I just love it when firetrucks drive down the road in town. They drive slowly, with their lights on and their water canon blasting. What fun it is to see that triumphant arch of water spray from the slowly rolling truck and onto my lawn! Sometimes, the fire truck blares through town because they need to practice what it’s like to blare through town. And then they roll up on a house that isn’t on fire and douse it with pumped water. What a hoot it is when the owner comes out and wonders why his house is covered in water. The firemen just shrug their shoulders and blast away, and the owner smiles and goes back inside. He wouldn’t want to get sprayed!
And sometimes I love it when the policeman races through town and pulls someone over. Was the driver speeding? No. Was the driver texting while driving? No. Did the driver roll through a stop sign without making a complete stop? Of course not. The cop pulled the driver over and then pulled him from his car and read him his rights, then he told him that he was going to jail and so many people driving by laughed. What a terrific example of solid police work! But then the cop told the driver that he was only joking and that he was just practicing and that the driver could go about his business.
Later, the ambulance, sirens roaring, lights flashing, driving with a terrific urgency. The ambulance is in a hurry, on a mission, heading from here to there to pick up someone who is in distress. Stop signs ignored, red lights meaningless. The pace is hurried, there’s not much time. But then the ambulance pulls into Burger King and the EMTs get out and laugh. What a fun training mission that was!
It was obvious to most that these were not literal examples of our rescue and police workers practicing their craft. Yet it seems as though the Linn Township Fire and Rescue Boat doesn’t understand the joke. The cartoonish boat that has been marring my view for the past year is at it again, and it’s getting really, really old. The fireboat takes joy in driving around the lake shooting its water canon. If we were in the Wisconsin Dells, or another similarly cheesy venue, this might be acceptable. But here, on this lake, in this place, the fireboat is not welcome. Might it someday be needed to throw water onto a burning boat- a boat that would burn with or without the water being pumped over it? Sure. And for that the boat should exist. But should it be spinning around the lake each weekend firing water from its canon so that little children and no one else can find amusement in the feat? Absolutely not.
But they’ll say that I’m a killjoy. That they’re just training, or having fun, or delighting kids. They’ll say this is necessary. Really? Does the firetruck troll around town shooting water? Does the police cruiser rip through residential neighborhoods with its siren and lights on, just to show the taxpayers what they bought? Does the EMT walk through a park sparking his defribulator paddles together so that kids can enjoy the show? None of these things would happen, yet the fireboat goes out every weekend, cruising around the lake as though the gas it sucks is free, shooting this absurd spout of water into the air. We get it. It shoots water. Now put it away because it has no place in public view unless its extinguishing a fire.
Yesterday, after a Mother’s Day feast at my house, I took to the lake. I was privileged to catch a ride on the most beautiful boat that this lake has ever seen (with apologies to the steamers of the gilded age). The boat was smooth, sleek, as sexy as a boat has ever been. That’s the aesthetic of this lake. That’s the style that is at home here. That’s what people pay some of the steepest prices in the country to experience. And yet, the day before, there was the cartoon fire boat, spraying water into the air as if anyone cares. To the Town of Linn, I implore you to put your stupid boat away. It’s ridiculous, cartoonish and unnecessary. It’s a sideshow on a lake that doesn’t want it. If you object to that classification, remember my example of the fire truck. Would you applaud a firetruck roaming around downtown on summer weekends with its water cannon firing?
If you’re reading this and you agree with me, please email the Town of Linn – firstname.lastname@example.org and the Linn Chairman – email@example.com. Tell them we get it, the boat has a canon, now put it away until it’s time to be used. We don’t want our weekend views interrupted by their cartoonish water display.