Because if there’s one thing we need more of in my neighborhood, it’s fire.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” said the nice looking man wearing a yellow construction jacket at my door step.  “We’re just going house to house to let everyone know that the city will be doing work on your block for the next few months so you might see blockades and construction.  We’re having to work on the underground fire-lines in this neighborhood.”

“I…wait…what?” I asked, (extremely articulately).

“Apparently the fire lines in your neighborhood are extremely low in pressure and so we’re going to have to dig up the pipes to fix that.   I know it’s a hassle, but it’s a safety precaution,” he explained.

I stared at him.  “I appreciate the concern, but why in the world would we want bigger pipes filled with fire under our houses?   That seems the opposite of safe.

He paused for a second.  “Oh.  No.  Fire lines are just the water lines that lead to your fire hydrants.  I just call them fire lines because they’re used to put out fires.”

Oh.  Well, in that case, shouldn’t they be called anti-fire lines?”

He considered it for a moment and then pointed out that we call fire hydrants “fire hydrants” even though they don’t shoot out fire and that by my logic we’d have to call them “anti-fire hydrants”.

I conceded the argument to him, but then he handed me the work notice notification and I pointed out that the subject line was “Neighborhood Fire Flow Improvement Project” and that that implied that they were improving the flow of fire through my neighborhood.  Then he looked at the paper again and said, “Ma’am, I just work here.”  And I apologized because I know he’s only following orders, and he said not to apologize because it was the most interesting conversation he’d had all morning and that he’d bring it up with the fire department, as he was sure they’d enjoy my points just as much as he did.

I suspect he meant that he’d have a “You guys won’t believe what this crazy-ass lady I met this morning said” kind of conversation, but who knows?  Maybe it’ll start a whole “anti-fire hydrant” movement.  Although that sound more like a movement to destroy all fire-hydrants, rather than a conscious choice to use descriptives more appropriately.  Which is maybe why they named them fire-hydrants to begin with.  Dammit.  I think I just proved myself wrong and I don’t even know how.

225 replies. read them below or add one

  1. 1

    I love how no matter how f’ed up my morning is, reading your blog makes it better. You’re hilarious.

  2. Ma’am, I just work here., that comment just captured the moment for me. Nice.

  3. Anti-fire hydrant makes perfect sense. Why haven’t we questioned this sooner?

    nancytex2013 recently posted monthly challenges recap: March edition.

  4. I just love you so much. Also, no worker in Kansas would have indulged that conversation at all, let alone engaged in it. I miss Texas sometimes.

  5. At least your fire department is trying to manage their pipelines. When the water pressure in the lines became low in my neighborhood, the city’s response was to cut down all the trees. Yeah, that’s effective.

  6. “Neighborhood Hydrant Line Improvement Project” would be a better name, methinks.

  7. I think you need a conversation with the hot water heater people.

  8. I’m guessing you really made his day!

  9. this conversation made my day. thank you.

  10. You have to wonder why they call it the “Fire Department” in the first place.

  11. This convoluted terminology is used to keep space aliens away. They walk among us, & if they think we have fire-filled pipes underground, they won’t attempt a takeover of earth. This strategy was devised in the late 1960s by JFK & Marilyn Monroe, on the secret tropical island they’ve been residing on since they “died.”

    No ordinary mortals have ever seen JFK & Marilyn at their secret hideaway, of course, although Dick Cheney has been known to pop into their undisclosed location for a little R&R.

    Dave B. (@BuckyKatt) recently posted Health Notes: New Thinking on Fats & CVD; Alzheimer's Deaths Widely Underreported; Colon Cancer Rates Drop.

  12. This reminds me of the police in a town I used to live in. They had a campaign called “Cops For Cancer”. I refused to donate to them because I am against cancer.

    Dave DeBaeremaeker recently posted Wordless Wednesday.

  13. If anyone else I knew had this conversation, I’d tell them to step away from the crazy. But conversations like this are exactly why I adore you. Keep em coming! 🙂

    I once had a horrible situation involving traffic violations and an evil small town prosecutor that resulted in me working with a public defender. He was virtually apoplectic when I questioned whether I should plead guilty to a non-moving wreckless driving charge. “How can I be driving wrecklessly if I’m NOT. MOVING. ???” #wordsmatter, #justsayin

  14. Hahahaha, this made me laugh so hard. Sounds like something I would think about and say, then prove myself wrong in my own argument…yes, a kindred soul.

  15. Maybe we could just call them “water hydrants” which seems clearer because sometimes they’re used for making kids wet and happy in the middle of the summer, which has nothing at all to do with fire. Then we could call the lines leading to them “hydrant lines” (because “water lines” is confusing– we have a lot of different types of lines carrying water, so we should name them based on where they go, not what they carry).

  16. So-should they be called the anti-fire department?

  17. We need to put literalists in charge of making up phrases. Then we wouldn’t have ones like a ‘civil war’ or a ‘deafening silence’. Or perhaps ‘fire hose’.

  18. This makes perfect sense to me. I was always confused by anti pasta, but then I found out it was antipasti & now I don’t care because I don’t even know what pasti is so I don’t care whether people are anti or not….

  19. Hmm, yeah that’s pretty confusing. I never understood why they don’t just call them ‘water hydrants’, or even just hydrants? And so they’d be the water pipes to the hydrants.

  20. Damn it! Link to blog….

    normalfornorfolkblog recently posted What is Normal for Norfolk.

  21. Why not just call them hydrant lines?

  22. I’m glad that SOMEONE is on this. Because I know I wasn’t:). And now I feel a little silly.

  23. Except the name fire hydrant makes sense to me, since they’re used to hydrate fires. Right? Is that where that comes from? Even if not, I like my reasoning.

  24. maybe he could explain why “flammable” AND “inflammable” mean things that could catch on fire?!?!? i think it’s a fire conspiracy.

    Habesha Child recently posted what worked, what didn’t.

  25. All evidence points to him being one of our tribe…otherwise why would he have even had that conversation? Most people just kinda look at me funny and slowly back away.

    Maybe we should induct him into our tribe? I’ve always wanted to be part of an initiation ceremony. (So long as it was more awesome than “Let us join ourselves together by drinking the blood of a virgin” kind of initiation.)

  26. Fire. Bad.

  27. Now I’m questioning everything! Going to start a petition with my anti-fire department tomorrow.

    mmaxwellbey recently posted everybody poops… a four year old perspective.

  28. You are STILL cracking me up! How long has it been? Once again, you’re bizarre-ness is fabulous.

  29. People. People who love…words
    Are the best kind of people in the world.

  30. 30

    To make matters more confusing, flammable and inflammable both mean ‘easy to set on fire’ and sometimes I really wonder how these things started because I thought usually when you plop ‘in’ in front of something it makes it the opposite but I guess flammable just wanted to be contrary. Probably it’s a conspiracy to set more things on fire. Makes as much sense as anything.

  31. I would LOVE to live in a city with pipelines of fire running through it. But then I’ve always had latent pyromaniacal tendencies.

  32. From now on, I will always call them anti-fire hydrants. Brilliant.

  33. There could be good use for actual fire lines and fire hydrants that sit out fire. We could all toast marshmallos and make s’mores just in our neighborhood, no camping required. And for lighting birthday candles, any candles really.

    I nominate you for Neighborhood Fire Improvement Leader.

  34. I love that he bantered with you about anti-fire hydrants, then conceded the argument when he was clearly beaten. Bravo, public works guy!

  35. 35
    Jennifer Mills

    Kind of like, “Laser hair removal.” I don’t have laser hair, but if I did, I would want to have it removed.

  36. Um, well if you know the meaning of the word hydrant, a discharge pipe of water, then calling it a fire discharge pipe of water makes sense. A discharge pipe of water, for fires or fire hydrant.

  37. Hydr as in hydro = water, ant as a suffix = that which does whatever action the base word denotes. Hydrant = that which waters. Fire hydrant = that which waters fire?

  38. Ahahahahabahahahaha !!!!

  39. You need to run for city council on a “let’s use proper terminology” platform.

    Shelley J recently posted Throwback Thursday - The Banana from Hell edition.

  40. I understand fire hydrants (they hydrate fires) but ‘fire lines’ is clearly unclear.

  41. Why does flammable and inflammible mean the same thing?

  42. You know, I would have asked the same questions, really. Birds of a feather and all that jazz…

  43. Since “Hydrant” indicates adding water to, I get “fire hydrants” but by that measure, they should be using “hydrant lines” or “fire hydrant lines” and “hydrant flow” or “fire hydrant flow.” It’s really very misleading to refer to fire lines and fire flow!

    Jeanie recently posted Tales From The Fishtank.

  44. I don’t understand why didn’t didn’t just say “water line” or “water main”. I assume all the houses are hooked into the water line so you have running water and the fire hydrants are outposts on the line so fire fighters can access the water in the water line, just like IT ALWAYS IS. But you are in Texas and things are sometimes, I mean often, ass-backwards down there. Maybe you have a well for water for you house, but by the sounds of it, your neighborhood is pretty populated, so a water line just makes sense.

    You could’ve asked him if he drinks the water in his house, and if he replied yes, you could’ve responded with, “BUT WHAT IF THERE’S A FIRE, YOU’RE DRINKING ALL THE FIRE WATER!”

  45. Huh – I always thought of a “fire hyrant” as a “fire waterer”… kind of like how you drink water to hydrate yourself, but, in this case, you are hydrating your fire, which is a good thing. Trust me, this made sense in my head. (and, I clearly over use commas)

  46. 46

    Clearly his logic is flawed. It’s called a hydrant because you’re hydrating the fire. An anti-fire hydrant would hydrate things that are against fire.

  47. Fire hydrant – is correct, they HYDRATE fires. The lines should be call hydrant lines, as that is the logical and accurate description. 😛

  48. If there were actually big tubes of fire going under our streets, I’d probably get run over by a car while I was busy trying to absorb as much heat as I could off the pavement.

  49. Unreltaed, but I saw this today and thought of you immediately!

  50. “Neighborhood Fire Flow Improvement Project” sounds like one of those crazy one-hit hippie bands that would appear in the party scenes of movies in the 60s. That’s a thing, right?

  51. Once I went to lunch with someone at a sandwich shop. We ordered the exact same thing but separately. My total was 1 cent higher. I brought this up to the (very confused) cashier, and after stuttering a bit, she replied, “I just push the buttons.” So that’s been my response to life’s big questions ever since. I just push the buttons.

    BTW, I call those water hydrants. Because, water.

    Foxy Wine Pocket recently posted I No Longer Endorse Weeknight Tequila Tastings.

  52. I have a fire hydrant in front of my house, I wonder if I could make it a little “I’m an anti fire hydrant.” sign

  53. Welllllll, but a fire hydrant HYDRATES fires, so really your logic holds up. An anti-fire hydrant would hydrate anti-fires, which seems like it would probably be a waste of time, depending on what one would determine an anti-fire to be.

  54. You know when you know you’re stupid, but you don’t know how stupid you are until it’s pointed out? That’s me right now. Because I never thought of “hydrant” as being a form of the word “hydrate.” I always thought (get ready to point at me and throw things) that a hydrant was called that because it looks like it has several faces and so does the Hydra. Ever since I was little, I assumed that people who invented the fire hydrant named it for a mythical water creature that breathes fire. I’m an idiot. Like, even more than usual.

    Now I’m going to go hide in a corner.

  55. “Fire hydrants” is accurate because they hydrate fires. Duh. You could’ve won.

  56. oops. Now I just read that several people have pointed that out to you. Please disregard.

  57. I feel somewhere in here there should be some mention of the fact that “flammable” and “inflammable” both mean the same thing. And it’s oh so wrong.

    Korinthia recently posted No Foolin'.

  58. Fires do need hydration to keep them under control, so I think it’s safe to keep their current nomenclature.

    Helliona recently posted More thoughts on Scotland.

  59. Im just so glad that there are people like u that have the same brain synapse conundrums as I do on a daily basis. Luv da blog

    Laurie Free recently posted Southern Hospitality DTP style.

  60. hydrant (n.) 1806, a hybrid coined in American English from Greek hydr-, stem of hydor “water” (see water (n.1)) + -ant.

    fire hydrant = fire water streamer?

    You were just messing with that guy and he knew it. He was just being polite because he’s a Texan.

  61. All I have to say about this…writer problems.

    damedessa recently posted The Disappearing Act.

  62. johhny pump

  63. I called the non-emergency number once because I couldn’t get my smoke detector to stop beeping even when I disconnected it and five minutes later I had a fire truck pull up in front of my house with four really bored firemen to come look at it.

    I like to think I was their “crazy lady” for the day.

  64. Oh, that guy had NO idea when he knocked on your door! Awesome!

  65. So, we’ve established that his argument is null and void, due to the fact that hydrants hydrate. I guess his anti-fire hydrant would hydrate anti-fires. Which would probably be a waste of water, depending on what one determines anti-fire to be.

  66. Do people say “Ma’am, I just work here” frequently to you? I feel like maybe they do.

    (I’ve gotten it more than once. ~ Jenny)

  67. Perhaps they should be named Fire Prevention Hydrants. Except that’s too long, and so it would get shortened to FPHs. Which looks kind of like a syndrome. There’s no winning here.

  68. When I was in preschool, there was a fire extinguisher hanging on the wall in a pretty narrow hallway. I would inch around it carefully every time because I didn’t understand descriptors at the age of three and I thought that if I touched it, it would burst into flame.

  69. But then you’d have to explain that it’s an anti-fire hydrant movement not an anti fire-hydrant movement. You totally like hydrants, you just disagree with what they should be called. Although, who knows, it’s Texas, land of the crazy tea partiers; they might want an anti fire-hydrant movement. They might think house fires are a personal problem, and that hydrants infringe upon their free speech.

  70. Okay, now I really wish that any of the fire hoses on my engine actually shot fire.

  71. Actually that hydra thing is pretty badass, though.

  72. No no no. Anti Fire Department won’t do. It sounds like we are against the fire department. I’ve always been pro fire department myself. Let’s just call them Fire Put-Ter Outers. So much more eloquent.

  73. Proof that once again English is the bastard child of confusing words and language. Look at this way, that poor gentlemen just got a crash course in language and logic. 🙂

    skullwoman recently posted California: A different State of mind..

  74. 74
    A. Loughlin

    Actually, it all comes back to the hyphen: anti-fire hydrant vs. anti fire-hydrant. You’re good, so long as people use the hyphen correctly. Well, never mind…

  75. but wait. hydrant means water thingy. so fire hydrant means fire water thingy

  76. Very much like the old question, why do we drive on a “parkway” but park on a “driveway”?? ..MADNESS, I SAY!

    RachRiot recently posted B.I.T.C.H. It's Real..

  77. You so rock. If they improve the fire flow enough it won’t have to stand in line, right?

    oldsillybear recently posted The ability to believe.

  78. Just what I wanted this Friday… opposite day.
    I cant think that hard today… that fireman was lucky to get your house and only leave scratching his head. He would not have fared that well at my house today.

  79. Once a person came to our door trying to sell us windows and my husband told her he was just too drunk to talk.

    Michelle recently posted Having A Weird Friend Means Your Subconscious Gets To Play.

  80. btw – I am glad you confused the shit out of him…

    Michele recently posted Its Damn Friday.

  81. Dude that you thought it was named after hydra makes you awesomer

    Jessica recently posted Sigh, see? This is stigma.

  82. I love your hydra explanation. I don’t think I’ll look at them quite the same now. Hydrants, that is. And honestly, you should stick with that. Hydrating a fire with mythical sea creatures is a heckuva lot more interesting.

    Anubis Bard recently posted The Love Note to 2014, March 18 - 30.

  83. But you’re supposed to fight fire WITH fire, so fire lines would make sense!

  84. Maybe they’ll rename them “the blogges hydrant”

  85. HAHAHAHAHA. Poor guy, he never knew what hit him 🙂

    LT recently posted The NHL’s Winnipeg Myth.

  86. I would be very circumspect in the future, Jenny…right now the story is making its rounds. Soon you will have house calls from every city and state employee who can think up a reason to knock on your door. You’re already taxed heavily to provide salaries for these people…why on earth should you be expected to provide them with entertainment for free?? See? This is why I hate government…they never stop taking…

  87. The flammable vs. inflammable thing is one of those quirks of English grammar.

    Inflammable is an adjective form of the base verb INFLAME = to set on fire. You’re not saying something is IN-flammable, like something is IN-decent or IN-accessible. It’s just a confusing point of spelling that some words begin with IN….like insurance or interior. You’re saying it’s INFLAM(E)-able=capable of being inflamed, or set on fire.

    I suspect that “flammable” is the problem here, not “inflammable”. I don’t believe there’s a verb FLAME. So someone along the road decided we needed an adjective to go with the noun flame and created “flammable”, when we already had the perfectly good “inflammable”. I feel like there are other examples of this but right now I’m too distracted by the idea of a hydrant being a HYDRA with multiple heads to shoot water to remember any of them.

    This post and the comments have made my day and given me lots to think about. Thank you Jenny, et al.

  88. Ugh! When the road work starts try and go on vacation for a few months until they finish!
    The “water people” deemed my neighborhood in the same condition. This past December the work began. We’ve had our streets torn up 24/7 in various forms or another. Huge road equipment is scattered all up and down the neighborhood and some days left in front of my house. I live at the top of a loop on a hill and I never knew if I should go down the right side or left side since the street below would be blocked and I’d have to turn around. The dust has been AWFUL. It’s all over the cars, windows, yard and manages to also get inside the house. A water truck guy attempts to clean up the dirt at the end of the day but it barely helps. One day he didn’t even have water in the dumb thing so the dirt was just flying all over. Nice. Driving on my street has like riding on a washboard.
    I cannot wait until it’s over. 4 months and counting.

  89. I really appreciate his willingness to talk to you about it 😉

  90. I got five bucks on the “won’t believe what this crazy-ass lady I met this morning said” horse …

  91. When someone says to you “I just work here”, it’s generally a sign that a) you’ve blown their minds or b) they don’t feel like arguing with you so they say that to make you shut up. I’m thinking you blew the poor guy’s mind.

    Courtney recently posted Supernatural: Nevermore.

  92. Hahahahaha to comment 66.
    I really wanna picture this conversation happening while you’re standing there in your Dr. Who jammies with one stray curler still matted in your hair — not because that’s what I expect of you or because of some creepy creepiness, but because I work from home and NEVER answer the door because I’m always in nothing but a threadbare and/or ugly nightie that is inappropriate for company but the ultimate in working-from-home-comfort. I’d somehow feel slightly less slovenly if I knew I wasn’t the only one….(like watching “Hoarders” makes me feel that my fur-filled bungalow could star in a Mr. Clean commercial)

  93. Because you’re hydrating the fire!

  94. I thought the same thing about the Hydra!!! I grew up with Greek myths as bedtime stories!

    Of course, I also wanted to make myself wings and my mother had to repeatedly (repeatedly!) remind me that that did not end well for Icarus.

  95. 95

    Are you sure you don’t work for United Health Care/Medicare? This sounds suspiciously like the kind of reasoning I have had with them for three hours today.

  96. Fire Suppression Hydrants? Fire Extinguishing Hydrants? never mind. too many words

  97. That conversation, and the hydra-hydrants. Just two more reasons I love you, Jenny!

  98. Awesome. I do this kind of stuff all the time. Usually the guy is just glad to get off my porch..!

    stef recently posted I'm No Hollaback Mom, I Guess.

  99. I worked for a municipality and trust me, you will be the topic of conversation when he gets back to the office. Of course, they’ll be laughing with you, not at you

  100. I bet any possible chance to have a conversation with you would be entertaining.

  101. I love the fact that you pull this shit on poor, innocent, bewildered construction workers, and not just on Victor!

  102. “Fire flow.”. There’s a drug to treat that, right?

  103. 103
    Auntie Meme

    Fire Hydra is my new Cosplay idea

  104. Life’s never boring for those around you, is it?

    Teri recently posted Why Boomer Esiason needs to be slapped....

  105. But the stuff that comes out of the hydrant is still firewater, right?

  106. 106
    Barbara S.

    They should have said fire hydrant lines. Clears up confusion.

  107. You are my favourite, Jenny. My very favourite. ALL the giggles.

  108. Two words: AWE SOME!

  109. Well one would hope he knows he’s a part of a post on the site of the famous Bloggess!

  110. Am I the only one who read “fire lines” as “fire lanes”, and then wondered why living in a low pressure neighborhood would be a problem? I live and work in high pressure neighborhoods, and it’s no picnic.

  111. 111
    Maggi Oswald

    Sweet Jennie – you make me laugh. I understand completely your confusion with Hydra and hydrate. As my hubby says, you look at the world ten degrees off top dead center. Keep it up!!

  112. Well, they are fire hydrants meaning it hydrates fires, right? So lines should be more like hydrant lines? Or Fire Hoses? Or Fire Moisturizer?

    dribblesngrits recently posted Spring Break Broke when I became a Parent.

  113. You proved yourself wrong and Victor wasn’t even involved. How does that make you feel? (Stroke your chin while answering.)

  114. My personal favorite is “fire suppression system.” Last I checked, you want to put out unwanted fires, not simply to suppress them.

    And the Hydra thing – that just means you see the world in more mythical and amazing ways than the rest of us. I’m kinda jealous…

  115. Reblogged this on Moxie In The Making and commented:

    Just because The Bloggess is amazing and everyone should read something she wrote. She’s insanely funny…and probably insane. Like a lot of us!

  116. There’s a lot to be said about ‘crazy ass lady conversations.’

    Manicmom recently posted Of conversation caché and tin foil pajamas.

  117. I have the same issue with some of the training we have here at my place of employment.
    “Sexual harassment” training isn’t AT ALL what it’s advertised to be.
    Same deal with “Violence in the workplace.”
    I went into both of those workshops with anticipation of grand entertainment only to leave severely disappointed.

    Marianne recently posted Kill Joy.

  118. When I was little I used to believe that fire trucks had flame throwers and shot out fire, so I like your logic.

  119. 119
    cassandra rowe

    Stop looking for sneaky reasons to catch shit on fire, Jenny. (That construction worker seems shady as fuck, btw.)

  120. As an engineer who works in this field, I’m not sure why he didn’t call them watermains. They not only bring water to fight fires, but water to your house for cooking, drinking etc. There generally aren’t separate lines for supplying houses with water versus fighting fires unless you’re drawing your own well water.

  121. Technically it is a “fire hydrant” or a “fire water-er” which would be the same as a “fire killer”… Right? My head hurts.

  122. I have that issue with a lot of words and expressions… Like when we clean the house, we “dust it”. Me and my partner decided to change it, we now say lets de-dust.
    We don’t need MORE dust in here, thank you very much.

    L. Woolf recently posted Error of ways, a game of ‘spot the weakness’.

  123. They say they’re water lines to put out fires but that’s how they fucking GET YOU! These people work for Big Fire and their reach is ubiquitous. Don’t ask too many questions or your house will burn down and they’ll blame you for turning on the oven with the instructions inside because they’ve read your book (they read everything!) so they have a perfect patsy. Watch your back, Jenny. Watch Your Back!

  124. you made some very valid points!
    I’m sure he left there very confused

    Shaunacey recently posted 10 signs you're a frumpy mommy.

  125. My company used to send us to “Sexual Harassment Training” sessions. And I was all, like, I’m pretty sure some of these people are more in need of “Harassment Awareness” or “Harassment Avoidance” Training, because they have the actual Harassment thing down cold. 😉

  126. Well, not wanting to seem pedantic, though pedantry is my wont. I would pedal towards the hypothesis that anti-fire hydrant, though phonetically similar to anti fire-hydrant, might add to the confusion in the event of a fire, My advice to anyone to anyone faced with this problem, which appears to be more semantic than existential, is to weigh up the odds, Where there is smoke there is a probability of fire, and where there is fire, there is fire,

    For those intersted in reading of my latest adventures on a small Arctic island, you find them here:

  127. 127
    Heather Greywolf

    I’m sure someone has pointed this out already, but since “hydrant” is a variation of “hydrate”, the term “fire hydrant” is entirely appropriate, since it essentially translates into “thing that puts water on a fire”. If you called it an “anti-fire hydrant”, it would have to spew gasoline or some equally flammable shit.

    They’re just trying to confuse you with grammar, Jenny. Stick to your guns, you were spot on about their wording being nine kinds of fucked up. (I’m sure there was a 10th kind, but I haven’t figured out what that is just yet.)

  128. I think I love you. That is all.

  129. How are your fire extinguishers? They were named better. Better check the smoke alarm batteries too… that way you cover the whole “fire on the block” products while it’s on your mind.

  130. As a fire department employee, I enjoyed this post immensely. You aren’t near as crazy as many of the people who call me!!!

  131. Almost left work without reading your blog… and when i remembered almost had a mini heart attack! Phew! Good thing I remembered because this was hilarious!

  132. I love you so much. Your idea for hydrant is fine its the way each mind sees things that makes this world awesome…Your mind makes this word perfect! I also want you to adopt me

  133. I’m actually giggling. I can clearly see this guys face as you are talking to him in the most serious of voices. Because it’s a very serious subject. Such fits of giggles! Thank you. It’s been a tough morning and you have made the afternoon a little sunnier.

  134. How bout fire suppressant hydrants?

  135. I’ve always wondered why they call them fire hydrants. It doesn’t make sense to me either. Some people just don’t understand how English works.

    karenmpeterson recently posted The Tiny Escape.

  136. @13 kcatty, I love your typo. “Wrecklessly” almost by definition is the opposite of “recklessly.” I’m going to use this a lot. “But, Office, I was driving wrecklessly!”

  137. You took a regular construction worker’s day and made it MAGICAL!!! That guy will be the life of the party all weekend. Look at all the good you do!

  138. Anti-fire hydrant sounds like you are against them. Needs a better name like fire putter-outer hydrant. The HYDRA part refers to water, so shouldn’t it put out fire-water, aka liquor?

  139. 139
    Lisa Allison

    I used to work for the Air Force, and once a quarter we would get an email telling us we had to attend “Sexual Assault Training.” I’m thinking the missing word should have been “prevention”

  140. 140

    True, they should be called Fire Putter Outter Hydrants.

  141. So, I study mosquitoes and therefore deliberately keep them alive and breed them. In order to do that I have offer them blood once a month. I order animal blood from a nearby lab, which is weird enough as it is, but had to find a way to give them said blood since they prefer to bite through things. I heard about synthetic sausage casings, which apparently have a very similar texture to skin. I called up the closest sausage casing factory, which is in Georgia (buy American!), and had a very nice conversation with the friendly salesman who had the misfortune to pick up the phone. After we figured out how much sausage casing I needed to feed my mosquitoes, I asked if they accepted purchase orders or if he needed a credit card. He said in that nice Georgia drawl, “Well, ma’am, this is the strangest phone conversation I’ve ever had so I’m going to send you some for free. I’m going to win the break room crazy customer contest for a month off of this one.” And true to his word, a week later I received a package containing enough synthetic sausage casing to literally last me 250 years, if I keep using it at the same rate.

  142. I think you livened up his day. How boring must it be to go door to door to deliver those silly notification. Hasn’t the fire/water department ever heard of the post office? I hear they deliver things pretty darned reliably.

  143. Makes sense to me. Semantics, ya know?

    Sandy the Fearless Scribe recently posted Here's to the crazy, fearless ones.

  144. I think you need a hatred of words and how they work if you’re a public service employee, or at least a public service employee who writes things for public consumption. I love your argument, though, and the fact that you argued with the guy in the first place.

  145. i love you. just that. carry on.

  146. It might actually be interesting to see what a flow of real fire underneath our neighborhood would be like. I live in Seattle, so we have plenty of anti-fire. It pours out of the sky all the time. Seems a bit imbalanced to not have sufficient quantities of fire as well.

    Adrasteia recently posted Alice: Madness Returns or My New Obsession.

  147. It is said that Graff held the first patent for a fire hydrant, but this cannot be verified because the patent office in Washington D.C. caught on fire in 1836 destroying many patent records from that period in the process. Karma?

  148. It would have been stupid to call my Dad the Anti Fire Marshall because that would have meant he hated the Fire Marshall, which was him.

    A better title would be Fire Hating Marshal.

    Or, in Texas, Fire Ass-Kicking Marshall D’wayne Loggins.

    FIre is terrified of men named D’wayne.

    HogsAteMySister recently posted Chickens Are Inevitable; So Don’t Squawk.

  149. You make some really really good points though!

    I’m going to link my firefighter brother to this post. He’ll appreciate it also

    Knottedfingers recently posted Today? I was forgotten!.

  150. You totally made that guy’s day!

  151. guys hydrant has HYDRO in the name. essentially a fire hydrant means “water containment”. fire hydrant should translate to “fire water containment”. AWESOME. its like they should be shooting out whiskey! in any case his argument for calling them fire lines still makes no sense, you were right all along! id blame it on all the fire water…

  152. 152
    Lydia Arnold

    Unsweet tea. Hot Water Heater. I love you!!!!

  153. Thanks for a much needed chuckle tonight…. and your logic makes perfect sense!

    Kelly recently posted Scanned.

  154. Words are so funny. Especially yours! (I think I just wrote a greeting card.)

  155. so hydrant comes from hydrate. Okay. But where do you think a hydra got her name? My guess? Same place. Therefore, Bloggess, you still win.

  156. Are you kidding? That conversation was a gift you gave to each other. If I could have one five minute conversation like that every day, by my estimation, I would be 12% happier and 25% more engaged. I’d call it my anti-stagnation session. Sadly, I don’t often meet people willing to humor me. That’s why I come here. Thank God for you.

    Chicken recently posted Vi Chronicles: I Found This Bunny For You.

  157. Love this. And Mary, I love your story too. Makes me want to call GA sausage casing factories until I find yours and order some myself. Just because.

  158. Sometimes you remind me of Amelia Bedelia! Seriously though, hydrant makes sense because “hydrant” has to do with hydrating, i.e. putting water on a fire. It’s amazing how the meaning of that word has gotten lost in all of this. So while “fire hydrant” makes sense, “fire lines” does not. They should be “water lines.” But then that could be confused with a mark of how high the water got. Sigh.

  159. Did you ask for formal identification? Did you ask him to show you which month he was on the Fireman are Hot Calendar or did you just trust him all willy nilly like?

    Risley recently posted Cold Comfort Paranoia.

  160. This is why I love your blog. You have the same random thoughts that I do and not many people seem to understand the way I… well, let’s use the word “think”.

    Dean Marconi recently posted The Weird Games and Where to Buy Them.

  161. As a firefighter, this seriously cracks me up! This is so funny! Ahahahahahah!

  162. I just adore you!

  163. 163
    Cassie Sue

    Comment Number 88, I don’t know what the laws are by you but in California there are Air Quality Management Divisions that you can call about the dust and they will send someone out to fine the Contractor for the excessive dust (also a good threat if you can talk to the Contractor). You can also call the Regional Water Quality Board in regards to the SWPPP (Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan) which has an item about air pollution and they will also fine the Contractor.

    If you are not in California, you may be able to call the City or your local Code Enforcement to complain. Hope that helps!

  164. 164
    Cassie Sue

    And thank you Hobbie13 (comment 120) I was going to say the same thing. I work in construction and hydrants are just off of the normal water lines. There aren’t typically special dedicated waterlines for fire hydrants.

  165. I thought firewater was whiskey? I love the Hydra = Hydrant idea, that makes much more sense to me than hydrating a fire.

  166. 166
    Doug in Oakland

    Wouldn’t a hydrant just be an ant with a whole bunch of heads?

  167. 1) Fire lines, the better to burn books with ( Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury)
    2) ’round here some folks call ’em “fire plugs”–maybe the plug them in to put out fires?

  168. Everyone is quick to point out that fire hydrants hydrate fires, but they don’t mention that if fires would just moisturize properly, the problem would take care of itself.

  169. Not only does your post make me laugh till I pee..but your readers comments ain’t far behind you!

  170. I have not particular thoughts about this post. But in a totally related topic I did see an article on CNN I thought you might be interested in…it’s about crappy taxidermy.


  171. SIGH…(curse my fat fingers)…no particular thoughts…blah blah blah

  172. Hydra = hydra + ant?!!? … That doesn’t help at all. Now I’m picturing a fire ant with many heads.

  173. If you keep thinking about fire, I’m sure you’ll prove yourself right again. Or finally discover you’re a firestarter.

  174. Actually, you are right. Hydrant refers to waterer, so a fire hydrant is a fire waterer, or something we use to put water on fires. The fire pipeline is completely misnamed.

  175. You just made my firefighter father laugh so hard!

  176. Did you tell him he that while he was telling the guys at the fire department about the name changes, they should call it the “anti-fire department” instead? Or maybe that’s going too far.

  177. Maybe they should just call them ‘water hydrants’…

  178. Jenny, you had a point; next time that guy shows up, mention Ray Bradbury.

  179. 179

    It’s a movement!!! I love movements. Except right now with the whole hemi flare up and all. You go girl!!! Or not, either way, this made me smile.

  180. Jenny – Don’t feel bad. I never questioned why they were called fire hydrants. I thought it was like “desk” just the name, because the name. Now I feel dumb because it never occurred to me that there was actually meaning behind the word beyond it being a name.

  181. Hahaha! Sounds like an argument in semantics that I’d have, too, with the construction worker. Or myself. 😉

    The Dorky Missus recently posted Cast-Iron Dijon Chicken: Dedicated to The Hubster.

  182. I would be concerned about fire lines too, it really is rather alarming.

    Kattie recently posted Forty-eigth appointment.

  183. 183

    Many workplaces often leave out the word “Prevention” when touting their “Sexual Harrassment Training.”

  184. I totally get you! At the beginning of the school year we had “sexual harassment training” and I was so excited because I was finally going to learn how to properly sexually harass someone! Turns out it was actually Sexual Harassment AWARENESS training which is totally not the same thing! So disappointed…

    midlifenatalie recently posted New Shoes.

  185. Did you know there is a lady in England building big ‘playgrounds’ where kids are allowed to set things on fire. ‘Cause kids love fire. She is def not anti-fire. She’s team pyro.

  186. 186

    “Fire hydrants” are for keeping fires hydrated, ‘cos the poor things can suffer headaches and heatstroke otherwise.

  187. 187

    Did someone find this picture of a fire hydrant on fire for you yet?

  188. I saw a truck this week that said “Home Fire Installation “……now hiring.

    No one wants that in a fire area.


  189. Seriously laughing too much, and then your comment (54) – I’m finished now! If the workman is hot (not as in hot on fire) send him over to peel me off the floor!

    Desire recently posted Too much wine, too much hair and a wheel of cheese.

  190. City workers suffer enough, Jenny; being a pawn of a flawed bureaucracy can’t be easy, after all….
    That having been said, well done.

    The Hook recently posted 5×5 With The Hook: Ericka Clay..

  191. On the other hand, the phrase “fire alarm” is perfectly appropriate — because aren’t we all alarmed when we see fire? Unless it’s an on-purpose, perfectly contained fire — although I guess even that would alarm someone afraid of fire. And now I just looked up the word for that — and it’s arsonphobia — but wouldn’t that be the fear of SETTING fire…not the fear of fire itself? Oh wait, there is also pyrophobia — but again that seems to relate more to the fear of pyromaniacs. I’m so confused!

    Jana recently posted Street Walking in Madrid.

  192. “You know when you know you’re stupid, but you don’t know how stupid you are until it’s pointed out? That’s me right now. Because I never thought of “hydrant” as being called that because it looks like it has several faces and so does the Hydra.
    I never assumed that people who invented the fire hydrant named it for a mythical water creature that breathes fire. I’m an idiot. Like, even more than usual.”

    hmmm…. Greek mythology and symbolism as suggested by a small child? Stupid may well be the wrong word!

  193. 193
    Jill Brown

    Years ago in my home town they put a new sign in front of one of our fire stations, reading, “Dept. of Fire”. Seriously. And I think that so many residents laughed at them for it, they buckled under the pressure and changed it to “Fire Dept.”.

  194. ahhahah,you are such a good neighbor =)

  195. OK, this has nothing to do whatsoever with fires, hydrants, or anything else discussed here today, but I saw this yesterday and immediately thought of you:

    Oh, and you’re welcome. 🙂

  196. So, do you think he talked to the other firemen?

    Jeff recently posted I just threw up all over the Metra and I have this insane need to blog about it..

  197. And just because I found this and immediately thought of you – have you seen this?

  198. This has made my day! Much more fun than a sick husband. I thought fire hydrants were named after Hydra, too.

  199. Pretty sure he meant that last part as a complement. For what it’s worth, THIS firefighter would have enjoyed the hell out of your conversation.

  200. There is a lot to be said for being able to hide your own easter eggs. Don’t rob yourself of the little mysteries in life, even if no one else can see them.

  201. saw a great post on today which made me think of you! Sign on a business door that says “To be served / Must be properly dressed / No tank tops / no bare feet / No rollers on head”

  202. I work a similar job to this guy and I can tell you that I adore conversations with people like you. But then again, I adore your blog, so that might just be me.

    maurnas recently posted In which I take you on a tour of my apartment.

  203. Priceless and refreshing!

    Nomads By Nature recently posted They Are Going To Miss Her Too.

  204. I hope all that construction noise doesn’t interfere with you writing your blog. How did you luck out?

    James recently posted Is a Joint Petition a Good Option for your Las Vegas Divorce?.

  205. Jenny, concerning the Hydra…
    You are closer than you know. Here’s the part you didn’t know that will connect the dots. The Lernean Hydra (the one Herakles and Iolaus killed) lived in a swamp, and so they called it a “water snake,” which is what “Hydra” means. And just as Hydrants help put out fires, fire helped put out the Hydra (by cauterizing the wounds of decapitation, so two heads could no longer spring up where one had been severed). So feel free to give those construction crews the two fisted salute when you see them.

  206. I think you’re still justified – a fire hydrant hydrates fires. Of course, they call them fire hoses and fire trucks, which is a bit like saying “muzzles” and “tanks”.

  207. I wanted to send this as a Pin to you but couldn’t figure it out. You are probably already aware of it, but just in case you’re not.

  208. Besides me worrying that I am 41 yrs of age and have no idea what we, in the UK, attach our fire trucks attach their pipes too other than their engines, my conversation would have gone ‘fire lines’ – ‘water lines’ – ‘water hydrants’. Having said that my conversation would have been much more boring.


  209. Hey, I want to feel for the guy, but he chose to be a company man…a confusing, badly worded, minion of The Man.

  210. “fire safety plan.” so, anti-fire safety plan? we wouldn’t be for that, right? the logic of proving you have no logic. I, too, am often a victim of this.

  211. Anti-fire lines does seem more fitting.

    The Dose of Reality recently posted Pinterest Nightmare #367: Edible Baby Heads.

  212. This made me giggle though I am questioning whether I know, after 41 years on this planet, where our fire engines attach their hoses because we don’t have fire hydrants in the UK.

    Reading your post 3 words went through my mind – water pipes/lines, water hydrants and water flow. Yes, my conversation with the fireman would have been so much more boring….

  213. I am certain that your conversation was the highlight of his day, just as reading this was the highlight of my morning.

    And it just occurred to me that I don’t think there is a fire hydrant anywhere near my house. So, maybe my neighborhood really is anti fire-hydrants – and not in the anti-fire way that you mean – but actually against fire hydrants. Does that mean my neighborhood is pro-fire? Because that’s pretty messed up.

  214. I was really disappointed when I found out that the City of Oakland’s “fire goats” are not actually flaming caprids, but just normal goats that eat the weeds so that the hillsides don’t catch fire.

  215. i LOVE this! I would so have this same conversation with someone! seems to make perfect sense to me –
    I so needed a laugh and am so happy i pulled up your blog to get that laugh – thank you so much Jen!!

  216. Love it! I think I would’ve had the door slammed in my face in my own home if I tried a conversation like that in my city.

    Janice recently posted Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor.

  217. When I first started reading your post I thought it was going to be some neurotic “OMG, I’m going to have to move out of my house until they can assure me they’ll be able to save me in the case of a fire” post, so I’m just glad you’re thinking of the truly important issues in this situation and asking the right questions.

  218. They need to rename it the “Water-Foam-Ladders-and-Flashy-Lights Department” !

  219. No, wait. I agree with “fire lines” being a problematic term.

    But “fire hydrant”… I think it is okay. Because it hydrates fires.

  220. Their signage is problematic. I can see ” improved fire flow” as a negative for prospective house buyers. I am sure your insurance will go up after this….

    Question:They’re fire hydrants…. Which means they hydrate fires….so wouldn’t hydration lines make more sense?

  221. 221
    Yet Another Heather

    For a while our office had “Safety Prevention” notices posted all over the place, until I politely pointed out that the Safety Committee probably meant “Accident Prevention”. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t said anything because I sort of enjoyed the smile when I walked by.

  222. You worked in HR, it’s the same has harrassment awareness training….

  223. 223
    Carl Little

    Had a conversation like this once at a convention. “I get why the call them fire trucks, but why are the red?” was my question. The group I was hanging with all paused and gave this more thought that any sort adult should. Finally one guy piped up with “Maybe it’s so they can sneak up on the fires.” Mind blown. Also, fair warning, there may or may not have been a lot of alcohol involved. Probably. Most likely.

  224. Wait, I’m pretty sure that there are pipes full of fire underground. At my last house, there was a pipe in the fireplace, and when I opened the valve, fire came out. Same thing for the stove in my kitchen.

  225. 225
    Devon Lafferty

    Construction is the worst, especially when it is in your neighborhood! Since they are fixing your “fire lines” they’ll probably have to take some part of the street up, and if you are from a town like mine, that means tons of traffic! It is great and all that they are making your water pressure better in order to fight fires, but I wish they had a better way of doing it besides disrupting everyone’s lives around them. I know I am not the only one that feels that way!

    Have a good day!

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