Our third son, Duff, works with Special Needs adults.
An exhausting, trying, patience-testing, infinitely rewarding sort of job.
Which entails certain daily routines in and around the home and community.
As well as occasional forays into uncharted waters . . .
As part of their ongoing safety training, Duff and his clients were at a local fire station, receiving instruction in the dousing of a fire.
The obliging firemen had a controlled, but fair-sized fire going.
And each of the observers were given the . . . opportunity . . . to take one of a selection of fire extinguishers and actually use it to put out the fire.
All had gone well.
Even Duff’s clients had taken a hand at pointing, shooting and dousing.
It was finally Duff’s turn. The very last of the spectators.
He listened to the instructor’s careful instructions, nodded, gripped the handle of the extinguisher, and squeezed.
There was a slight ‘snap’ as the triggering mechanism broke, turning the stream of fire-retardant powder on full.
They were standing in the rain, it being Vancouver Island, and the nozzle was rain-slick.
The unexpected pressure caused it to slip from Duff’s hand.
The hose flipped around like something gone mad, spraying, first him, then his instructor with thick, white powder.
Duff got off easy. He was white from his mouth down.
But his instructor took the blast full in the face.
Full. In. The. Face.
It was like a scene out of a Laurel and Hardy film. (Google it . . .)
The man's fellow firemen, while trying to suppress their snickers, asked if he was all right.
“Yeah,” he said. “I managed to close my eyes.” He turned slowly and, blindly, made his way to the eye-washing station.
Duff, meanwhile, managed to recapture the errant hose and gradually force the valve shut.
The stream of white powder slowed. Then stopped.
Everyone surveyed the mess.
The entire area was heavily coated in white powder.
Still burning cheerfully.
I don’t want you to think that anyone Duff works with is in any danger.
This experience proved that he can certainly handle any emergency that arises.
And also supply the entertainment.