Rejection Letters

The Kind of Person My Neighbor Is

This was at least 15 years ago.

We had this guy redoing the kitchen, which took like 18 months because we’re morons.

But anyway, the guy’s day job was, he’s a firefighter.

Which means he goes 48 hours on and 72 hours off.

So this guy, the firefighter, shows up just after his 48 hour shift ends, to check on the progress of the kitchen.

And I’m next door because our neighbors are pouring concrete for a patio.

So this firefighter guy sees me over there, having a beer, watching the neighbors pour the concrete, and he stops by there to see how it’s going.

He’s still dressed in his uniform – tee shirt and cargo pants – except he’s got a button-down shirt open over his firefighter’s shirt because I guess they’re not allowed to wear their uniforms when they’re off duty.

And everyone at my neighbor’s does the customary “How’s it going.”

Whatever.

And this guy, the firefighter goes, “Unbelievable day, really.”

And we’re like, “Yeah? What happened?”

And he’s like, “We got a call to this house” – I think he said it was an overdose, or maybe a heart attack – “and we get there and this woman is on the floor, blue.

Basically gone.

So we give her this adrenaline shot.

And up she pops, eyes wide.

She looks around at us, these strangers in her house, and she’s alive.

Like what a miracle.

And of course a couple seconds later she passes back out, but now her heart’s actually beating.”

And before these guys got there she was dead.

So the guy, the firefighter says, “Sometimes it’s just like, ‘Wow.’ Like, ‘We saved a life today.’”

And then my neighbor, compassionate human she is, goes: “Well was her life even worth saving?”

***

Al Jacobs is a writer and designer when he’s either writing or designing. At all other times he doesn’t know what he is, but he bets you two would probably get along OK. 

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