rarely turn on their masters, as some fiercer breeds might. Oma suggested to Dork, he be like a chihuahua and not try to be a Doberman. Just find the hydrant. Then wait for the firefighters to put out the fire.

Peace and love!

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to