Do you recognize these two gentlemen? They are Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth–Kevin Tighe probably looks familiar; he went on to a successful movie career, appearing in a few John Sayles films, among others. But first, he was a life-saving paramedic on the super-awesome “Emergency!” Roy and Johnny weren’t too cool to rescue a cat up a tree now and again. This represents the television of my youth. It pre-dates the inferior “CHiPS,” which tried to make up for the lower-case i in its title with Erik Estrada’s neon teeth.
Earlier today, I washed my hands in a well-kept, flatteringly lit, public restroom. Things were going well, thanks to the absence of glaring fluorescent lighting that could make a 22-year-old look like she needs to have some work done, not to mention someone from the 23-plus crowd in which I have dwelled for some time. When I proceeded to the hand-drying stage, I noticed that I had the choice of paper towel dispenser OR the air-blower option. First, I tried to wave my hand at the paper towel dispenser, which resulted in no perceptible change in the presence of paper towels. The toilet had been on a sensor; don’t judge! That is not the emergency; that the towel thing was a manual model. I adapted, and elbowed the hot air blower thing on. This is not the emergency, either, but the hot air was pretty flaccid, as hot air blower speeds go, resembling nothing more than someone mouth-breathing one-fourth of an inch away from your hand. I had been expecting the blast that will distort your features if you stick your face under there. At this point, I turned to the paper towel dispenser to help with my personal goal of drying my hands in less than twenty minutes. It was apparent that there was not an accessible towel, but, much to my relief, there was an EMERGENCY FEED on the side of the machine! What a relief! It was a brighter, sweeter world when I walked out of that bathroom; I can tell you that, mister. I had walked through the emergency and had emerged unscathed and more fully alive (Please note the deft manipulation of the word “emerge” here.).
On the off chance that you take issue with my cavalier attitude toward the whole emergency concept, may I present for your consideration some alleged emergencies that I encounter on a nearly daily basis.
“You stole my pencil and I’m going to punch you in the face! What? It’s on the floor? Oh. Don’t touch my stuff!” Dubious, as emergencies go.
“I have to go to the nurse! We were throwing water on each other when we went to the bathroom without permission and water got in my ear! This ear–water–it hurts! This ear–no water–it doesn’t hurt!” Near-emergency then occurred when I choked on my water in my attempt not to laugh in student’s face.
“Can I PLEEEEEASE go to the nurse? The bottom of my pantleg got wet and I need a new pair of pants. My mom told me if my pantleg is ever wet I should go to the nurse so I won’t get sick.” Let’s do an evaporation experiment instead!
You can see why my definition of “Emergency” has become as broad as the proverbial side of a barn.
You want to talk about legit Emergencies with a capital E?
ACTUAL FREAKING EMERGENCY:
It is an incontrovertible emergency when a woman is being interviewed on television, discussing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, and she utters the following words: “It is important for us to talk about the heroes, and the sheroes, of our history.” WHAT? Where was the emergency editing intervention here? Do we need to enact legislation in order to assure that this completely preventable incident doesn’t repeat itself? Because I am pretty sure that Emergency rooms across the local viewing area were flooded with folks who involuntarily attempted to gouge out their own eyes and ears in the face of the horror of it all.
ANOTHER ACTUAL FREAKING EMERGENCY:
I am making chili for dinner. There is not one onion to be found in the house! WTF?! Fortunately, my guy is a former first responder, and recognized the situation for what it was, pronto. At this point in our relationship, he knows that I am expecting him to not only hightail it to the nearest onion purveyor, but to slap the flashing light on the roof before he throws the car into gear.
Fortunately, some of us know how to respond to an emergency.