Wednesday, October 5, 2011

McKinley and the Hydrant

Saturdays during football season in a college town for the elementary school that is a mere 3/4 of a mile from the stadium means only one thing:  Parents are called upon to man the stations for two-hour stints and help park the cars that descend upon us for The Game. It's a huge fund-raiser for the school--the PTA gets ten bucks a pop x roughly 400 cars a game x 6 home games a year = you do the math.*

So it goes that some parents have to staff the early shift, during which time there's not a whole lot to do.  Except pace slowly up and down the sidewalk.  Notice how the landscaping over in these parts is much nicer than in their own parts. Ponder the fact that when push comes to shove, they don't know nearly as much as they should about the president for which their child's school is named. Conclude that the day-glow vests one is required to wear while parking cars truly belongs on the runways in Milan during fashion week: 
Discover that there's a fire hydrant right there on the property.  

Well how about that?  

Have you ever looked at a fire hydrant? I mean really looked at one? They're goofing looking: 
Granted, not as goofy looking as goats....
But they can hold their own, don't you think?  

Admit it. Fire hydrants are one of those things that the vast majority of us take for granted. They are vital parts of the infrastructure and yet despite their bright RED color, they just fade into the background. To wit: I've been sending kids to that elementary school for a decade now, and this past Saturday was honestly the first time I'd ever noticed that fire hydrant.   

So. In honor of the lonely hydrant that kept me company during the slow hour of not parking cars I offer you 10 Things I Bet You Never Knew About Fire Hydrants.  

Say you: Really? 
Say me: Listen, fire hydrants deserve our respect. Plus I'm a social worker. We live for rallying for the underdog,the unappreciated, the overlooked, and the down-trodden. And I'm willing to bet that as a group,fire hydrants are down-trodden because they are ignored by society at large. 

So without further ado... 

10 Things I Bet You Never Knew About Fire Hydrants:  

1. Hydrants are also called "fire plugs". You can go here for the historical context. I'm not typing all that out. It would not make for a visually pleasing list as said list would then look top-heavy. 
2. Birdsill Holly designed the modern fire hydrant in 1863.  
3. In Claremore, Oklahoma, residents are not allowed to park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant. They're not allowed to paint the hydrants either. Which is frankly no fun. What a bunch of killjoys they are in Claremore.
4. Because lots of municipalities allow residents to paint hydrants. Which makes them happy. The hydrants, that is.  I don't know about the residents. 
5. Continuing along that theme, in 1976, the USA's bicentennial, cities around the country sported fire hydrants decorated in patriotic motifs. I clearly remember these hydrants around town in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I lived at the time. 
6. The valve that controls the water supply to the hydrant is called the "isolation valve".   
7. Fire hydrants love to say hi to kids and they love hugs. 
8. Reading about fire hydrants is quite dull. 
9. Fire hydrants in NYC are called "johnnie pumps". Not to be confused with johnnycakes   
10. There's a blog out there called "My Fire Hydrant". It's about dogs. Being a cat girl, it took me a while to make the connection. Yes, I'm that slow. 

On a completely different note, I just can't quite get past the fact that during my car-parking shifts, I'm really just a woman standing on a street corner soliciting people for money... -> 

*I don't understand why we're still asked to sell Butter Braids in the winter considering the amount of cash football parking rakes in. But whatever. I'm not bitter. At all. 


Deirdre said...

And on another note - why are Johnnycakes called Johnnycakes - and also apparently known as "Hoecakes"?!?

mikelynn said...

When I was a kid many of the fire hydrants in Tulsa were painted to look like little men. They got a lot of attention I'm sure.